The Newlywed Game’s Bob Eubanks is 76 years old today!

Bob-Eubanks-ABCRobert Leland “Bob” Eubanks (born January 8, 1938) is an American television/radio personality and game show host, best known for hosting the game show The Newlywed Game on and off since 1966. Eubanks received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his television work in 2000.[1] The star is in front of Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, where Eubanks worked during the first years of his broadcasting career.[2][3] In 2005, he received a lifetime achievement Emmy award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Eubanks was born in Flint, Michigan, but was raised primarily in Pasadena, California, where he grew up listening to music, most notably favorites like Frank Sinatra and Doc Watson. His parents, John and Gertrude (née McClure), were originally from Missouri. They moved to Flint during the Great Depression, where their only child was born, before moving on to California. The young boy became a child model, doing photo shoots for ads and meeting his idol, Gene Autry, when he was scheduled to do an ad photo shoot with him.[5]

He watched popular classic television and quiz game shows. Also growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, he was influenced by Cary GrantHoward HughesBuddy Hackett and Bill Cullen. He attended Pasadena High School, where he graduated in 1955. After graduation from high school, he would become one of California’s most populardisc jockeys. In 1956, his first radio exposure was at KACY Radio in Oxnard, California. For most of the 1960s, while working the midday shift at KRLA in Pasadena, he was also a producer of concerts, such as The Beatles 1964 and 1965 Hollywood Bowl performances,[1][5][6][7][8] The Rolling Stones, during the first two years of the American tour.[9] While still in Los Angeles, he also produced such artists as Barry ManilowThe SupremesDolly PartonBob DylanElton John and Merle Haggard, among others.[10]

Personal life

Eubanks married Irma Brown, an avid athlete, ranch forewoman and artist, on September 10, 1969. They had three children: Trace, a retired firefighter; Corey, a stuntman; and Theresa.[11] In 1970, Bob & Irma purchased a 20-acre (81,000 m2) portion of a working cattle ranch, and later expanded it to 26 acres (110,000 m2).[5]The entire family enjoyed roping and riding, with Eubanks participating in rodeos during his spare time.[12] Eubanks is a gold card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys association.[1] Irma handled interior decorating, landscaping, and mounting one to two equestrian shows a year. Irma died in 2001 after a prolonged illness.[5]

At some point after 2001, Bob married Deborah James. James is a wedding/events coordinator in Ventura, California and has her own company, Bella Vita Events. The couple has a young son, Noah.[5][11] In October 2010, Eubanks and his wife put their Westlake Village, CA home on the market.[13]

The Newlywed Game and Country Music business

In 1966, he received a phone call from Chuck Barris to host a new game show, The Newlywed Game, which premiered on ABC that same year. During its debut, it was an immediate hit, and the show’s popularity led the network to expand the prime-time lineup, where it had run on the air for five years. Only 28 years old when he started hosting, Eubanks became widely popular for bringing a youthful energy to daytime television, pressing contestants into giving embarrassing and hilarious answers. The Newlywed Game was also ranked as one of the top three daytime game shows, for five consecutive years, between 1968 and 1973, and was ranked in the top three prime-time game shows, also for five years, between 1966 and 1971.[2][11][12]

While hosting The Newlywed Game, Eubanks was known for using the catchphrase “makin’ whoopee”, in reference to sexual intercourse. It was Eubanks who coined the term from the song of the same name, in an attempt to keep parents with young children from the need to explain the facts of life because of a television show. While his network was comfortable with the term “making love”, they did not allow the use of the word “panties”.[11]

While not taping, he also pursued a career in the country music business, where he served as manager of such artists as Dolly PartonBarbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins.[10] The same year, he also signed Merle Haggard to an exclusive live-performance contract, producing more than 100 dates per year with the performer for almost a decade.[2] His first ending of his first-run network TV show, The Newlywed Game, ended in 1974, after 2,195 episodes, making Eubanks one of the most beloved and bankable game show hosts to date. He also hosted various editions in syndication, from 1977–80, 1985–88 and 1997-99.[10] For Series Two of the 2009 GSN revival, Bob hosted a celebrity charity episode with first host Carnie Wilson and her husband Rob Bonfiglio playing against Carnie’s sister Wendy and her husband Daniel Knutson, and their mother Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford and her current husband Daniel Rutherford. In spring 2010, Eubanks hosted another episode of The Newlywed Game, subtitled the “Game Show Kings” episode. This episode featured Monty Hall and his wife Marilyn Hall, Peter Marshall and his wife Laurie Stewart, and Wink Martindale with his wife Sandy Martindale. This makes him the only person to host the same game show in six different consecutive decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s).

In 1988, Eubanks left The Newlywed Game to pursue other interests (even though he was still hosting Card Sharks on CBS for another 7 months) and was replaced by Paul Rodriguez.

