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‘House Party’ Host Art Linkletter Tragically Lost 3 Kids Including Daughter Who Was Just 20

Stephen Thompson
Nov 19, 2021
10:40 P.M.
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Art Linkletter achieved incredible fame in the 1950s and 1960s, hosting two incredible TV shows, "Art Linkletter's House Party" and "People Are Funny." However, his joy was cut short following the death of his family members.

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Before his demise, Art Linkletter was majorly regarded as a Canadian-born radio and television personality. His career in the entertainment industry spanned several years, as he remained relevant with a talent for keeping the young and the old glued to their screens.

While he was alive, Linkletter hosted many television shows, but "Art Linkletter's House Party" kept him in the spotlight.

Portrait of TV host and personality Art Linkletter, 1968 [Left]. | Art Linkletter interviews children on TV show "Houseparty" on December 5, 1966. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait of TV host and personality Art Linkletter, 1968 [Left]. | Art Linkletter interviews children on TV show "Houseparty" on December 5, 1966. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images

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INSIDE ART LINKLETTER'S HOSTING DUTIES

To date, the show is regarded as one of television's longest-running variety shows. "Art Linkletter's House Party" was aired on the radio in 1944. In 1952, the show made its debut on CBS and ran for seventeen years, making 25 years since its debut.

"Art Linkletter's House Party" was famous for making people laugh. On the show, Linkletter would get children and adults to say the darndest things on television.

Many enjoyed seeing older people on the show. However, the daily interviews with school children were what kept millions of fans clamoring for more.

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 Art Linkletter poses for a portrait, circa 1950. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter poses for a portrait, circa 1950. | Photo: Getty Images

Later on, Linkletter garnered quotes from children on his classic show and collated a book called "Kids Say The Darndest Things."

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The television host sold the book in millions. It was also ranked as the 15th top seller among notification books in that period.

"Art Linkletter's House Party" was not the only show that captivated the viewers. The entertainer also hosted the show "People Are Funny."

TV host Art Linkletter in a photo with a surprised expression on his face, 1951. | Photo: Getty Images

TV host Art Linkletter in a photo with a surprised expression on his face, 1951. | Photo: Getty Images

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Like the former show, "People Are Funny" first debuted on radio. It aired on NBC radio in 1942 and 1954; it began showing on NBC television. Unlike "Art Linkletter's House Party," "People Are Funny" was centered around slapstick comedy and audience participation.

For example, an audience member was allowed to throw a pie in the face of a contestant who could not say their social security number in five seconds. The show lasted for a few years before it ended in 1962.

After his time on "People Are Funny" and "Art Linkletter's House Party," the star released more books. These include "How To Be a Super Salesman," "Confessions of a Happy Man," "Hobo on the Way Heaven," and his autobiography "I Didn't Do It Alone."

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Art Linkletter at the America Live Studios on October 9, 1978 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter at the America Live Studios on October 9, 1978 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

ART LINKLETTER LOSES SON-IN-LAW

Although Linkletter enjoyed a stellar career for many years, he had to go through traumatic occurrences like losing four family members, which devastated him.

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Linkletter and his family were hit with the first tragic experience on July 15, 1969, when John Zweyer, the husband of the television host's eldest daughter, Dawn, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

After his death, people alleged that he was suffering from depression related to his insurance business.

Television Personality Art Linkletter attends the party for "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on October 27, 1993. | Photo: Getty Images

Television Personality Art Linkletter attends the party for "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on October 27, 1993. | Photo: Getty Images

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WHAT HAPPENED TO LINKLETTER'S DAUGHTER?

A few months after Zweyer's death, Linkletter suffered another loss. In October 1969, Linkletter's daughter, Diane, did the unthinkable when she committed suicide.

The Sheriff's deputies revealed that the lady jumped to her death from a window of her apartment located in West Hollywood.

Twenty-seven years after Robert's death, another child of the Linkletter's family exited the world.

Art Linkletter poses with an Emmy award for " Best Daytime Program" at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter poses with an Emmy award for " Best Daytime Program" at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955. | Photo: Getty Images

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A friend of the deceased — Edward Durston — who was present at the time of the suicide, noted that Linkletter was very sad the night before she took her life. He added that she was emotional, and at some point, irrational.

Durston told the police that Diane had plunged out of her kitchen window the following day, and he tried to take hold of her, but it was too late.

Diane's death was a heavy blow on the television personality. He was left heartbroken. However, he could not believe that his daughter had committed suicide.

Art Linkletter poses at at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955 in Los Angeles,CA. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter poses at at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955 in Los Angeles,CA. | Photo: Getty Images

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Linkletter claimed that Diane was murdered by people who manufactured and sold LSD. The entertainer alleged that his daughter moved with a crowd that used LSD, but she could not handle it.

According to the father of five, Diane had a bad trip, and she feared the drug was destroying her mind. The host described the experience as diving into a pool with no knowledge of its depth.

Sadly, Diane's death occurred when she was 20 years old. According to her star father, she would have been 21 by October 31, 1969.

Art Linkletter, receives a lifetime achievement Emmy Award on May 16, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter, receives a lifetime achievement Emmy Award on May 16, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

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THE DEATH OF ANOTHER LINKLETTER

On September 12, 1980, Linkletter lost a second child, his son, Robert. The young man, who was 35 years old at the time, was involved in a fatal head-on crash on Santa Monica Boulevard. After the accident, Robert suffered chest injuries and eventually died from them.

According to detectives who arrived on the scene, the other vehicle's driver was not cited. Sadly, Robert passed away without leaving a will. But, documents filed asked the court to name the deceased's sister, Sharon Melcher, the administrator of his estate.

Art Linkletter poses with an Emmy award for " Best Daytime Program" at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter poses with an Emmy award for " Best Daytime Program" at the TV Emmy Awards on March 7,1955. | Photo: Getty Images

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ART LINKLETTER SAYS GOODBYE TO HIS SON

Twenty-seven years after Robert's death, another child of the Linkletter's family exited the world. The "People Are Funny" host said goodbye to his son, Jack, who died of lymphoma. He died at his home in Cloverdale, California. He was aged 70.

Like his father, Jack was also involved in the hosting business. In 1958, he began his journey to becoming a successful onscreen personality by hosting the NBC prime time quiz show "Haggis Baggis."

Art Linkletter during CBS at 75 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on November 2, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter during CBS at 75 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on November 2, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

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In 1963 and 1964, he hosted the popular ABC program "Hootenanny," which broadcasted concerts from college campuses nationwide.

After his job on "Hootenanny," Jack became the master of ceremony for the Miss Universe telecasts from 1964 to 1966. Jack was not the only Linkletter child who was involved in showbiz. Before she died, Jack's late sister Diane was an aspiring singer and actress.

Art Linkletter, receives a lifetime achievement Emmy Award on May 16, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

Art Linkletter, receives a lifetime achievement Emmy Award on May 16, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

She often followed her dad to various military centers abroad to entertain servicemen and women. However, her dreams were cut short due to her untimely death. May her soul rest in peace.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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