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First winner of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' used lifeline for last question due to a special reason

He did not use any lifeline throughout the show but decided to use it during the last and final question for a wholesome reason.

First winner of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' used lifeline for last question due to a special reason
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk

On November 19, 1999, millions were glued to their TVs watching the iconic game show, "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," but no one knew it would become one of the most memorable moments in TV history. John Carpenter used a lifeline while answering the final question and it was for a very special reason. The video recently went viral on TikTok posted by Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (@millionaire_uk).

Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk
Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk

Back then, the host of the game show was the late Regis Philbin, who can be seen asking the question, "Which of these UK Presidents appeared on the television series, 'Laugh-In?'" He gave him four options: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Carpenter tells the host immediately, "I would like to call my parents right now. Use my lifeline, call my parents." Philbin asks him about his parents' name, to which he says, "My father, I'll talk to my father." They make the call and Carpenter tells his father, "Hi, dad. I don't really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to win the million dollars." The host also smiles while the audience begins to cheer for him.

Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk
Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk

He continues, "Because the US President who appeared on 'Laugh-In' is Richard Nixon, that's my final answer." Philbin says, "Well, my gosh, what can I say except Debbie you're going to Paris and this is the final answer heard all around the world. He's won a million dollars!" The video is captioned, "The coolest phone-a-friend ever!" People on the platform shared their thoughts about the same. @samantha210942 commented, "John Carpenter is a living legend." @s.pah wrote, "You can see his face light up when he heard Richard Nixon." @autisticwonder0 expressed, "15 questions no-one else has ever been able to do a John Carpenter."

Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk
Image Source: TikTok | @millionaire_uk

Carpenter was a 31-year-old Internal Revenue Service employee from Hamden, Connecticut. On the previous episode of the show, he had answered the first two trivia questions correctly, which gave him the chance to move on to the next day. He answered 13 questions to win a $1 million prize that no other participant had won on the show. 

Carpenter told The Washington Post that the whole experience was a "whirlwind." "It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I'm a little bit of a smartass," Carpenter said. "I look back on it and — well, thank God I was right. It was very surreal, for all I knew, it could have been a big practical joke or something."



He truly doesn't know how he decided to say that line to his dad, but he's amused by how much the scene has made rounds on social media. Even before the host asked the question, Carpenter wanted to use one lifeline so that he didn't seem like an "arrogant j**k," who did not need any help. But when he realized he knew the answer, he just thought of calling his dad and telling him the news.

After taxes, Carpenter got about $600,000 of the prize money. He still works at the IRS and people back then were shocked that he wants to continue his job. "It's a hell of a lot of money, but I live in New England," he said. "If I lived somewhere else, maybe it would be different."

You can follow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (@millionaire_uk) on TikTok for more quiz-related content.

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