Other game shows

After Newlywed Game, he hosted a number of other game shows in his career, including Rhyme and ReasonDream HouseThe Diamond Head GameTrivia Trap, and Powerball: The Game Show.[3][14][15]

In 1985, Mark Goodson hired Eubanks, a second time (the first being the aforementioned Trivia Trap), to host a revamped version of the show Card Sharks forCBS.[16][17] Eubanks hosted Card Sharks throughout its CBS run from 1986 until its demise in 1989.[12] Prior to hosting Card Sharks, he appeared as a special guest on the original NBC version alongside Jim Perry, promoting his 1979 game show All Star Secrets, which he also produced.

His final network game show was Family Secrets. In recent years, he has hosted or co-hosted all five of NBC’s Most Outrageous Game Show Moments specials. Eubanks was also one of three rotating hosts (along with Chuck Woolery and Jamie Farr) of the “$250,000 Game Show Spectacular” at the Las Vegas Hilton until the show closed in April 2008.[18]

Besides producing Hill-Eubanks’s All Star Secrets, the company also produced The Guinness Game in 1979-80, The Toni Tennille Show in 1980, Buddy Hackett‘sYou Bet Your Life revival in 1980, and Infatuation (which Eubanks also hosted) in 1992. Between 1994 and 1995 Eubanks also travelled to Britain to host a British version of this series, Infatuation UK, (produced by Thames TV) for UK cable network Living TV. Eubanks tried acting, but found he was not good at doing lines; he also learned the game show business was far more lucrative and less confining.[16][19]

Radio

Prior to entering game shows, Eubanks was a popular radio DJ at station KRLA 1110 in Los Angeles as well as a music promoter and manager, between 1960 and 1968.[20] He was responsible for bringing The Beatles to Los Angeles for their first West Coast performances in 1964 and 1965 (mortgaging his house to do so),[1][5][6][21] all of which took place at the famed Hollywood Bowl, with fellow KRLA DJs Dave Hull and Reb Foster joining Eubanks in introducing them.[8] He also operated the Cinnamon Cinder Club on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California.[7][9][22]

He stood in for Casey Kasem twice on radio’s American Top 40: January 9–10, 1982 (that year’s first regular episode), and April 16–17, 1983.

Other appearances

In 1992, Bob appeared on the TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the episode “Eyes on the Prize” hosting the game show “Double Trouble.” That same year, he also made a cameo in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York hosting the game show “Ding-Dang-Dong”, where he mentioned that the show’s contestants stayed at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, and also gave the phone number for reservations (which allowed Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, to check in).

He has also hosted the Tournament of Roses Parade on Los Angeles television channel KTLA since 1976 and with Stephanie Edwards from 1978–2005. In 2006, Eubanks continued to host with Edwards’ replacement, KTLA Morning Show anchor Michaela Pereira. Edwards returned to her co-hosting position alongside Eubanks in 2009.[1][12][23]

Later in the 90s, Eubanks appeared as himself on the Nickelodeon sitcom Kenan & Kel in the episode “The Honeymoon’s Over“, which aired May 1999. Several months later, he guest-starred on That ’70s Show in the January 2000 episode “Eric’s Stash”.

He also hosted the Mrs. International Pageant, sister pageant to the Miss International (United States) Pageant between 2000 and 2003. [24]

On July 6, 2007, Eubanks sat in as a celebrity “Mob Member” on the NBC game show 1 vs. 100. A year after that, he appeared as a GSN Live guest on April 4, 2008 and returned on May 18, 2010. His most recent television appearance (not counting his annual KTLA Rose Parade appearances) was on The Amazing Race 17season finale, which aired December 12, 2010.

His autobiographyIt’s in the Book, Bob (ISBN 1-932100-28-8), was published in 2004.

Bob briefly appears in the music video for The Offspring’s “Why Don’t You Get A Job?” Watch

He is currently touring with “America’s Greatest Game Shows: Live on Stage”, as of August, 2013.

Controversy

He appeared in Michael Moore‘s 1989 documentary Roger & Me. The film documented Moore’s attempts to track General Motors CEO Roger Smith to confront him about the company’s impact on Flint, Michigan and Moore’s claim that it was responsible for massive downsizing.[25] Eubanks, a native of Flint, was interviewed about his views on the downsizing, and was filmed reciting an off-color anti-Semitic and homophobic joke about AIDS.[26]

MOORE: [In regards to The Newlywed Game containing racy/sexual content] Bob was right. He didn’t say “breasts” and I considered apologizing for implying that his show wasn’t wholesome family entertainment.[cut to:] EUBANKS: You know why Jewish women don’t get AIDS? Because they marry assholes, they don’t screw them. Pardon me.

According to Moore in the film’s DVD commentary, Eubanks attempted to denounce the film with the Anti-Defamation League for containing anti-Semitic content, despite the fact that he himself contributed the sole amount of anti-Semitic content present in the film.

 

About the author

kjosy

Media Professional & PR Coordinator for FINNEGANS BEER. Former newscast director FOX9, WFTC, KARE11 (NBC) & WCCO (CBS) Enjoy current events, pop culture, cold beer and my wife's laughter!


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