Art Linkletter (born Gordon Arthur Kelly on July 17, 1912) was the host of two of the longest running shows in broadcast history: House Party, which ran on CBS TV and Radio for 25 years, and People Are Funny, which ran on NBC TV and Radio for 19 years. He was abandoned at an early age in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and adopted by the Linkletter family. He is an alumnus of San Diego State University (SDSU) where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
Linkletter was famous for interviewing children and has been imitated many times in such shows as Kids Say the Darndest Things.
Linkletter's daughter, Diane Linkletter, died on October 4, 1969, by jumping out of her sixth floor kitchen window. She was 21 years old. Several contradictory stories were brought forward, and Art Linkletter concluded that she committed suicide because she was on or having a flashback from an LSD trip. Several reports claimed that there was no involvement from LSD, but Linkletter still continues to speak out against drugs. Linkletter also lost his son Robert in an automobile accident.
Linkletter recently opened the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland at the age of 93. He commentated on the opening day celebrations in 1955, and was a good friend of Walt Disney.
He received a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy in 2003, and is currently the spokesman for USA Next, a conservative alternative to the AARP.
"Confessions of a Happy Man," Art Linkletter's Own Story (with Dean Jennings) was published by Random House in 1960. On the first page, he reports that he has had no contact with his real parents, or his sister or two brothers, since the Kellys abandoned him when he was only a few weeks old. He married Lois Foerster November 25, 1935 and they had five children: Arthur Jack, Dawn, Robert, Sharon, and Diane. It might be coincidence, but Walt Disney's children, who arrived first, were also named Sharon and Diane.
Despite his squeaky-clean image, a recording exists of Linkletter and other popular comedians "working blue" at a Masquers Club roast in the mid-1950s.
In recent years, the conservative Republican Linkletter has become a political organizer and a spokesman for the United Seniors Association.