Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bud Collyer

Bud Collyer was an American radio actor/announcer who became one of the nation's first major television game show stars. He is best remembered for his work as the voice of Superman/Clark Kent in three media: radio, film and television.

Collyer was born Clayton Johnson Heermance, Jr. He originally sought a career in the law, attending Williams College and Fordham University law school. Though he became a law clerk after his graduation, making as much in a month of radio as he did in a year of clerking convinced him to make broadcasting his career, changing his surname and becoming a familiar voice on all three major radio networks by 1940.

Collyer got his first helping of game shows when he co-hosted ABC's (the former NBC Blue network) Break the Bank with future Miss America Pageant mainstay Bert Parks; and, when he was picked to host the radio original of the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman team's first game, Winner Take All—the latter also becoming, in due course, the first hosting seat for another game show titan, Bill Cullen.

Collyer went on to host the television versions of both shows, but in 1950 he got the job which genuinely made him a household name: Beat The Clock, a stunt game show which pitted couples (usually, but not exclusively, married) against the clock in a race to perform silly (sometimes messy) tasks. Collyer hosted the show for eleven years (1950–61), and he also co-produced it for part of its run.

Collyer's other game show hosting included the DuMont game show On Your Way (1953–1954), To Tell The Truth, on CBS, the short-lived (two years) game show Feather Your Nest, and the ABC game Number Please in 1961 (which replaced Beat the Clock on the Monday after the final ABC episode).

When To Tell the Truth was planned to be revived for syndication in 1969, producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman wanted Collyer to once again host the show. However, when they called Collyer, he declined, citing his ailing health. Collyer died at age 61 from a circulatory ailment in Greenwich, Connecticut, on the same day To Tell The Truth was revived in syndication.

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