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Once upon a time, the game show occupied a very special place in the television landscape. The TV game show was a low-budget masterpiece with no need for glitzy graphics or THX-quality sound effects – it brought the fun with bright colors, cheesy humor, and the occasional bit of mildly risqué banter. At the center of each playful but heated competition was the host. Whether kissing the contestants or urging us to spay and neuter our pets, the host reigned supreme over his game show kingdom… and one of the greatest of them all was Bert Convy, who would have turned 80 years old today.
Convy’s long game show rule started in the 1960s when the actor and singer began appearing as a panelist on popular game shows like Match Game, Password, To Tell the Truth and What's My Line? Anyone watching Convy compete had to know that he was destined to lead his own game show – just listen to his pitch-perfect game-show-host voice.
Somebody must have been listening, because by 1974, Convy had been offered the chance to host his own. The show was TattleTales, the game that asked celebrity couples to reveal each other's secrets, and Convy helmed it for its entire six-year run.
When all the secrets had been told and TattleTales came to an end, Convy made the jump to another hosting gig. As the head of Super Password, he guided contestants in guessing the person, place or thing their partner was referring to.
Convy's next game show was one he created, co-produced (along with Burt Reynolds) and hosted. Win, Lose or Draw was a star-studded version of Pictionary.
Bert and Burt also created and produced Convy's final game show, 3rd Degree. The short-lived show asked a celebrity panel to grill a pair of guests to determine the relationship between them.
As 3rd Degree was coming to an end, Convy was tapped for another hosting job – this time, for an updated version of a classic, Match Game '90. But before the game show could get off the ground, Convy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died just a year later at age 57.
Bert Convy was gone much too soon, but he'll go down in legend as the true King of the Game Show.
Written by Linnea Crowther