TV host Art Linkletter dead at 97

Legendary US television host Art Linkletter, best known for shows such as "House Party" and "People Are Funny," died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his family said.

He was 97.

Known for his interviews with celebrities and children, the Canadian-born television show was a household name with his "House Party" show, which began life on radio in 1944 before running for 17 years on CBS television from 1952.

His NBC show "People Are Funny" ran for 19 years, making him one of television's most enduring personalities.

His interviews with children were collected for a book titled "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which led to a television series of the same name.

Born Arthur Gordon Kelly in Saskatchewan, Canada, he was adopted by a preacher and his wife, who later settled in San Diego.

He is survived by his wife of 75 years, Lois, and daughters Dawn and Sharon.

Linkletter's life was marked by family tragedy. In 1969, Linkletter's daughter Diane leapt to her death from her Hollywood apartment.

Linkletter later blamed the hallucinogenic drug LSD for the death - even though no traces of the drug were found in her body - and became a vocal campaigner against it.

Linkletter's son Robert died in a car accident in 1980 and his son Jack died at age 70 in 2007.

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