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John Daly; Hosted TV’s ‘What’s My Line?’

From Associated Press

John Daly, former war correspondent, network executive, government official and popular host of the game show “What’s My Line?” was found dead at his home here Monday, his longtime assistant said.

Daly, who turned 77 Wednesday, suffered from emphysema, but, “I believe death was due to cardiac arrest,” said his assistant, Lila Bader, in a telephone interview from Daly’s office in New York City.

Bader said she spoke with Daly by telephone Sunday, “and he was going to do his taxes” Monday.

Daly, a native of South Africa, came to the United States as a boy. He studied at Boston College and was a scheduler for the Washington D. C. transit company when he joined CBS in 1937.

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After covering the White House and World War II in Europe and the Middle East, Daly moved to ABC in 1949. From 1953 to 1960 he was vice president in charge of the network’s news operation.

For 17 years he was also moderator of the Sunday night television institution, “What’s My Line?” in which a panel of regulars--including columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, publisher Bennett Cerf, actress Arlene Francis and comedian Henry Morgan--tried to guess the sometimes wacky, often bizarre occupations of guests introduced by Daly with the signature phrase, “Would you enter and sign in please?”

“What’s My Line?” ran on CBS from 1950 through 1967, making it the longest-running game show in the history of prime-time network television. It ran for a few years after 1967 under another moderator in syndication.

After leaving ABC in 1960, Bader said, Daly was asked to head the news operations of NBC, but was prevented by his contract with ABC, which prohibited him from working for a competing network.

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In 1967-68, Daly served as director of the Voice of America.

In recent years, he narrated the “Modern Maturity” series on educational television.

“He was the most intelligent man I ever knew,” Bader said.

Bader said Daly was “a hard-news man” who had become dismayed by recent trends in journalism.

“He couldn’t accept what he saw happening in local news--all the laughter,” she said. “But he would never write about it.”

Daly is survived by his wife, a daughter of former Chief Justice Earl Warren, and six children, three from a previous marriage.

Funeral arrangements were pending.


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