Celebrities and game shows have been linked since the beginning. For some shows, celebrities are brought in to liven up ratings (Millionaire and The Weakest Link were guilty of this a decade back, a couple among many). For others, they are a critical component of the game (think Hollywood Squares, where the jokes are what propel the tic-tac-toe game forward). For a third class, the show, and the chemistry within a panel or the star’s ability to play a game well, made the panel celebrities in their own right.
The AV Club has a great article listing a number of celebrities that perhaps had their greatest fame on the set of a game show, thanks to their ability to play the game so well. There’s some pretty cool facts in here, and one or two I didn’t recognize, which is sort of the point, in a way. If you had never heard of Match Game, would you know who Brett Somers was?
It’s unlikely this sort of situation could recur anytime soon, but it was quite the fun era nonetheless.