Linkletter was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was abandoned by his parents as a child and adopted by an elderly couple who were itinerant evangelists. After several years they settled in San Diego, California, where he was raised in a retirement home.
He has hosted a number of popular radio and television programs, such as Art Linkletter's House Party, The Linkletter Show and Kids Say the Darnedest Things, mostly in the 1940s-60s. In his 80s, he still skis, surfs and swims, and is on the board of trustees of the University of California at Los Angeles Center on Aging, and chairman of the board of the John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease.
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