Charles Herbert "Chuck" Woolery (born on March 16, 1941) is an American game show host, singer, actor and talk show host, best known as the original host of Wheel of Fortune and for hosting the dating game show Love Connection, from its debut in 1983 to the conclusion of its first version in 1995. He currently hosts Lingo on GSN.
Born in Ashland, Kentucky, Woolery grew up an avid fisherman. He attended Morehead State University and made his first foray into the entertainment business as a member of the band The Avant Garde with his partner Elkin "Bubba" Fowler. In 1968, The Avant Garde produced the moderate hit "Naturally Stoned" (which inspired the name for Woolery's reality series on GSN). Before he began a successful career in hosting game shows, Woolery's first television exposure was that of Mr. Dingle, the friendly postman, storekeeper and jack-of-all-trades to the animals on the long-running children's series, New Zoo Revue, from 1972 to 1977.
Woolery has been married four times. He had three children—Cary, Katharine and Chad—with his first wife Margaret Hays. Chad died in a motorcycle accident in 1986 at age 19. His second wife was actress Jo Ann Pflug, with whom he had a daughter, Melissa. His third wife was Teri Nelson, the adopted daughter of David Nelson and his second wife Yvonne O'Connor Huston. Teri is also the granddaughter of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. The couple had two sons, Michael and Shawn. Woolery married his fourth wife, Kim Barnes, on July 17, 2006, in Las Vegas. In 2006 he bought a house near Austin, Texas.
While co-starring as Mr. Dingle on the hit children's series New Zoo Revue, Woolery's first appearance on a game show was on a 1974 episode of Tattletales alongside his wife Pflug, in which he sat next to his fellow veteran game show host Bill Cullen, alongside Cullen's wife Ann (it was mentioned on a 1987 episode of Scrabble, during Game Show Week, that he told Bill's brother-in-law Tom Kennedy that Cullen was one of Woolery's favorite game show hosts). Starting as an enterprising folk/pop singer, Woolery was also seen on a 1974 episode of Your Hit Parade, and was soon recognized as having good master-of-ceremonies skills. At the urging of television host Merv Griffin, he accepted hosting duties for newly created game show Wheel of Fortune in 1975. Woolery eventually left Wheel of Fortune in a salary dispute with show producers, which he has admitted was a mistake on his part. According to an interview with Woolery after Griffin's death, he demanded a raise from $65,000 per year to $500,000. Griffin was only willing to pay $400,000. However, with his handsome looks, casual wit and friendly charm, Woolery has since become one of the most respected and well-liked game show hosts in the business.
One of the most recognizable faces in game show television, Woolery has hosted Wheel (1975-1981), Love Connection (1983-1995),The Big Spin (1985-1985), co-host), Scrabble (1984-1990, 1993), The Home and Family Show (1996-97, co-host), The Dating Game (1997-99 update), Greed (1999-2000) and Lingo (2002-present). In addition, he was the subject of a reality show, Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned, and has been seen on television infomercials as a national spokesman for National Recreational Properties, promoting developing real estate communities such as Holiday Island in Arkansas. He even had his own television talk show called The Chuck Woolery Show, which lasted for only a few months in 1991. He has also hosted The Price Is Right Live! at Harrah's casinos. Woolery provided promotional voiceovers for GSN's daytime lineup schedule for a time from 2005-2007, which were gradually phased out over time as the schedule changed (superseding his voiceovers). His game show on GSN, Lingo, finished its sixth season in early 2008; its future is not known at this time.
Woolery often speaks enthusiastically about bass fishing and sells his own line of fishing products, including "MotoLure," a motorized lure that simulates the motions of a small fish. Woolery's passion for the outdoors has also enabled him to become the official outdoor spokesman on QVC - the television shopping network - where Woolery promotes many other signature products. Woolery has also played on the World Poker Tour Hollywood Home Game for the charity Safe Passage. It is speculated that he owns over 400 diamond rings. He is such a fan of diamonds that he owns a diamond-encrusted bass guitar. He is known for his trademark commercial outro of "We'll be back in two and two" along with a two-finger hand gesture, much like a peace sign, which he first started using on Love Connection. Woolery has explained that "two and two" means the amount of time a commercial break lasts (two minutes for the commercials, plus one second out and one second in).
Chuck currently appears in the live stage show "$250,000 Game Show Spectacular" at the Las Vegas Hilton.