Mr. Center Square: Paul Lynde's Strange Celebrity Story
By | June 11, 2020
Television in the 1960s and ‘70s wouldn’t be the same without Paul Lynde, the beloved, sassy comic actor who was best known for his work as the center square on Hollywood Squares and Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. But what exactly did Paul Lynde do? Aside from being a the leading sarcastic voice of the airwaves, Lynde carved out a space for himself as the least-convincingly closeted gay man in television. Lynde wasn’t a great actor, but he was so funny that he created his own source of gravity, figuratively speaking. He was a camp icon and someone who knew how to make everyone laugh whether they were in on the joke or not.
Lynda grew up in Ohio but had his sights set on New York
It’s hard to imagine that someone as camp as Paul Lynda came from Mount Vernon, Ohio, or maybe that’s exactly the kind of place that breeds over the top characters. Lynde was the fifth of six children born to a family who ran a meat market, and throughout high school he had problems with his weight, something that followed him the rest of his life.
After both of his parents passed away when he was only 19 years old he was on his own and free to follow whatever life he wanted. Lynde set his sights on the theater.
He studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, before moving to New York City in 1948 after graduating from college. Upon arriving in the big apple he worked wherever he could while moonlighting as a stand up comic at Number One Fifth Avenue, a supper club. He didn’t like the audience that he had to perform for so he gave up club work after that.