Chuck Woolery

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Chuck Woolery
Chuck Woolery 2004.jpg
Woolery in 2004
BornCharles Herbert Woolery
(1941-03-16) March 16, 1941 (age 77)
Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.
ResidenceHorseshoe Bay, Texas, US
Occupation
  • Television host
  • actor
Years active1969–present
Notable credit(s)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
  • Margaret Hayes (m. 1961–1971)
  • Jo Ann Pflug
    (m. 1972; div. 1980)
  • Teri Nelson
    (m. 1985; div. 2004)
  • Kim Barnes (m. 2006)

Charles Herbert Woolery (born March 16, 1941) is an American game show host, talk show host, and musician. He has had long-running tenures hosting several different game shows. Woolery was the original host of Wheel of Fortune (1975–1981), the original incarnation of Love Connection (1983–94), Scrabble (1984–90, and during a brief revival in 1993), Greed on Fox from 1999 to 2000, and Lingo on GSN from 2002-07.

Early life and career[edit]

Woolery was born on March 16, 1941, in Ashland, Kentucky. After graduating from high school, he served two years in the US Navy.[1] In 1963, Woolery worked as a wine consultant for Wasserstrom Wine & Import Company in Columbus, Ohio. He was also a sales representative for the Pillsbury Company.

Music career[edit]

In the early 1960s he sang and played the bass fiddle with a folk song trio called The Bordermen. He also sang in a duo called The Avant-Garde who were in the psychedelic pop genre. The other half of the duo was Elkin "Bubba" Fowler. They signed to Columbia Records and achieved a Top 40 hit with "Naturally Stoned" in 1968, bringing the duo one-hit wonder status.[2] During this time he worked as a truck driver to supplement his income. They released three singles.

As a solo artist he released five records with Columbia. After 1970 he signed with RCA and released "Forgive My Heart". In 1971, another single "Love Me, Love Me" failed to make any impact. He then turned to acting.

In the late 1970s, he returned to his singing career. Woolery charted on Hot Country Songs with "Painted Lady" and "The Greatest Love Affair".[3] Between 1977 and 1980, Woolery recorded for Warner Bros. Records and Epic Records as a solo artist, with two low-charting singles on Hot Country Songs.[4]

Acting and hosting career[edit]

As an actor, he has appeared with Stephen Boyd, Rosey Grier and Cheryl Ladd in the mid-1970s film Evil in the Deep.[5] He appeared as himself in the 1989 film Cold Feet that starred Keith Carradine and Rip Torn.[6]

Woolery performed as Mr. Dingle on the children's television series New Zoo Revue in the early 1970s. During that time, he made his first game show appearance on an episode of Tattletales, alongside then-wife Jo Ann Pflug. Starting as a singer, Woolery appeared on an episode of Your Hit Parade. On January 6, 1975, he began hosting Wheel of Fortune at the suggestion of creator Merv Griffin, who had seen Woolery sing on The Tonight Show. Woolery hosted the show for six years. In 1981, he was involved in a salary dispute with the program's producers; he said in a 2007 interview that he demanded a raise from $65,000 a year to about $500,000 a year because the program was drawing a 44 share at the time, and other hosts were making that much. Griffin offered Woolery $400,000 a year, and NBC offered to pay the additional $100,000, but after Griffin threatened to move the program to CBS, NBC withdrew the offer. Woolery's contract was not renewed and his final episode aired on December 25, 1981. Pat Sajak replaced him.[7]

Woolery hosted Love Connection (1983–1994), The Big Spin (1985), Scrabble (1984–1990, 1993), The Home and Family Show (1996–1998, co-host), The Dating Game (1997–1999), Greed (1999–2000), TV Land Ultimate Fan Search (1999–2000) and Lingo (2002–2007). In addition, he was the subject of a short-lived reality show, Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned (originally titled Chuck Woolery: Behind the Lingo) in 2003.[8] He also hosted his own talk show, The Chuck Woolery Show, which lasted for only a few months in 1991. He hosted The Price Is Right Live! at Harrah's casinos, and appeared in the live stage show "$250,000 Game Show Spectacular" at the Las Vegas Hilton until April 2008.[9]

Since 2012, Woolery has hosted a nationally syndicated radio commentary show, Save Us, Chuck Woolery, which grew out of his YouTube videos. After two years as host, Woolery began a long-format podcast, Blunt Force Truth. With co-host Mark Young, Woolery expands on his conservative political ideals and current events, often inviting guest experts to join the conversation.[10]

Political views[edit]

Woolery has spoken publicly in favor of conservative political opinions. He is an active supporter of the Republican Party, and has mainly donated to Republican and conservative causes.[11][12] He is a gun rights activist.[13][14]

Woolery was accused of antisemitism after a series of tweets made in May 2017 where he indicated his surprise that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin had a Jewish heritage.[15] The supposed Jewish origins of communism have often been amplified by anti-communists and antisemitics alike, leading to the accusations of antisemitism against Woolery.[16] In a response to the criticism, Woolery stated in a tweet: "Amazing to me, I point out that Marx and Lenin were Jewish, Fact of history, and now I'm being called anti Semitic? why do people do this?"[17]

