Gil Fates, the producer of some of the most enduring TV game shows, died at age 86.
What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, Beat the Clock, Winner Take All and To Tell the Truth are among the shows he helped create during his 35 years with Goodson-Todman Productions. (To Tell the Truth is having a renaissance.) Fates started his career in the theater, first as an actor in Stage Door and The American Way, then as a company manager for The Man Who Came to Dinner.
He left "the fabulous invalid" for the newborn television department of CBS, creating, producing and hosting the first regularly scheduled game show, The CBS Television Quiz, in 1941.
He served in the Coast Guard in WWII and was commanding officer of a rescue cutter in the English Channel during the Allied invasion of Normandy. He rejoined CBS in 1946, but left in 1950 to produce The Faye Emerson Show. He joined Goodson-Todman in 1953. In 1978, he wrote What's My Line? The History of America's Most Famous Panel Show. Most recently, he was performing in clubs and on cruise ships, entertaining audiences with anecdotes about broadcasting.
He leaves his wife, Faye; a son, Dailey Gilbert; and two daughters, Amy and Decia.