Bill Cullen

Follow

Biography

EDIT

Born

2/18/1920 , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Died

7/7/1990

Birth Name

William Lawrence Cullen

Gender

Male

Biography:

Bill Cullen would go down in history for hosting more game shows than anyone else.

A bout with polio when he was a child left the Pittsburgh native with a limp. Some profiles claim the limp was due to an automobile accident when he was a junior at Pittsburgh's South High School, but Bill confirmed the polio and subsequent limp in a 1957 magazine article.

Cullen developed his entertaining skills at South High. He paid for his pre-med status at the University of Pittsburgh by working at local radio station WWSW. He continued his studies at Pitt after moving to the city's premiere radio station, KDKA.

Late in World War II, in which he was an instructor for Civil Air Defense, Cullen was hired by CBS as an announcer, claiming in his self-deprecating humor, "I only got the job because all the top guys were in the Army." That was the start of his legendary four decades in broadcasting. His first big break was as sub-host of the CBS radio game show Winner Take All, the first joint effort of producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman.

In the late 1950s, Bill Cullen hit the motherlode, hosting game shows for NBC radio (Pulse) and television (The Price is Right) and guest-starring on I've Got a Secret. That earned him considerable amounts of money and publicity.

During the 1960s, Cullen tried out other broadcasting ventures, including sports coverage. But his primary devotion was the game show, and there would be a lot of them for Cullen to host. A TV Guide article in 1984 revealed that, despite the networks' desire to bring up new talent, when Jack Barry and Dan Enright were ready to shoot the pilot for Hot Potato, they settled on Bill Cullen.

The final game show to feature Bill Cullen was The Joker's Wild. Cullen became the new host after Jack Barry died in May 1984.

Bill married three times, including marriages to singer Carol Ames (1949-1955), and to Ann Macomber (1955-1990). Ann's sister was, for a time, the wife of another game show host, Jack Narz.