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'People Are Funny' and 'House Party' host Art Linkletter dies at 97

UPI News Service, 05/26/2010 

Art Linkletter, one of the most popular hosts in the early days of television, died Wednesday in Bel Air, Calif., his family said. He was 97.

Linkletter's son-in-law, Art Hershey, said Linkletter died at his home, The New York Times reported.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Linkletter hosted "People Are Funny" and "House Party." He also wrote a string of best-selling books like "Kids Say the Darndest Things."

"I know enough about a lot of things to be interesting, but I'm not interested enough in any one thing to be boring," Linkletter said in a 1965 interview with the New York Post. "I'm like everybody's next-door neighbor, only a little bit smarter."

Linkletter was born Gordon Arthur Kelly in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and adopted in infancy by Fulton and Mary Linkletter after his biological parents abandoned him. He grew up in Southern California, where he joined his parents in evangelical work on street corners.

Entered San Diego State Teachers College planning a career in education but his plans changed when a local radio station hired him to do announcements.

Linkletter is survived by his wife, Lois Foerster Linkletter, who married him in 1936, and two of his five children. Jack Linkletter died of cancer in 2007, Robert Linkletter was killed in a 1980 car crash and daughter Diane Linkletter committed suicide in 1969, a tragedy that inspired her father to become a crusader against drug abuse.

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