The Gutsiest Game Show Contestants Ever

It doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you earn the respect of Americans everywhere.

No Pregnant Pausing Here

Trae Patton/NBC/Getty Images

Even though Deal or No Deal is a game of sheer luck, audiences loved watching exuberant—and then super-pregnant—Jessica Robinson become the show’s first $1 million winner, in 2008. As the game progressed, Robinson ignored the banker’s settlement offers and opened suitcase after suitcase, ultimately winning the jackpot. Her catchphrase: “I got Texas guts, y’all!”

The Price Is ... Precise!

On September 22, 2008, Las Vegas weatherman Terry Kniess entered The Price Is Right hall of fame when he became the first contestant in the show’s 38-year daytime history to name the exact price of his Showcase: $23,743.

Jeopardy! Genius

Everybody loves a good comeback, which is why we adore Leonard Cooper. After sitting in last place for most of a 2013 Teen Jeopardy!, Cooper turned it around when he wagered a risky $18,000 from his total of $18,200 and won the Daily Double. Heading into Final Jeopardy with the most money, Cooper was presented with this clue: “On June 6, 1944, he said, ‘The eyes of the world are upon you.’ ” The other two contestants answered incorrectly, and so did Cooper. But knowing that he couldn’t lose, he wagered $0 and wrote the best Jeopardy response of all time: “Who is some guy in Normandy. But I just won $75,000!”

Content continues below ad

Wheel of Whoa

Though there were 27 letters needed to solve Wheel of Fortune’s seven-word phrase, all Caitlin Burke needed was one. After revealing an L on the board, the New York fashion magazine editor asked a bewildered Pat Sajak if she could solve it. The 2010 winning phrase: “I’ve got a good feeling about this.”

Laughing Lifeline

Not many people could keep it as cool as John Carpenter did in 1999 when he faced the final question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? asking which U.S. president appeared on the TV series Laugh-In. Opting for his Phone-a-Friend lifeline to call his dad, Carpenter simply said: “I don’t really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna win the million dollars.” Then he gave the winning answer: Richard Nixon.

View as Slideshow

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.