Herb Stempel
American game show contestatnt
Herb Stempel
Herbert Milton "Herb" Stempel is a television game show contestant and subsequent whistle blower on the fraudulent nature of the industry, in what became known as the quiz show scandals. His rigged six-week appearance as a winning contestant on the 1950s show Twenty One ended in an equally rigged defeat by Columbia University teacher and literary scion Charles Van Doren.
Biography
Herb Stempel's personal information overview.
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As He Turns 75, Thoughts on the Legacy of Robert Redford - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Quiz Show (1994)- In the mid 1950s, working-class Jew Herb Stempel (John Turturro) is the reigning champion of a popular TV quiz show called "Twenty One," and it appears no one can beat him. Thinking the public's grown bored with Stempel,
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Google News article
7 questions on quizzes - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Contestant Herb Stempel testified that he had been ordered by producers to answer incorrectly the question: "What film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1955?" But what was the correct answer? University Challenge has pitted bright
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What Shoulda Won? Best Picture Academy Award – 1994 - Big Hollywood
Google News - almost 6 years
“Quiz Show” – I love the part when Herb Stempel cranes his neck to see what's going on in the other soundproof booth, CLONKS his head on the glass, then checks-real-quick to make sure no one in the studio audience saw him. We saw ya, ya sponge-memoried
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Google News article
MOVIES: CRITIC'S CHOICE
NYTimes - about 16 years
THE 1950's have never looked more elegant -- not to mention bright, shiny and new -- than in Robert Redford's QUIZ SHOW (1994), the story of the decade's television quiz show scandals as experienced by two very different contestants. Ralph Fiennes is glamorous and complex as Charles Van Doren, the gold-boy son and nephew of prominent academics who
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NYTimes article
THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; At Toys 'R' Us, the holiday rush is more important than ever.
NYTimes - over 18 years
THE advertising that promotes Toys ''R'' Us Inc. for the holiday shopping season is always crucial for the company, the nation's largest toy retailer, which rings up 50 percent of its annual business in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This year, though, as Toys ''R'' Us battles a sales slump, the stakes confronting the chain are as high as the
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NYTimes article
A Leading Man With a Twist
NYTimes - over 21 years
Sid Lidz, the Centerpiece of Diane Keaton's new movie "Unstrung Heroes," seems the quintessential John Turturro role, one that allows him to play both ethnic and eccentric. Lidz is a Jewish inventor of odd household gadgets who operates on his own frequency and whose peculiarities are exceeded only by two crazier brothers (Michael Richards and
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NYTimes article
THEATER REVIEW: NIGHT AND HER STARS; A Different Take On Quiz Scandals
NYTimes - almost 22 years
A little compassion, please, for Richard Greenberg. The very gifted author of "Eastern Standard" and "The Extra Man" has had the misfortune to bring to New York an elegant, didactic play about the quiz show scandals of the 1950's, eight months after the opening of Robert Redford's elegant, didactic movie about exactly the same subject. Despite a
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NYTimes article
FILM VIEW; At the Cineplex It's Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
NYTimes - about 22 years
FORGET THE THEORY OF relativity. As the new movie "I.Q." tells you, what really matters about Albert Einstein (played by Walter Matthau) is that he is a great little matchmaker, able to see at a glance that his brilliant mathematician niece, Catherine (Meg Ryan), is secretly pining for a local mechanic named Ed (Tim Robbins). Ed is not a stupid
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NYTimes article
'QUIZ SHOW'; A Case For Clouseau
NYTimes - over 22 years
To the Editor: As Mr. Bernstein points out, cracking the quiz-show case hardly needed Sherlock Holmes; Inspector Clouseau could have handled it. Coming across the contestant Herb Stempel required just a short trip to a newsstand. He had confessed the whole story of the rigging of "Twenty-One" in The New York Journal-American. The fraud was first
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NYTimes article
FILM VIEW; What We Don't Know About TV Could Kill Us
NYTimes - over 22 years
LATE IN THE MEDIA-CRAZED murder spree that is "Natural Born Killers," Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) point their guns at Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), the unctuous Australian star of a tabloid television show. That series, "American Maniacs," has helped make Mickey and Mallory pop-star murderers. Now Mickey turns on
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NYTimes article
Flawed Characters In the Public Eye, Past and Present
NYTimes - over 22 years
Paul Attanasio was born in 1959, the same year the quiz show scandal on television stunned and outraged the nation. But Mr. Attanasio, who wrote the script for the film "Quiz Show," speaks of the scandal as if it happened hours ago. "Films only work if they're about us today," said Mr. Attanasio, a Harvard-trained lawyer and former film critic for
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NYTimes article
For $64,000, What Is 'Fiction'?
NYTimes - over 22 years
GIVEN THE CONTESTS OF the 90's, with their spinning wheels and flashing boards, it seems amazing that for a brief time in the 1950's, what seemed like deep knowledge of serious subjects could lead to great wealth and celebrity. An obscure graduate student from Queens named Herb Stempel, for example, briefly became about as celebrated as such
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NYTimes article
Review/Theater; White Knights and Villains In the Quiz-Show Scandals
NYTimes - almost 23 years
Not only is there material for a riveting play in "Night and Her Stars," the new work by Richard Greenberg currently having its world premiere here at the South Coast Repertory, but there is probably material enough for two. Taking as his subject the television quiz show scandals of the 1950's, the playwright, known for his small-cast explorations
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NYTimes article
The Talk of Hollywood; They're Extinct, but They May Rule This Summer
NYTimes - almost 24 years
As private screenings go, the one last Monday afternoon at Universal Studios was definitely a hot ticket. The top executives at the studio as well as Michael Ovitz, the chairman of Creative Artists Agency, trooped into a screening room to watch, for the first time, Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park." The film, about a group of genetically produced
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Herb Stempel
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2008
    Age 81
    In 2008, Charles Van Doren broke his long silence, and in an article in The New Yorker described the overtures Robert Redford's production company made to him to cooperate with the filming of Quiz Show.
