Who is Wink Martindale?

Winston Conrad ‘Wink’ Martindale is an American radio personality, game show host, television producer and actor. He was born on 4th of December 1933, in Jackson, Tennessee, so his zodiac sign is Sagittarius. He is best known for being a host of several TV game shows, including “Gambit”, “Tic-Tac-Dough”, “Debt” and “High Rollers”, during his career of over 60 years.

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Early life, family and education

Since Wink Martindale was born in Jackson, it is assumed that he spent his childhood and adolescence in his hometown, apparently finishing high school there, and he also attended the local Sunday school.

Little is known about his parents and siblings, except that his father’s name was James Martindale, and he had a brother, Edward Leo Martindale who joined the US Army, the 82nd  Airborne Divisio, but died at the age of 75 on 11 of March 2003. We can say that Wink became what he is thanks to his mother: at very young age he was listening to the radio with her, especially to soap operas every day. His career started very early, but he was still determined to finish college and obtain a degree.

He graduated from the University of Memphis, with majors in Speech and English, and a minor in Journalism. Considering his education, it is perfectly understandable why he has had such a successful career.

Wink Martindale’s radio career

Wink was interested and fascinated with radio even at a really young age – his dream was to be radio announcer. The very beginning of his career is linked to Jackson, his hometown – before his start in the radio industry, he was working as a disc jockey when he was 17, his first job at a salary of only $1.02 a week.

Wink Martindale

After a year, he got his first job in a radio station, thanks to his teacher from Sunday school; the salary was considerably higher, at $25 a week. He was very determined and hard-working, and that saw him advance and move into two larger stations in town. Shortly afterwards, Wink moved to WHBQ, the most popular radio station in Memphis, where he became of the most popular radio hosts in the city.

Wink’s radio career continued in Los Angeles, where he was heard on KRLA, KGIL, KFWB and KHJ. In 1971 he became the midday personality on Gene Autry’s flagship “Station of the Stars”, which lasted for 12 years. He released his interpretation of the spoken-word song called “Deck of Cards”, a single which reached no. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and no. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. He was the morning personality on KHJ, after which he had the morning show on KFWB and KRLA.

Wink’s career on television

Wink Martindale appeared on television for the first time on the Memphis TV channel WHBQ-TV, hosting the science-fiction show for children: “Mars Patrol”. Later he hosted “Teenage Dance Party”, as the name suggests, a TV show for teenagers – on 16 of June 1956, Elvis Presley was a guest on this show.

From 1964 to 1965, Wink hosted his first game show called “What’s This Song?”, aired on NBC. The next game show that he hosted was “Words and Music”, similar to the previous because it was also a song recognition-type quiz, and on the same TV channel.

In 1972 he hosted “Gambit”, the new game show aired on CBS, which was his first emcee position, and first major success, and which lasted for four years – later in 1980 there was a revival version, with a Las Vegas theme. Wink Martindale is most famous for hosting “Tic-Tac-Dough”, the game show which brought him one of his most important emcee roles, airing from 1978 to 1985. In that period, Wink wanted to pursue his dream and form his own production company, in order to produce his own game shows, at which he eventually succeeded, naming his company “Wink Martindale Enterprises”.

The first show he created was “Headline Chasers” in a co-production with Merv Griffin. However, this show didn’t have much success, lasting only one season after which Martindale had to cancel it.

His next creation was “Bumper Stumpers”, more successful than the previous, and co-produced with “Barry&Enright” it was aired on American and Canadian television. Some of the other game shows that he hosted are “Trivial Pursuit”, “Jumble”, “Boggie”, etc, although only “Trivial Pursuit” was very successful.

In 1996, Wink Martindale hosted what became a high-rated game show on Lifetime television channel, called “Debt” – the goal for competitors was to get rid of their debts. It was very popular, but in spite of all that it was cancelled in 1998 because women were the targeted audience, however, apparently it was mostly watched by men.

In 2000s Wink made appearance on various TV shows, as well as on radio, including “Music of Your Life”, “Instant Recall”, “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits Of All-Time”, “The Eric Andre Show” and more. He also made an appearance in a soap opera called “The Bold and The Beautiful”, playing the role of the minister.

For his contribution to both radio and TV over several decades, Wink Martindale has A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as of 2nd of June 2006.

Wink Martindale’s personal life. His wife and children

In 1954 Wink married Madelyn Leech and they have four kids: Wink Jr., Laura, Lisa and Lynn, but in1972 they divorced. Three years later, Wink entered in second marriage, with Sandy Ferra, and they are still married. Wink and Sandy were dedicated to charity work for years. They were on on the Los Angeles Board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Posted by Wink Martindale on Friday, August 2, 2019

Wink is spokesman for the volunteer organization called “Dream Factory”, which is dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children with chronic and critical diseases. He and his wife live in Calabasas, California. Wink is now grandfather to seven grandchildren, and has four great-grandchildren from his granddaughter Emilee. Social media forms a great part of his life, and he has active accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

Wink Martindale

How rich is Wink Martindale? His net worth

Wink Martindale had a long and amazing career. Apart from radio and TV game shows, he appeared in lots of commercials such as for the travel website “Orbitz” in which he was the pitchman, KFC advertising campaign, etc. He also has his own You Tube channel with more than 9,000 subscribers in which he features game show pilots, some rare videos from episodes of game shows, etc. So he is very probably still earning, adding to his net worth already estimated at over $20 million.


Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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