Game Show Host Geoff Edwards Dies at 83

Geoff Edwards Jackpot! - P 2014
Courtesy Everett Collection

Geoff Edwards Jackpot! - P 2014

A familiar face and voice in Los Angeles in the 1970s and '80s, he worked as an emcee on such shows as “Jackpot,” “Starcade” and two versions of “Treasure Hunt.”

Geoff Edwards, a local Los Angeles TV host and radio personality who gained national exposure as the emcee of such game shows as Jackpot, Starcade and Treasure Hunt, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Edwards died of complications related to pneumonia at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, his agent, Fred Westbrook, told The Hollywood Reporter.

In the 1980s, when he wasn’t working on game shows, Edwards co-hosted the daytime talk show Mid-Morning L.A. on KCAL-TV with actress Meredith MacRae (with whom he had worked on the CBS sitcom Petticoat Junction during his time as an actor). He won a local Emmy for the show.

“Geoff help to change the look of daytime television in the early ’70s as his hair was a bit longer, he almost never wore a tie, wore jeans and rarely had a podium to stand behind,” Westbrook noted.

From 1968-79, the good-natured Edwards was an on-air personality at KMPC, which featured other local legends like Robert W. Morgan, Clark Race, Wink Martindale, Gary Owens and Jim Lange. From 9 a.m. to noon each day, he spun records and did entertaining bits like making prank calls to businesses in other states.?

He then shifted to KFI radio but quit in 1989 after fellow host Tom Leykis announced plans to destroy recordings by singer Cat Stevens, who had become a Muslim and adopted the name Yusuf Islam.

A native of Westfield, N.J., who attended Duke University, Edwards worked regularly as an actor in the 1960s. He appeared as a late-night movie host in the Dick Van Dyke film The Comic (1969), appeared with Paul Newman in WUSA (1970) and had gigs on such shows as I Dream of Jeannie and That Girl.

For the 1972 summer replacement series Dean Martin Presents the Bobby Darin Amusement Company -- a vehicle for the singer that included comedy sketches -- Edwards was part of the supporting cast that included Rip Taylor and Steve Landesberg. He stayed with the program when it returned the following January as The Bobby Darin Show.

Edwards got his start in the TV game show business on Lucky Partners, an L.A. game show produced by Bob Barker. His first national effort, Hollywood’s Talking, lasted just 13 weeks, but it led producer Chuck Barris to cast him as the host of the syndicated game show The New Treasure Hunt in 1973.

Later, he emceed Jackpot, a big-money game from $10,000 Pyramid creator Bob Stewart, and Shoot for the Stars, another show from Stewart that was the last NBC daytime game show taped in New York.

Edwards was a frequent guest on The $20,000 Pyramid and The Love Experts, and hosted Chain Reaction, Play the Percentages and another version of Treasure Hunt. He then hosted Starcade -- which revolved around the top video game arcade titles of the day -- for two years in the 1980s.

Most recently, he emceed the California state lottery’s official game show, The Big Spin, and worked in local radio, primarily in the Palm Springs area.

Survivors include his ex-wife, Suzanne, and his current wife of more than 30 years, Michael; son Todd; daughter Shawn; stepsons Justin and Jason; and nine grandchildren.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4