Bill Cullen is a former game-show host that is perhaps best known for hosting the original iteration of The Price Is Right. Tragically, Bill suffered from numerous symptoms over the course of his life that made it so that he physically unable to resume his hosting duties when the program was revived during the 1970s. This is when Bob Barker replaced him. Join Facts Verse as we explore how original host Bill Cullen quit The Price Is Right after this happened.
Bill Cullen Was Never Physically Well
Bill Cullen was born on February 18, 1920, in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The future game-show host was an only child, and he proved rather sickly from a young age. At the age of only 18 months, Bill protracted a bout of polio that would go on to scar him both mental and physically for the rest of his life. Despite the fact that he managed to survive the bout when many other children in his position may have not. The future celebrity would grow up to have some seriously debilitating physical limitations as a result of the battle. The young boy also developed terrible eyesight, which resulted in him needing peculiarly thick lenses. Bill retained these thick lenses into his adulthood, and they became one of his signature attributes as a celebrity.
The effects of Bill Cullen’s early childhood battle with polio were bad enough. But things got even worse for the future game-show host when he got into a bad car accident at the age of 17. This car accident resulted in the young adult undergoing a period of hospitalization that lasted for nearly a year. Nine months Bill Cullen spent in the hospital following this car accident. And it’s the second significant period of hospitalization that the future celebrity forced to undergo before the age of 18. As with his bout with polio, the future star’s car accident would have lasting effects.
Bill Cullen wasn’t going to let his worsening physical limitations stop him from starting a career in the entertainment industry. Which is what he always dreamed of. While some men may dream of becoming big-name Hollywood stars. It seems that what Bill Cullen wanted to do become a sportscaster. If the future game-show host couldn’t play in sports due to his frail physical state, then he could at least comment on them! Bill developed quite a reputation for himself in the world of sportscasting thanks to his unique sense of humor. The man could often heard pulling pranks on his fellow sportscasters. Bill would carry over this rambunctious spirit into his game-show hosting days, which were just around the corner! Join Facts Verse as we explore how original host Bill Cullen quit The Price Is Right.
How Bill Got Into Game Shows
Before getting into the world of game shows, Bill Cullen ventured to New York City and began working in radio there. It would be in New York City that Bill would begin his work on the game-show circuit. Bill’s very first hosting gig came via the game show Winner Takes All. Two men by the names of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman produced the game show. These producers were no strangers to the game-show format. And they would also be the ones that would go on to produce The Price Is Right. Bill Cullen’s work on Winner Takes All proved the start of a working relationship with the two that would see him not only host the first iteration of The Price Is Right. But also several other game shows, as well.
Winner Takes All premiered on the CBS channel in 1952. Several years later, in 1954, Bill began hosting a competing game show on the NBC channel. This time by the name of Place the Face. Place the Face revolved around the concept of celebrities forced to identity people from their past that they no longer well acquainted with. Bill Cullen performed hosting duties on the program for only a year.
After Bill Cullen’s work with Place the Face ended in 1955. It would only a year before he given his iconic gig as the host of the first iteration of The Price Is Right. This first iteration of the beloved game show premiered on CBS in 1956. Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, who’d had positive experiences working with Bill on Winner Takes All, produced it. The Price Is Right proved a huge hit for all parties involved. With Bill Cullen hosting both the daytime and syndicated versions of the show for nearly a decade.
If The Price Is Right was such a big success and remains successful today. Some may wonder why Bill Cullen called it quits on the series after only a decade. The fact of the matter is that Bill’s worsening physical state made it so that he couldn’t keep up with the show’s changing format. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way! Join Facts Verse as we explore how original host Bill Cullen quit The Price Is Right.
