MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Art James, who was an announcer or host for a dozen TV game shows over three decades, including “Concentration” and “Family Feud Challenge,” has died. He was 74.

James, who lived in Chaska, died Sunday in Palm Springs, Calif., his former wife, Sandra Pietron, said Wednesday. Pietron said he was stricken by a sudden illness and the cause of death was not known.

James worked as an announcer on “Concentration,” which ran from 1958 to 1973 and was NBC’s longest-running game show.

“One of the gentlemen from his Army days was an executive with NBC and asked Art to audition for this new game show, ‘Concentration,’ with Hugh Downs, who needed an announcer,” said his first wife, Jane Hamilton.

“He was nervous as a cat, but he got it,” said Hamilton, who lives in Los Angeles.

“Concentration” contestants tried to match prizes on a board by uncovering two tiles at a time. Some of the prizes were good, such as trips and furniture, but others were gags.

As the players matched the tiles, a word game was revealed on the board, which contestants would have to solve to win the game.

James also worked on shows including “Say When,” “Face the Music” and “Blank Check” before he started his own company, Art James Productions, in the 1990s. The company teaches public speaking and stages game shows that are designed to teach job skills.

Born Arthur Efimchick on Oct. 15, 1929, in Dearborn, Mich., James attended Wayne State University, where he studied business. He worked as an announcer for the Armed Forces Network while he was stationed in Germany after World War II.

James is survived by a son, two daughters and three grandchildren.


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