    More Details Hide Details He claimed that Barry & Enright Productions staffer Al Freedman was actually responsible for scripting the entire Stempel-Van Doren competition, and rejected the image of Stempel as a penurious CCNY student: In fact, he was a Marines was actually in the U.S. Army veteran married to a woman of some means who once appeared on the set wearing a Persian-lamb coat and was quickly spirited away so that she wouldn't blow his cover. Van Doren wrote that until he viewed WGBH's American Experience documentary The Quiz Show Scandals he was ignorant of the fact that the show had once been honest — at least for one episode — and that: "Herb Stempel was the first to agree to the fix".
  • 1994
    Age 67
    Julian Krainin, who co-produced the film, also co-produced the 1994 feature film Quiz Show, in which Stempel was portrayed by John Turturro.
    More Details Hide Details Stempel actually made an uncredited film debut in that movie, portraying a different contestant being interviewed by the congressional investigator Dick Goodwin, played by Rob Morrow. In spite of being "a little miffed by the portrayal, it was an over-the-top sort of portrayal of me", when Quiz Show was released, Stempel embraced the renewed public interest in him, giving interviews on radio and television (notably appearing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, taped in the same NBC studio Twenty One once occupied), as well as lecturing at some colleges about the quiz scandals. Every time Quiz Show is shown on television, invariably the phone rings and some character at the other end says, 'What picture won the Academy Award in 1955?' — Herb Stempel, 2004
  • THIRTIES
  • 1957
    Age 30
    Stempel later testified to Congress that in February 1957 he had spoken with a reporter from the New York Post, but that paper had the same reservations as the Journal-American.
    More Details Hide Details There were no corroborating witnesses or hard evidence to back up Stempel's accusations, and Enright dismissed them as being rooted in jealousy over Van Doren's success. It took Ed Hilgemeier, a contestant-in-waiting who found a notebook full of answers belonging to Marie Winn, another contestant on the relatively new quiz show, Dotto, airing on CBS, to convince authorities and the Journal-American that Stempel should be taken seriously. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joseph Stone, who directed two grand jury probes into the case, states that Enright described Stempel to him as "a disturbed person and a blackmailer" and denied ever giving Stempel advance questions and answers. Three days after Twenty-One contestant Richard Jackman, a writer from Oneonta, New York, told Stone that he, too, had been coached in advance of his appearance on October 3, Twenty One was canceled. The investigation of the quiz show scandal then began in earnest. Jackman only realized the game was fixed the night he appeared, when the questions he was asked were identical to the ones Enright had reviewed with him in a "practice session" that afternoon.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1956
    Age 29
    This last remark is debatable. Dan Enright has stated that due to the sponsor's displeasure he began to rig the show immediately after the premiere episode debuted on September 12, 1956.
    More Details Hide Details Whether the contestants in the five weeks before Stempel's choreographed October 17 appearance unwittingly received the answers in "practice sessions" the way Richard Jackman described, or were openly coached the same way Stempel was, is unclear. According to Jackman, an earlier contestant than Stempel, Enright was extremely nervous before his appearance on the show and stated, to Jackman's bewilderment: "You are in a position to destroy my career." After Jackman, a struggling author, told Enright he could not continue on a rigged show, Enright tried various types of persuasion and offers of money to persuade him to change his mind. Jackman finally accepted a check for $15,000, and for continuity's sake promised to appear again so he could publicly choose to take his "winnings" and depart at the beginning of the show. Kent Anderson portrays Enright as someone who would make certain his next contestant would cooperate. Enright is described as deliberately targeting Stempel's emotions, as he did with other contestants; leaving no angle overlooked when trying to gain their full participation.
    In 1956, after tuning in to a new program, Twenty One, he was intrigued by the questions and wrote to Dan Enright, the show's producer, asking to be a contestant.
    More Details Hide Details The qualifying trivia test took a grueling three-and-a-half hours; Stempel got 251 out of 363 questions right, which he claims is the highest score ever achieved. At a time when the top five highest rated programs on television were quiz shows, Twenty-One was a mainstay for Barry & Enright Productions and the network. Twenty One took the ultimate step in quiz-show rigging. Cast as though they were actors, every detail carefully orchestrated, the contestants were now partners in the deception. Several weeks later, Enright paid Stempel a visit while his wife was out at the theater and he was babysitting their young son, and posed the fateful question: "How would you like to make $25,000?" Stempel immediately understood the implications; Enright was not going to pay him just for appearing on the show, when he could be easily defeated.
  • 1954
    Age 27
    He married his wife, Toby, in 1954 and returned to CCNY on the G.I. Bill.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1952
    Age 25
    Stempel remained in the Army for the next seven years, attending counterintelligence school in Baltimore, Maryland and serving as "an agent" until 1952, when he began work in the United States Post Office as a clerk.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1944
    Age 17
    Stempel graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in January 1944.
    More Details Hide Details He briefly attended classes at City College of New York (CCNY) before enlisting in the United States Army. He served in the 311th Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division and was on the front lines in Europe for a month before the war ended.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1926
    Born
    Born on December 19, 1926.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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