Robert Leland "Bob" Eubanks is an American media personality, DJ, actor, and game show host. He has accumulated fame for being the recurring host of ABC and Game Show Network’s long-running game show ‘The Newlywed Game’. A California native, Eubanks grew up watching television and quiz game shows and listening to a variety of musicians. After graduating from high school, he gradually became one of the most popular DJs in California. He enjoyed a successful career on radio before becoming a television personality. Eubanks has hosted The Newlywed Game’ from 1966 to 1968, from 1977 to 1980, from 1985 to 1988, and in 1996. He has also served as the host of several other game shows, including ‘Rhyme and Reason’, ‘Card Sharks’, ‘Dream House’, ‘The Diamond Head Game’,’ Trivia Trap’, and ‘Powerball: The Game Show’. In 2000, he acquired a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2005, he became the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on January 8, 1938, in Flint, Michigan, USA, Bob Eubanks is the son of Gertrude (née McClure) and John Otho Leland Eubanks. His parents were natives of Missouri but had to relocate to Flint during the Great Depression. The family moved again after Eubanks’ birth, this time to Pasadena, California, where he was raised.
Eubanks spent his childhood watching popular classic television and quiz game shows. He also listened to a variety of music. He especially loved Frank Sinatra and Doc Watson.
Eubanks has cited the likes of Cary Grant, Howard Hughes, Buddy Hackett, and Bill Cullen as his inspiration.
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After graduating from Pasadena High School in 1955, Bob Eubanks enrolled at Pierce College. During this period, he seriously pursued a career as a disc jockey in California, becoming extremely successful.
In 1956, he landed his first radio job at KACY Radio in Oxnard, California. Four years later, he was hired by KRLA in Pasadena to host the overnight show and rose through the ranks to host the long-running 6-9 pm evening slot.
In the 1960s, he organised concerts for the likes of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. After relocating to Los Angles, he worked with artists like Barry Manilow, The Supremes, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Merle Haggard.
Besides ‘The Newlywed Game’, Eubanks has served as a host on ‘Rhyme and Reason’ (1975-76), ‘Card Sharks’ (1979-88), ‘Dream House’ (1984), ‘The Diamond Head Game’ (1975), ‘Trivia Trap’ (1984-85), and ‘Powerball: The Game Show’ (2000-02). From 1974 to 1979, he served as a co-host on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’.
The 1993 daytime series ‘Family Secrets’ was his final network game show. In later years, he has been featured as the host or co-host of all five ‘Most Outrageous Game Show Moments’ specials, which aired on NBC.
When he was not working as a game show host, Eubanks managed some of the most prominent musicians of the time, including Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, and Marty Robbins. He also had an exclusive live-performance deal with Merle Haggard that enabled him to organise over 100 dates per year with the country singer for nearly a decade.
Eubanks accumulated his share of acting credits by mostly playing TV hosts and announcers. He made his acting debut in 1963 in ‘The Cinnamon Cinder Show’.
He appeared as ‘The Newlywed Game’ host in the 1967 film ‘The Graduate’. Most recently, he has been featured in several episodes of ‘Good Food, Good Deeds’ (2011). He has admitted that he has problems doing lines.
A documentary, titled ‘Backstage with Bob’, is currently being made on Eubanks. The project is in the production stage.
In 1966, Bob Eubanks landed the job of hosting ABC’s ‘The Newlywed Game’. Premiering in the same year, the show garnered massive popularity in its very first season. Eubanks, who was in his late 20s at the time, received praise from both the critics and the audience for bringing a youthful exuberance to the show.
He coined the popular phrase, "makin' whoopee”, in order to refer to marital sexual intercourse. He served as the host of four different renditions of the show over the course of forty years.
Family & Personal Life
Bob Eubanks’ first wife was the avid athlete, ranch forewoman and artist Irma Brown. They exchanged wedding vows on September 10, 1969. He had three children with her, retired firefighter Trace, actor and stuntman Corey, and Theresa.
Irma passed away on January 19, 2002. He married his second wife, wedding and events coordinator Deborah James, around 2004. The couple has a son together, named Noah.
In 2004, Eubanks released his autobiography, ‘It's in the Book, Bob!’, through BenBella Books publishers.
During the filming of Michael Moore’s 1989 documentary ‘Roger & Me’, Moore interviewed Eubanks, as the latter was a native of Flint, a town that was catastrophically affected by massive downsizing by General Motors.
During the interview, Eubanks made an off-colour joke about Jewish people and AIDS. Moore stated in the DVD commentary of the film that Eubanks tried to condemn the film with the Anti-Defamation League for containing anti-Semitic content, despite being the source of only anti-Semite part in it.