The 8 Biggest Game Show Hosts of All Time
These are the longest-running and most-celebrated emcees in game show history.
Sitcoms and dramas may come and go, but game shows stick around for what seems like forever. The TV competitions are always there for whenever you want to watch a hopeful contestant spin the wheel, place their bid, or answer in the form of a question. But, in recent years, there have been some shakeups in the game show world. Specifically, two classic shows lost their longtime hosts and saw replacements brought in: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away at the age of 80 in 2020, and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak announced his retirement after over 40 seasons this year.
Trebek and Sajak are just two hosts who have moved on to the game show presenter hall of fame. Since game shows have been around for nearly 100 years—they started on radio!—our list of the biggest game show hosts of all time goes way back. Keep reading to learn all about them.
Dick Clark is hosted a series of variety of shows across his long career, from American Bandstand to his annual New Year's Eve special. But he also made a major mark on the game show world. Clark hosted variations of the classic show Pyramid—also known as The $10,000 Pyramid, The $50,000 Pyramid, and more—from 1973 to 1988, winning three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host. Other shows he emceed include The Challengers and Scattergories.
One of the most iconic game show sets is that of Hollywood Squares, which featured contestants asking questions to a panel of celebrities positioned in a life-size tic-tac-toe board. The first host of the show was Peter Marshall, who presented the game from 1966 to 1981. During a career that also included acting and radio hosting, Marshall hosted the other game shows, Fantasy, All-Star Blitz, and Yahtzee, all during the '80s. For Hollywood Squares, he won four Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host.
Monty Hall was the host of Let's Make a Deal from its premiere in 1963 and continuing on until the '80s. He also co-created the show alongside Stefan Hatos. Thanks to his work on the popular series, Hall even has a statistics puzzle named after him called the Monty Hall Problem. The puzzle asks what a person is to do if they are presented with three doors, one of which has a prize behind it. This is inspired by the portion of Let's Make a Deal in which Hall has a contestant choose a door in the hopes of winning the hidden prize.
Rather than hosting contestants as they attempted to win money or other prizes, Jim Lange's show was all about love. Lange hosted The Dating Game from 1965 to 1980. And it's wasn't his only romantic-themed hosting job, because he also presented The New Newlywed Game, along with Hollywood Connection and Bullseye.
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Allen Ludden was the host of the classic game show Password—and its spinoffs—from 1961 to 1980. He even met his second wife, actor and comedian Betty White, doing that job. Ludden, who also worked as an actor, hosted other game shows, as well, such as Win with the Stars and Stumpers!. He won the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host once for his work on Password.
Bob Barker is synonymous with The Price Is Right, where he made his mark for 35 years, hosting the show from 1972 to 2007. During that time, Barker won a whopping 14 Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host. He's so connected with The Price Is Right, in fact, that it's hard to believe that he had another 20-year game show gig before that: From 1956 to 1975, he hosted Truth or Consequence.
Trebek spent 34 years as the host of Jeopardy!, from 1984 until his death in 2020. Prior to his time hosting the uber-popular quiz show, he also hosted a number of much shorter-lived game shows, including The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, and Double Dare. Then, he was briefly the host of a revival of To Tell the Truth in the early '90s while he was hosting Jeopardy!. Of course, Trebek earned some Emmys, too: He won for Game Show Host eight times—one of those times, he tied with Barker.
Sajak is best known for hosting Wheel of Fortune. He joined the show in 1981 and recently announced that he would be retiring from the series in 2024 after 43 years. With a long and success career on Wheel, it's no surprise that he took home a few of those Game Show Host Emmys, too—three, to be exact.