If you boiled down television to its purest essence, you might end up with a game-show host. People like Alex Trebek of "Jeopardy!" have become such a part of the culture, and appear in our living rooms so often, that it feels as if they are part of the family. We talk to some legendary U.S. game-show hosts about their first gigs.

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Bob Eubanks


Former host, "The Newlywed Game"


First job: Doorman


"I was a doorman at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, and I used to open the door for celebrities like Red Skelton and Cary Grant. I remember seeing the movie 'Oklahoma!' for 26 weeks in a row, twice a day. I could recite the whole movie to you. One day I was asked to clean the marquee, and I'm very afraid of heights. There I am, up on a ladder with wheels, pulling myself along, when a bunch of tough guys came walking up. They hit my ladder, and I started rolling down Hollywood Boulevard, scared to death. Then I see them coming back for more, and just as they got to my ladder, I slid down, grabbed a broom, and whacked one of the guys in the back of the head. At that very moment the manager walked out of the box office, seeing the whole thing. He said, 'You're fired.' So when I was eventually nominated for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I said, 'I want it right in front of the Egyptian Theatre.' And that's where it is today."


Alex Trebek

Host, "Jeopardy!"

First job: Bellhop

"My first job was as a bellhop at the Nickel Range Hotel in Sudbury, Ontario. My dad got me the job at the hotel where he was the chef. On my first day of work, I was four hours late. Not a good start."

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Vanna White

Co-host, "Wheel of Fortune"

First job: Soda jerk

"My first real job was when I was around 13, and back in those days it was called a 'soda jerk'. It was a drugstore with a soda fountain in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, called McElveen's. I worked at the counter making things like lemonade, egg-salad sandwiches and hamburgers. I don't remember what I made per hour, but I'm sure it was minimal. This was in the mid-'70s, so I think I spent all my salary on 8-track tapes. That job also taught me basic social skills. That's because of all that time standing behind the counter. After you give the customer a burger, you start talking to them and learning about their lives. I started feeling more confident about dealing with people."