NEW YORK — Mark Goodson
Game show producer
NEW YORK -- Producer Mark Goodson, who changed the course of television with classic game show creations like "The Price Is Right," "To Tell the Truth" and "What's My Line?" died yesterday of cancer at his Manhattan home.
In a 42-year television career, Mr. Goodson created 42,000 game-show segments. He served as president and chairman of the board of Mark Goodson Productions until his death.
The first Goodson-developed television game show, "What's My Line?" was so popular it attracted stars like Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carl Sandburg and Elizabeth Taylor as its "mystery guest." It ran for 17 years. Other shows were so popular that their hosts -- John Daly, Garry Moore, Bob Barker, Allen Ludden -- became celebrities.
Mr. Goodson "was a legendary figure in television who was respected throughout the industry," said Mr. Barker, host of "The Price Is Right."
In addition to creating enduring programs, Mr. Goodson, 77, developed many of the staples of the modern-day game show: contestants buzzing in, pitting contestants against each other and keeping the champion on until a loss.
Mr. Goodson earned an assortment of awards during his career, including induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an honor coming up in 1993, and the Lifetime Achievement for Daytime Television Emmy Award.
Mr. Goodson and longtime partner Bill Todman were never implicated during the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. Their shows always ended with the tagline, "This has been a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production." Mr. Todman died July 29, 1979; Mr. Goodson ran their business solo afterward.
Born Jan. 24, 1915, in Sacramento, Calif., the son of Russian immigrants, Mr. Goodson worked as a San Francisco disc jockey, creating his first game show in 1939. "Pop The Question" was a radio program in which contestants threw darts at balloons.
Mr. Goodson developed their first TV show, "What's My Line?" It debuted Feb. 1, 1950, and ran until 1967. Other Goodson-Todman creations included "I've Got a Secret," "Password" and "Family Feud."
In addition to his television work, Mr. Goodson owned a large chain of weekly and daily newspapers.