Mark Goodson was a successful American television producer who specialized in game shows.
Mark Goodson was born in Sacramento, California on January 14, 1915. His parents, Abraham Ellis and Fannie Goodson, emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. As a child, Mark acted in amateur theater with the Plaza Stock Company. The family later moved to Hayward, California. Originally intending to become a lawyer, Mark attended the University of California, Berkeley, and financed his education through scholarships, and by working at the Lincoln Fish Market, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1937 with a degree in Economics. That year, he began his broadcasting career in San Francisco, working as a disc jockey at station KJBS. In 1939, he joined the now defunct KFRC radio station, where he produced and hosted a radio quiz called “Pop the Question”, in which contestants selected questions by throwing darts at multi-colored balloons.
In 1941, Goodson married his first wife, Bluma Neveleff, and moved to New York City, where he teamed up with partner Bill Todman. The pair’s first radio show, Winner Take All, premiered on CBS in 1946. Outside of television production, Goodson and Todman went on to own several newspapers in New England, as well as radio station KOL in Seattle, Washington. Bill Todman died in 1979, and in the early 1980s, the Goodsons acquired the Todman heirs’ portion of the company.
Goodson had two children, Jill and Jonathan by his first wife Bluma, and a daughter, Marjorie, by his second wife, Virginia McDavid. In the early 1970s, he married his third wife, Suzanne Waddell, who had once been a guest on What’s My Line?. Goodson also had a brother, Marvin, who was an attorney.