Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rant #560: Game Show Icon

I know that to the majority of younger people, the name Anita Gillette means pretty much next to nothing.

Heck, for that matter, even for older people, the name Anita Gillette simply makes them scratch their heads and say they know the name, but they can't figure out why.

Well, today, Anita Gillette turns 75--and on the anniversary of the deaths of both Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, no less!

Who the heck is Anita Gillette and why should anyone care about her?

To the baby boomer generation, Anita Gillette was the perky, pretty lady who was a celebrity contestant on just about every game show that there ever was back in the 1960s and into the mid-1970s.

Although she was an actress who appeared in many films and TV shows as well as on Broadway, Gillette will always be remembered by my generation as one of the celebrities on "What's My Line," "The Match Game," and countless other game shows.

Most of the shows were based in New York, allowing Gillette to be featured on soap operas like "The Edge of Night" while doing double duty on the game shows.

And she was really good. Regular contestants loved to go to, or be paired up with Gillette, because she really knew how to play these games as well as anyone. Sure, she got paid for her appearances like other celebrities, but I always got the impression that she really enjoyed appearing on these shows, as much for the gamesmanship as for the exposure and pay.

When the game show circuit dried up, Gillette's movie career picked up, and she has been in a number of popular films, including "Moonstruck." And on TV, she has appeared in a number of hits shows, including "C.S.I."

That being said, at least for my generation, Gillette is in the "Game Show Celebrity Hall of Fame," along with the likes of Orson Bean, Charles Nelson Reilley, Jamie Farr, Bret Somers, and Soupy Sales.

I have to admit that when she was on the game shows, I really didn't even know who she was. I knew she was a celebrity, but I didn't know the extent of her talent as an actor.

And to see that she is still going strong through her 75th year is great news.

Happy birthday and many more!


  1. I remember having a crush on Anita, boy we had some actual good game shows back then with celebs with talent and who were funny not like today's mindless "talent" and "game" shows like America has no talent...Dancing with the "stars?"..."win it in a minute".
    Happy Birthday Anita!

  2. She was like the "girl next door," and I think you were not alone at having a crush on her. Who knew she had talent beyond the game shows? I sure didn't.



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