Earlier in the same year, Woolery had what Salon magazine described as a "Twitter meltdown" over Islam.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Woolery is a Christian who volunteers in ministry.[19] Woolery has been married four times, and has at least five children. Woolery and his first wife, Margaret Hayes, had two children together: Katherine and Chad. Chad was killed in a motorcycle accident in January 1986.[20][21] In 1972, he married actress Jo Ann Pflug[21] and they divorced in 1980. They had a daughter together, Melissa.[21] With third wife Teri Nelson, the adopted daughter of actor David Nelson (and granddaughter of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson), he has two sons, Michael and Sean.[21][22] The marriage ended not long after rumors of Nelson's infidelity were made public in 2003.[22] Woolery married Kim Barnes in 2006.[21][23]

Filmography[edit]

Acting[edit]

Year Title Role[24] Notes
1972 New Zoo Revue Mr. Dingle
1973 Love, American Style Mr. Thompson Segment: "Love and the Cozy Comrades"
1974 Sonic Boom Pilot Rogers Short film
1975 The Treasure of Jamaica Reef Detective Also known as Evil in the Deep
1978 A Guide for the Married Woman Tennis Pro Made for television
1979 $weepstake$ Tyler Episode 4
1982 Romance Theatre "Marisol" Parts 1–5
1982 Six Pack TV Commentator #2
1989 227 As Himself Episode: "A Date to Remember"
1989 Cold Feet Himself
1997 Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees Chuck Cameo as the nightclub owner

Hosting[edit]

Year Title Notes
1975–81 Wheel of Fortune Replaced by Pat Sajak
1983–94 Love Connection
1984–90, 1993 Scrabble
1991 The Chuck Woolery Show 11 episodes
1996–98 The Home and Family Show Co-host with Cristina Ferrare
1997–99 The Dating Game
1999–2000 Greed
1999–2000 TV Land Ultimate Fan Search
2002–07 Lingo
2008 Think Like a Cat
2012–present Save Us Chuck Woolery (radio show)
2014–present Blunt Force Truth (podcast) Co-host with Mark Young

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak positions
US Country
[4]
1977 "Painted Lady" 78
"Take 'Er Down, Boys"
1980 "The Greatest Love Affair" 94
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Lingo | GSNTV.COM". Tv.gsn.com. February 5, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  2. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "The Avant-Garde biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  3. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Chuck Woolery Artist Biography". Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  4. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 474. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  5. ^ "Evil in the Deep Alternate title: Treasure of Jamaica Reef (1974)". Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  6. ^ "Cold Feet (1989)". Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  7. ^ "Woolery Reveals 25-Year Rift With Merv Griffin on 'The Strip'". eMediaWire. 2007-11-25. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  8. ^ Petrozello, Donna (June 9, 2003). "Woolery chucked into the reality mix". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on February 9, 2006. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  9. ^ "R.I.P. $250,000 Game Show Spectacular". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  10. ^ Barnes, Brooks (2017-02-23). "And Now, Here's Your Right-Wing Podcast Host: Chuck Woolery!". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  11. ^ Chuck Woolery on Occupy Wall Street, youtube.com (Chuck Woolery statement against Occupy Wall Street); retrieved February 13, 2012
  12. ^ Christopher, Tommy (February 9, 2012). Mediaite Interviews The Great Chuck Woolery At CPAC, He Is No Fan Of President Obama, Mediaite
  13. ^ Woolery, Chuck. "Lessons for Shove Guv Andrew Cuomo". SaveUsChuckWoolery.com. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Chuck Woolery on Saving The Second Amendment".
  15. ^ Nazaryan, Alexander (30 May 2017). "Former 'Wheel of Fortune' host Chuck Woolery has been accused of anti-Semitism after controversial tweets". Newsweek.com.
  16. ^ "Former 'Wheel of Fortune' host Chuck Woolery has been accused of anti-Semitism after controversial tweets". Newsweek. 2017-05-30. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  17. ^ "Former 'Wheel of Fortune' host Chuck Woolery has been accused of anti-Semitism after controversial tweets". Newsweek. 2017-05-30. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  18. ^ D'Addario, Daniel. "Chuck Woolery's Twitter meltdown over Islam".
  19. ^ "Chuck Woolery ... still making love connections". AskMen.com. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
  20. ^ Castro, Peter (March 31, 1997). "The Mourning After". 47 (12).
  21. ^ a b c d e "A Love Connection for Chuck Woolery". People. July 20, 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Marriage Woes for Woolery". FoxNews.com. June 15, 2003. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  23. ^ Corcoran, Michael (September 25, 2010). Fishing brings game show host Chuck Woolery to Texas, Austin American-Statesman; accessed January 9, 2014.
  24. ^ "Cold Feet (1989) - Cast, Credits & Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-02.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Edd Byrnes
as host of the 1974
pilot of
Wheel of Fortune
Host of Wheel of Fortune (daytime)
1975–1981
Succeeded by
Pat Sajak
New show Host of Love Connection
1983–1995
Succeeded by
Pat Bullard
Host of The Big Spin
1985
Succeeded by
Geoff Edwards
Preceded by
Ralph Andrews
Host of Lingo
2002–2007
Succeeded by
Bill Engvall