Chuck Woolery: Consummate Game Show Host

From 'Wheel of Fortune' to 'Lingo,' He's a Master

Game show host Chuck Woolery
Chuck Woolery, legendary game show host. Courtesy GSN

Chuck Woolery was born on March 16, 1941, in Ashland, Kentucky, and went to Morehead State University. He originally wanted to be a musician. He formed a pop band named The Avant Garde, and in 1968 had a hit song called "Naturally Stoned," which reached No. 40 on the Billboard charts. The group disbanded shortly thereafter.

Woolery appeared on several music and talent shows on television, and it wasn't long before his skill at capturing an audience was discovered.

It wasn't his music, however, that made him stand out. His way of addressing viewers and engaging them in the show held his true potential.

In 1975, Merv Griffin recruited Woolery to host his new game show ​"Wheel of Fortune." Woolery took the offer and successfully hosted the show until 1981, when a bitter salary dispute ended his run. It wasn't long before he was scooped up to host other game shows, including "Love Connection," "Scrabble," "The Dating Game," "Greed" and ​"Lingo."

Woolery has also done his own reality show, "Naturally Stoned" and live game shows in Las Vegas, hosted a short-lived self-titled talk show and played in the World Poker Tour for charity.

He has a well-known trademark: He does two, two-finger hand gestures before commercial breaks, signaling two minutes for the commercials and two seconds leading in and out of the break

Notable Television Work

  • 1975-1981, host of ​"Wheel of Fortune"
  • 1983-1994, host of "Love Connection"
  • 1984-1990, host of ​"Scrabble"
  • 1991, host of ​"​The Chuck Woolery Show"
  • 1993, host of ​"Scrabble" (2nd Edition)
  • 1996, host of ​"Home and Family"
  • 1998-2000, host of ​"The Dating Game" and ​"Celebrity Dating Game"
  • 1999, host of ​"Greed"
  • 2003, subject of​ "Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned"
  • 2003-2007, host of​ "Lingo"

Woolery has also made appearances on dozens of shows, including ​"Melrose Place,​" ​"Hollywood Squares," "ChiPs" and ​"Scrubs" and had parts in a few Hollywood movies.

Other Ventures

Woolery runs his own company selling bass fishing equipment and supplies. His best-known item is the MotoLure, which he sells online and through QVC along with a collection of sports and outdoor gear.

Woolery, along with Bob Eubanks and Jamie Farr, takes turns hosting the ​"$250,000 Game Show Spectacular" at the Las Vegas Hilton. The live stage show gives audiences chances to win prizes, including the quarter-million dollar jackpot, by playing a conglomeration of favorite game shows from the past.

Little-Known Facts

  • Before getting into music and television, Woolery held jobs as a sales rep for Pillsbury and as a wine consultant.
  • His first television role was that of character Mr. Dingle in the children's television show ​"New Zoo Revue."
  • Woolery hosted more than 2000 episodes of "Love Connection" over 11 years.
  • The Game Show Network (GSN) created the world's largest bobblehead in Woolery's image.

In His Own Words

  • "According to Merv Griffin, the springboard for game-show greatness is a large head, so I guess that's as justifiable as being on 'New Zoo Revue.'" - In an interview with KeyNoter
  • ''When I got on, I couldn't stop talking to people. I wanted to know who they were, what they did. I wanted them to win, and I got emotionally invested in their winning.'' – about "Wheel of Fortune" in The New York Times
  • "I watched Ozzy Osbourne's show for a while because I just couldn't believe what was going on, I mean it was total disbelief. I am sure the rest of the country did as well." - AskMen.com