Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Art Linkletter, 1912-2010. R.I.P.

Television pioneer Art Linkletter has died. The cause of death has not been released. He was 97.

Linkletter was already well established as a radio broadcaster when he ventured into television in 1952. Every weekday for nearly two decades, he hosted Art Linkletter's House Party on CBS. It was an unscripted variety show and its best known segment was Kids Say The Darndest Things. It is estimated that Linkletter interviewed to more than 20,000 children. Years later, Bill Cosby would his own version of Kids Say The Darndest Things which included flashbacks to the Linkletter years. Call it the earliest form of Reality TV.

Linkletter was married for 75 years and was the father of five. However, three of his children would predecease him including his daughter Diane who committed suicide in 1969 just shy of her 21st birthday. Linkletter would blame his daughter's death on LSD and became an anti-drug campaigner.

In his later years, Linkletter would be involved with the United Seniors Association (a.ka. U.S.A Next) which was established as a conservative alternative to AARP.

I knew Linkletter was born in Canada. He was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (our family passed through there twice during our move back and forth between Thunder Bay, Ontario and Victoria, B.C. We always lost stuff there. My mother lost a nightgown and my younger brother lost his R2D2 doll although it was returned to him). But I did not know he had been adopted. It could explain in part why he had such a great connection with children.

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