Art Linkletter

Art Linkletter, who hosted popular TV shows People Are Funny and House Party in the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 97.

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Linkletter died Wednesday at his Bel-Air home in Los Angeles, his son-in-law, Art Hershey, told the Los Angeles Times.

Art Linkletter's House Party, which debuted on radio in 1944 and aired on CBS from 1952 to 1969, was one of television's longest-running variety shows. One of the show's features was daily interviews with schoolchildren, which Linkletter collected and used to create the best-selling book, Kids Say the Darndest Things.

Linkletter's other well-known series, People Are Funny — which started out on radio in 1942 and ran on TV from 1954 to 1961 — centered on  pie-in-the-face slapstick humor and audience participation.

After retiring from daily broadcasting in 1969, Linkletter continued to write, make public appearances and appear in television commercials.

Linkletter and his wife, Lois, had five children together, but in 1969, their 20-year-old daughter, Diane, jumped to her death from her sixth-floor Hollywood apartment. Not long before her death, Linkletter made a recording with his daughter, "We Love You, Call Collect," which won a Grammy for best spoken word recording after she died.

In 1980, one of Linkletter's sons, Robert, died in a car accident, and another son, Jack, died of lymphoma in 2007 at age 70.

Linkletter is survived by his wife of 75 years and daughters Dawn and Sharon.