Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Peter Marshall (born March 30, 1926) is an American television and radio personality, singer, and actor.
He was the original host of The Hollywood Squares, from 1966 to 1981. He has almost fifty television, movie, and Broadway credits. His stage name, Peter Marshall, reportedly derived from the college in his home town (Marshall College, which became Marshall University in 1961).
Peter Marshall was born Ralph Pierre LaCock in 1926 in Huntington, West Virginia, to a show business family. Following his father's death, he moved to New York City to be with his mother, a costume designer. His elder sister, Joanne Dru, was an actress who is best remembered for her roles in the films Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and All the King's Men.
Although Marshall occasionally worked in film and television, he could not find regular work in the industry until his friend Morey Amsterdam recommended him to fill in for Bert Parks (who emceed the pilot) as the host of the game show The Hollywood Squares in 1966.
The show had a long run on daytime network TV and in syndication, making Marshall as familiar to viewers as the celebrities who appeared on the show. The easy-going and unflappable Marshall was a perfect foil for the wicked wit of such panelists as Amsterdam and his Dick Van Dyke Show castmate Rose Marie; Paul Lynde, Jan Murray, and Wally Cox. The Hollywood Squares was canceled by the NBC network in 1980, but production continued in syndication into 1981.
Marshall grew tired of hosting the show after several years and wanted to leave. Toward that end, he would make outrageous salary demands whenever his contract was up for renewal, hoping that he would be fired for doing so, but his demands were always met.
In 2002, he published a book about his show business experience, Backstage With The Original Hollywood Square.
In 2002, he returned to the new version of The Hollywood Squares as a panelist during a Game Show Week hosted by Tom Bergeron. Marshall occupied the prestigious center square. For one day that week, Marshall took his old position at the podium to host while Bergeron was the center square.
In addition to having played a radio host in Annie, Marshall has been a radio personality in real life, hosting a popular mid-day show on the Music of Your Life adult standards national radio network, which is also live-streamed via the internet here.
On October 13, 2007, Marshall was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.
In 2009, Marshall appeared on television promoting compact disc hits from the Big Band era, and also hosted a two hour PBS special, The Big Band Years.
In 2010, Marshall, along with Monty Hall and Wink Martindale, appeared with their wives on a special Game Show Legend version of The Newlywed Game. The special was hosted by Bob Eubanks; the Martindales won the game.