Game show hosts are an interesting breed: tons of personality, usually very good hair and a great set of teeth. And even the oldest game show hosts seem eternally youthful. Unfortunately, when it comes to a few of the most memorable TV game show hosts, we never had the chance to see them finish out their dazzling careers.
Here are 5 game show hosts that left us too soon to go up to that great big prize wheel in the sky.
Bert Convy (1933-1991). Known for his curly head of hair and deep dimpled smile, the dashing and charismatic Bert Convy was best known as the host of the 1970’s game show Tattletales, even nabbing an Emmy for his work on the show. In the 80’s he hosted the Pictionaryesque Win, Lose or Draw. But Convy’s game show hosting legacy would end early, when he died at the age of 58 of a brain tumor.
Larry Blyden (1925-1975). Larry Blyden was first a successful Broadway actor, but made the leap to host the already successful, long running game show, What’s My Line, in the early 1970’s. In 1975 Blyden shot a pilot for an upcoming game show, Showoffs , but it never came to fruition for him. Blyden died in a car accident while vacationing in Morocco at the age of 49. You can see a classic clip of Blyden hosting What’s My Linehere.
Ken Ober (1957-2009). The mastermind of MTV’s very first foray into the game show arena, Ken Ober’s show Remote Control was quirky and crude- perfect for MTV (you had to love a game show that had a whole category devoted to Brady Bunch Physics). After his Remote Control gig ended, Over went on to host MTV’s Rock N Jock B-Ball Jam and short lived games shows Smush and Make Me Laugh. But Ober was also a television producer, working on series’ such as The New Adventures of Old Christine and Mind of Mencia. In 2009 Ken Ober died suddenly at the age of 52. While the autopsy results were not released to the public, Ober ‘s L.A. Times obituary stated he had been complaining of flulike symptoms and headaches the day before his death.
Ray Combs ( 1956-1996). It would have been difficult for anyone to fill former host Richard Dawson’s shoes on the long running game show Family Feud, but comedian Ray Combs did a great job when he took over the reigns as host of the show back in 1988. But in 1994 producers made the decision to bring Dawson back to the fold, thus firing Combs. Later that year Combs was seriously injured in a car accident and that’s when his personal and financial troubles spiraled. In 1996 the troubled young father of six committed suicide at the age of 40.
Herb Shriner (1918-1970). Back in the game show era of the 1950’s, this humorist and old time radio personality hosted the show Two for The Money. The show was a showcase for Shriner’s humor and chit chat as well as a chance for contestants to win money by giving correct answers to quiz questions. But the beloved Shriner’s career was short lived. Shriner was only 51 years old when he and his wife were both killed in a car accident when the brakes of one of his prized classic cars failed. You can see a classic clip of Two for the Moneyhere.