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Todman at left with Mark Goodson and Johnny Roventini for the radio version of What's My Line? in 1952.
William Selden Todman
July 31, 1916
New York City, United States
|Died||July 29, 1979 (aged 62)|
New York City, United States
|Alma mater||Johns Hopkins University (B.A., 1938)|
|Known for||TV game shows and Goodson-Todman Productions|
|Frances Holmes Burson|
William Selden Todman (July 31, 1916 – July 29, 1979) was an American television producer and personality born in New York City. He produced many of television's longest running shows with business partner Mark Goodson, with whom he created Goodson-Todman Productions.
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Todman was the son of a Wall Street accountant, Frederick S. Todman, CPA, whose accounting firm was known as Frederick S. Todman & Co. and for many years was located at 111 Broadway, downtown Manhattan. The firm represented some of the United States biggest companies, including The New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, Polaroid, Eastman Kodak, Chase Manhattan Bank, and others. Frederick S. Todman lectured in post-World War II Japan as part of that country's economic reconstruction and wrote several quintessential books on Wall Street Accounting. Bill Todman's brother, Howard, was vice president and treasurer for Goodson-Todman Productions.
Todman teamed up with Mark Goodson for radio shows. According to radio historian J. David Goldin, among their early work together was the show Treasury Salute, a program syndicated by the Treasury Department that honored military members. They later collaborated in producing game shows for radio, then moved into television, where they produced some of the longest-running game shows in history. Their many shows included Beat the Clock, Card Sharks, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, Tattletales, The Price Is Right, To Tell the Truth and What's My Line?.
Although both men created the programs, Todman gradually became less involved with the day-to-day operations of the game show business and moved Goodson-Todman into a bigger business strategy. Todman was responsible for diversifying Goodson-Todman into the newspaper, radio and real estate businesses. The television business was lucrative but not nearly as much as the other businesses in which Todman invested, which earned millions. Goodson continued to work on game shows while Todman expanded the company. It is believed that Goodson-Todman would never have survived the roller coaster of the television business, including the slow period for game shows in the late 1960s had Todman not been aggressive in expanding the company into other ventures.
Todman died two days before his 63rd birthday on July 29, 1979, in New York City as a result of a heart condition. Goodson-Todman game shows that were still running at the time continued to be billed as "A Mark Goodson -- Bill Todman Production". In the early 1980s, Mark Goodson acquired the Todman heirs' share of the company. Child's Play, which premiered in 1982, was the first show to be billed as simply "A Mark Goodson Television Production". The Goodson-Todman library of game shows is now part of FremantleMedia.