Art Linkletter, American radio and television personality, Died at 98

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Dead, Arthur Gordon “Art” Linkletter on May 26, 2010, at the age of 98, he was a Canadian-born American radio and television personality.

Born Gordon Arthur Kelly on July 17, 1912 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in his autobiography, Confessions of a Happy Man (1960), he revealed that he had no contact with his natural parents or his sister or two brothers since he was abandoned when only a few weeks old.

When he was five, his family moved to San Diego, California, where he graduated from San Diego High School at age 16.

During the early years of the Great Depression, he rode trains around the country doing odd jobs and meeting a wide variety of people.

In 1934, he earned a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State Teachers College (now San Diego State University), where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. While attending San Diego State, he played for the basketball team and was a member of the swimming team.

He had previously planned to attend Springfield College but did not for financial reasons.

Other early television shows Linkletter worked on included Life With Linkletter with his son Jack (1969–1970) and Hollywood Talent Scouts (1965–1966).

He acted in two movies, People Are Funny (1946) and Champagne for Caesar (1950).

Linkletter declined the opportunity offered by his friend Walt Disney to invest in the Disneyland theme park project along with building and operating the Disneyland Hotel due to Linkletter’s doubts about the park’s prospects.

But, out of friendship for Disney, Linkletter volunteered his experience as a live program broadcaster to help organize ABC’s coverage of the Disneyland opening in 1955 on what was his 43rd birthday.

Besides being an on-air host, he recruited his two co-hosts: Ronald Reagan and Bob Cummings.

In 1969, his daughter, Diane Linkletter, committed suicide by jumping out of her kitchen window. He blamed LSD and became very outspoken against drugs.

Several reports at the time showed that LSD played no role, but Art still continued to speak out against the psychedelic movement for many years.

One of America’s most dedicated humanitarians, Art has been recognized for his work for the National Easter Seals Foundation, the National Heart Foundation, the Foster Parents Plan and Goodwill Industries.

Mr. Linkletter, rather than retreating from the attention, became a crusader against drug use and an adviser to President Richard M. Nixon on drug policy, although, in 1972, he announced that he had changed his position on marijuana.

After much thought and study he had concluded that the drug was relatively harmless and that law-enforcement officials should spend their time concentrating on hard drugs.

A former college athlete, he remained remarkably healthy well into his 90s and the ideal front man for the United Seniors Association (renamed USA Next), a conservative organization formed in opposition to AARP and dedicated largely to privatizing Social Security.

In keeping with his new role as a prominent elder American, Mr. Linkletter wrote “Old Age Is Not for Sissies.”

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