Peter Marshall, the legendary host of The Hollywood Squares for decades, almost did not live to celebrate his 95th birthday this week — he spent a couple of months battling COVID-19.
In fact, he was sent home to die in comfort, but defied the odds and seems to have pulled through!
His 95th-birthday celebration turned out to be a real treat, hosted adroitly by Wink Martindale and featuring long, live interactions with Chita Rivera (who I never realized considers Marshall practically family), Leslie Uggams (his Fantasy co-host — more on that show here), Ruta Lee (who tossed out a rape joke — keepin' it retro, baby!) and Squares veterans Sandy Duncan, Jackie Joseph and Loni Anderson.
The show contained great clips from throughout Marshall's career, including his 1949 TV debut, and shorter shout-outs from Charo, Karen Valentine (who I want to eulogize me — lovely speech), Rich Little, Kathy Lennon, Anson Williams, Monica Mancini, Millicent Martin, Bill & Susan Seaforth Hayes, Tom Bergeron, Jo Anne Worley, Sue Raney and Betty White.
Best of all, Marshall — whose mellifluous voice is unimpeded by age or the coronavirus — pops up at the very end to briefly, emotionally thank everyone for their well-wishes. He definitely looks thinner than when I saw him a few years ago at the Rosie Marie documentary screening in NYC, but it is said he is regaining strength little by little every day.
The show was staged not only to kiss Peter's deserving butt, but also to raise cash for Actors and Others for Animals — donate here.
Watch the whole tribute below: