The First 'Wheel of Fortune' Host Chuck Woolery Tragically Lost His Son Who Was Just 19
American game show host and musician, Chuck Woolery learned firsthand, the bitter realities of life after losing his son, Chad Woolery, several decades ago at nineteen.
Chuck Woolery prides himself as being the first-ever host on the television competition show, "Wheel Of Fortune." The game show host has experienced his rub with misfortune, after dealing with the loss of his teenage son in 1986.
CHUCK SON'S TRAGIC DEATH
The 78-year-old hit a rough turn decades ago, following his son's death in a ghastly motorcycle accident on the roads of Brentwood, California.
According to police reports, the accident occurred at Bel-Air, when the then-nineteen-year-old accidentally hit the center divider and a planter. The force of the impact caused the vehicle to overturn, depositing its rider in a dire state. The young lad died at the scene of the tragic accident.
Speaking on the incident, Brentwood police representative, Lt. George Harris noted that a helmet was found on the scene, which implied the deceased cyclist overlooked safety measures by not wearing his helmet while riding the motorcycle.
Although the vibrant youth stayed within permissible speed limits, the police lieutenant revealed that the deceased's speed rate was listed as the driving force of the accident.
THE MOURNING AFTER
The famed television host, who was at the time of his son's death, an anchor on the dating game show, "Love Connection," was left devastated by the sudden loss.
Recalling his last moment with Chad, the talk show icon recounted that he urged his son to drive his new car on his way out rather than the motorcycle, but the teenager opted for the bike instead, which became the end of him.
The television personality turned to "work" to keep his mind off the boy's death, but that did not help much either. The star noted that he only got through the tumultuous circumstances as a result of his Christian faith. He explained how the teenager's death changed him forever, saying:
"When Chad died, I was crushed. Something died with me that could never be replaced."
Chad Woolery was a free-spirited young man who loved singing, playing the guitar, sports, and girls. He had dreams of becoming an actor, which was cut short by his untimely death.
Before his venture into game show hosting, the reality star nurtured singing dreams. However, he enlisted in the US Navy following his highschool graduation, where he served for two years. He went on to become a consultant for a wine company, and later, as a salesman at Pillsbury company.
In 1967, the television idol assisted the launch of The Avante-Garde musical group, where he performed alongside fellow artist, Elkin Fowler (Bubba).
One of their singles, "Naturally Stoned," ranked number 40 on Billboard's 1968 top 100 list. Before their eventual split, Bubba and Chuck's music was widely described as "psychedelic pop."
The former musician also tried his hands on acting, with roles in "Love, American Style," "New Zoo Revue," and "The Treasure Of Jamaica Reef."
However, it was the 78-year-old legend's run as a game show host that catapulted him to stardom. In addition to his stints on "The Wheel Of Fortune," and "Love Connection," the veteran hosted the "Chuck Woolery Show," "The Home And Family Show," among other talk shows.
Some of the other game shows the star anchored include, "The Big Spin," "Scrabble," "The Dating Game," "Lingo," and "Greed."
Chuck's parents welcomed him into the family on March 16, 1941, and by the late '60s, he was already becoming a household name.
The legend has lived through four marriages. His first was to Chad's mom, Margaret Hayes, who bore him three children before their divorce in 1971. Next, the game show host tied the knot with second wife, Jo Ann Pflug, in a union that lasted between 1972 and 1980.
The ex-singer's third marriage, to Teri Nelson, which lasted nearly two decades, experienced the most controversial ending. Teri was the granddaughter of the legendary Hollywood pair, Ozzie and Harriet, and starred alongside her then-husband in the GNS reality series, "Naturally Stoned."
The mother of two filed for divorce in 2003, before the completion of their ongoing family reality series, citing that she needed to find herself. Their marriage ended in 2004.
The icon found love again two years later, in Michigan native, Kim Barnes. The then-65-year-old actor and Kim Woolery Barnes got married in 2006 in a private ceremony and have been together ever since. Chuck Woolery's spouse, now 61, is fifteen years younger than him.
The talk show veteran has five surviving children, Cary, Katherine, Melissa, Michael, and Sean, from his multiple marriages.
His two eldest daughters, Cary, and Kathrine were from his first marriage to the late chad's mom, Hayes, while his third daughter was a product of his marriage to actress, Jo-Ann. He had his two sons, Michael and Sean, with third wife, Keri Nelson.
Although nothing can fill the void of losing a child, having a large family with five kids coupled with finding love in his later years is a step toward healing.