ART FLEMING Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Art Fleming                                                                     
Born: 1 May 1924                                                                     
Died: 25 April 1995                                                                   
Art Fleming (May 1, 1924 - April 25, 1995) was the original host of the TV game       
show Jeopardy!                                                                       
Fleming was born Arthur Fleming Fazzin in New York City. His parents, William         
and Marie Fazzin, had emigrated to the United States from Austria. They were a       
popular dance team in Europe and had brought their show to the U.S. Fleming (who     
stood 6 foot, 4 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds) was a varsity letterman           
football player at James Monroe High School in New York. He later attended           
Colgate and Cornell universities, starring on the football and water polo teams       
at both colleges. Fleming was a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Navy     
for three and a half years as the pilot of a patrol bomber in the Atlantic.           
After leaving the Navy, Fleming became an announcer at a radio station in Rocky       
Mount, North Carolina. It was here that he first shortened his name to "Art           
Fleming." His radio career would later take him to Akron, Ohio, and back home to     
New York. He was the first announcer to deliver the popular slogan "Winston           
tastes good, like a cigarette should" for Winston cigarettes.                         
From 1979 to 1992, Fleming hosted a daily radio talk show on KMOX in St. Louis.       
On Sunday evenings, he occasionally co-hosted Trivia Spectacular with David           
Strauss. He also hosted the syndicated radio program When Radio Was.                 
Fleming's acting career began at age four, when he starred in a Broadway play.       
His first television role was as a stunt double for Ralph Bellamy in the             
detective series Man Against Crime. He would later star in The Flying Tigers,         
The Californians, and International Detective.                                       
Fleming also appeared in many television commercials. He was first spotted by         
legendary creator of TV shows Merv Griffin on a commercial for Trans World           
Airlines. Griffin thought Fleming was "authoritative, yet warm and interesting,"     
and Fleming was invited to audition for the role of host in a new quiz show           
Griffin was developing. Fleming (an actor with no prior TV quiz show experience)     
was initially skeptical, but his agent encouraged him to "act like a game show       
host" at his audition and Fleming ultimately won the job. The show was Jeopardy!,     
which Fleming hosted from 1964 to 1975 and again from October 2, 1978, to March       
2, 1979. As the first host of "the world's greatest quiz show," Fleming earned       
two Emmy Award nominations. While he was host of Jeopardy!, Fleming never missed     
a taping.                                                                             
Because he hosted a quiz show, Fleming earned a reputation as being a storehouse     
of trivia. While appearing as a guest star on Hollywood Squares (another popular     
NBC game show in the 1960s and 1970s), Fleming was once selected as the "secret       
square." His question was, "In 1938, who won the Wimbledon women's tennis             
championship?" Fleming picked Helen Wills Moody, one of the three choices read       
to him. The female contestant (who had selected Fleming) turned to Hollywood         
Squares MC Peter Marshall and said, "Art Fleming would never lie! I agree!" He       
was right, and the contestant won $11,000. Fleming later said he didn't know a       
thing about tennis and had guessed the answer. He hoped the contestant would         
disagree, thinking he was wrong.                                                     
Throughout his career, Fleming starred in 5000 episodes of television programs       
and 48 motion pictures. After Jeopardy! was canceled in 1975, Fleming returned       
to acting. He played the role of W. Averell Harriman in the movie MacArthur and       
also appeared on episodes of Starsky and Hutch, Kingston: Confidential, and the       
TV miniseries The Moneychangers.                                                     
He also hosted a radio version of College Bowl for CBS. Fleming reprised his         
role as host of Jeopardy! in the movie Airplane II and in "Weird Al" Yankovic's       
music video "I Lost on Jeopardy". Fleming was also often called upon to host         
mock versions of Jeopardy! at trade shows and conventions.