Linkletter had planned to become a teacher, and earned his degree from San Diego Teacher's College in 1934. However, he instead went to work at radio station KGB as an announcer.
Linkletter had many different jobs in the 1920s and 1930s, including: meat packer, harvester, busboy, typist and merchant seaman. He often hitchhiked or hopped rides on freight trains.
When he was an infant Art was abandoned by his birth parents and adopted by Fulton John and Mary Metzler Linkletter.
He is married to Lois Foester. They have been married since 1935.