Television game-show host Bill Cullen died Saturday at his Bel Air home from complications resulting from lung cancer. He was 70.
Cullen died at 5:25 p.m. from heart failure, a complication of a long battle with cancer, according to George Spota, Cullen's manager. The performer's wife, Ann, was at his bedside when he died."Bill Cullen set the standard for what he did - the audience participation show during his 40-year career," said Spota, who said a memorial service for Cullen would be held in Los Angeles in about a month.
Cullen was one of television's most prolific game-show hosts. He had the singular distinction of appearing on all three networks at the same time - "Eye Guess" on NBC, "The Price Is Right" on ABC and "I've Got A Secret" on CBS.
Cullen once estimated he had taken part in at least 5,000 half-hour games. Asked if would like to have all the money he had given away to contestants over the decades, he replied, "No, I would rather have all the answers to the questions I've asked. As the smartest guy in the world, all the rest would follow."
Born in Pittsburgh on Feb. 18, 1920, Cullen overcame a childhood bout with polio, learned to box, took part in several other sports and earned a pilot's license at age 15. He entered broadcasting at 19 as a disc jockey, then moved on to radio network announcing.
In 1946, Cullen received the fateful assignment of hosting a radio quiz show, "Winner Take All." Over the next four decades Cullen appeared, either as a panelist or host, on two dozen radio and TV game shows. His longest run was 15 years as a panelist on "I've Got A Secret," from 1952-67.