Bill Was Too Weak for The Price Is Right’s Reboot
The version of The Price Is Right that Bill Cullen hosted isn’t the same version of The Price Is Right that audiences grew to know and love later on. However, it wasn’t all that much different! This first iteration of the show lasted from 1956 to 1965. And Bill Cullen served as the program’s host for this entire time period. However, by 1965, it seemed that the game show’s concept had run it’s course. People were no longer as interested in The Price of Right as they had been previously. And interest in the concept wouldn’t renew until after it’s revival in 1972. Many of the differences between the original iteration of The Price Is Right and it’s more memorable revival include the fact that the original iteration sometimes incorporated gag prizes into the proceedings.
Bill Cullen seriously considered returning to the 1972 revamping of The Price Is Right, but there were numerous reasons that the game-show legend inevitably didn’t return to host the new program. The main reason that Bill didn’t return to host the new iteration of the show that he had helped popularize was his worsening physical condition. Decades on, Bill was still feeling the effects of both his childhood battle with polio and the car accident that had seen him hospitalized for nearly a year as a young adult.
For the new version of The Price Is Right, the producers wanted a snapper format that would help attract the modern audience. With Bill’s physical limitations, it believed that the host wouldn’t be able to keep up with the new format. Bill himself agreed, and the hosting gig ended up going to an up-and-comer by the name of Bob Barker.
Bill’s Work in the Game-Show Circuit Continued Anyways
Although Bill Cullen deemed not to the right fit for The Price Is Right’s new and snappier format. That didn’t mean that the legendary celebrity’s years of hosting game shows came to an end right then and there. Bill’s decidedly old-fashioned talents as a host continued to utilized on a variety of other programs leading up to the host’s death in 1990. After deciding not to return for the 1972 version of The Price Is Right. Bill Cullen continued to lend his appearance to game shows such as Password, Match Game, and Pyramid. In the 1980s, he could found hosting a revamped version of Password by the name of Password Plus. Though Bill wasn’t the official host of the program. He brought on as a guest host for several weeks after prior host Allen Ludden retired due to stomach cancer.
In 1982, Bill Cullen made his first and only appearance on the revamped version of The Price Is Right. Bill Cullen was given the chance to grace the television screen alongside replacement Bob Barker in an effort to promote a new game show that the former figure was going to host. That new game show was Child’s Play, which was a game show in which adult contestants were forced to try. And guess words after being offered nonsensical definitions by children.
Child’s Play ran from 1982 to 1983 on the CBS network, and one of it’s producers was Mark Goodson. In 1984, Bill started up a two-year gig working as the replacement host for the program The Joker’s Wild after it’s previous host had passed away from a heart attack. That previous host was Jack Barry, who had also created the program. When all was said and done, Bill Cullen hosted over 20 different game shows over the course of his career. Besides the ones we’ve mentioned, other shows that featured Bill as a host include Eye Guess, Chain Reaction, Blockbusters, and Hot Potato.
Bill’s Personal Life and Final Years
Despite the fact that Bill suffered the effects of his numerous childhood traumas over the course of his entire adult life. It ended up being smoking that killed the legendary game-show host. He was a lifelong smoker, and he ended up passing away from lung cancer in 1990. At the time of his death, Bill Cullen was 70 years old. The celebrity figure had been married three times over the course of his life. And his final marriage lasted until his death.
However, he never had any kids. Bill’s first marriage was to an unknown woman, and it was over before Bill became famous. During his fame, Bill married second wife Carol Ames, whom audiences may recognize for her singing career. Bill and Carol married from 1949 to 1955. In 1955, Bill married third and final wife Ann Roemheld Macomber. Ann was a model and dancer, and she made numerous appearances alongside her husband while he was hosting the game show Tattletales.
Though Bill Cullen deemed not physically fit enough to keep up with the snappier format of the revamped version of The Price Is Right in 1972. His career hosting game shows continued for nearly two decades afterwards. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Bill Cullen suffered numerous physical traumas before his coming of age, and that the prolonged effects of these traumas prevented him from resuming his gig as the host of The Price Is Right upon it’s 1972 revamping? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!