Who was The Host of Hollywood Squares? Hollywood Squares (originally The Hollywood Squares) is an American game show in which two contestants compete in a game of tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes. The show piloted on NBC in 1965 and the regular series debuted in 1966 on the same network. The board for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars are asked questions by the host and the contestants judge the truth of their answers to gain squares in the right pattern to win the game.
Though Hollywood Squares was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show’s comedy in the form of joke answers (commonly called “zingers” by the production staff), often given by the stars prior to their real answer. The show’s writers usually supplied the jokes.
In addition, the stars were given the questions’ subjects and bluff (plausible, but incorrect) answers prior to the show. The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not. In any case, as original host Peter Marshall explained at the beginning of the Secret Square game, the celebrities were briefed prior to the show to help them with bluff answers, but they heard the actual questions for the first time as they were asked on air.
Who was The Host of Hollywood Squares?
In 1966, The Hollywood Squares premiered on NBC with Peter Marshall serving as the host, a role he held until 1981. After his work on the game show, the Broadway icon earned dozens more acting credits before taking a step back from the entertainment industry. Find out what happened to him and where he is now.
What Happened to ‘The Hollywood Squares’ Host Peter Marshall?
Peter began his career as part of a comedy act with Tommy Noonan, sharing several TV appearances together and writing material for other comedy duos. In the early ‘60s, he established himself as a theater performer, taking on the role of Albert Peterson opposite Chita Rivera in the West End’s Bye Bye Birdie. When Peter got the call to audition for The Hollywood Squares, he never expected to land the hosting role.
“I had been playing golf, and I figured there was no way they were going to hire me for this thing,” the radio personality told Closer in February 2022 of why he showed up to the audition wearing shorts. “And then I went back to New York because I was going to do Breakfast at Tiffany’s [on Broadway].”
Producers felt Peter was the perfect man for the job. Initially, he only expected to host the show for 13 weeks and then return to Broadway. But his charm and banter with the guests led him to take the program to new heights, establishing The Hollywood Squares as a real ratings competitor in the game show circuit.
“It was so much fun to do,” he reflected. “It was not like work at all. We’d do a show, and then we’d break for 15 minutes, and then another show, and then we’d have lunch or dinner. We’d do five shows in five hours. It was really easy for me. I didn’t rehearse. I’d just come in and go over the questions. That’s all I did.”
In 1981, the first iteration of The Hollywood Squares came to an end. Peter took roles in CHiPs, The Love Boat, Hotel and Automan in the years that followed. The Hollywood Squares was revived in 1986, and original panelist John Davidson was tapped to host the revival.
Where Is Peter Marshall Now?
Throughout the ‘90s, Peter made a few rare television appearances with minor roles in Burke’s Law, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Bold and the Beautiful. The In Living Color alum officially retired from show business in 2021. He’s now focused on enjoying his life as a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Peter welcomed four children with his first wife, Nadene R. Teaford: Pete LaCock, Suzanne LaCock, Jaime LaCock and David LaCock. He announced David’s death on Twitter in August 2021 at age 68 due to complications from COVID-19.
“It’s really very sad. He was just a wonderful boy who had eight children, six grandchildren and a wonderful wife,” he said. “He was an artist. It just breaks my heart. To lose a child is just awful.”
Peter also faced his own bout with the virus along with his wife, Laurie Stewart. He was hospitalized and discharged to spend what he thought were his “final days” at home.
“I got through the virus pretty easily, but my system was weakened and I contracted pneumonia,” the Annie actor told Fox News in April 2021. “That also turned into sepsis. Any one of those three by themselves is enough to kill someone my age. It took a lot of medical expertise to turn that around. Miraculous, to say the least.”
Luckily, thanks to the medical team Laurie hired to give Peter round-the-clock care at home, he was able to make a full recovery. As for what kept him pushing to beat the illness, the game show icon did not hesitate to share his love for his family.
“My wife and my children — they have been wonderful,” he reflected. “My wife is still taking care of me. I keep getting better because I have so much love in my life.”
Why do celebrities host game shows?
Game shows are hosted by celebrities for a number of reasons, such as:
- Cash. Celebrities who host game programs can command high fees. Millions of dollars are made annually by some of the highest paid game show presenters in the world.
- Exposition. Celebrities can gain a lot of attention by participating in game shows. Every day, millions of people watch game shows, and having a famous host can draw in audience members.
- Enjoyable. Hosting game shows may be a lot of fun. Celebrities frequently take pleasure in the challenge of mingling with competitors and the thrill of the competition.
- Returning the favor. A few celebrities produce game shows as a way to assist charitable causes or as a way to give back to their followers.
Here are some particular instances of well-known people who have presented game shows:
- Family Feud was hosted by Ray Romano from 2005 through 2009.
- Family Feud has been hosted by Steve Harvey since 2010.
- From 2011 to 2012, Alec Baldwin served as Match Game’s host.
- Since 2007, Drew Carey has served as host of The Price Is Right.
- Since 1981, Pat Sajak has anchored Wheel of Fortune.
These are but a handful of the numerous celebrities that have hosted game shows throughout the years. Game shows are a common way for people to pass the time, and celebrities can help make them profitable.
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