October 12, 1937
James MacKrell (born October 12, 1937) is an American television personality, best known for emceeing television game shows such as Celebrity Sweepstakes and The Game Game. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Published variations of his name include James MacKrell, Jim McKrell, and James McKrell.
Jim McKrell's broadcast career has spanned five decades and has included every aspect of communications from local and network commercials to hosting specials to guest starring in popular series and features. McKrell was the host and star of the hit NBC game show Celebrity Sweepstakes. He also hosted The Game Game, Quiz Kids, plus several unsold game show pilots. He also was the announcer of the game shows Sweethearts in 1988 and Couch Potatoes in 1989. McKrell's career has taken him to all areas of television and movies. His theatrical credits include such memorable films as Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977), Albert Brooks' Defending Your Life (1991) Semi-Tough (1978), Teen Wolf (1985) with Michael J. Fox and Harry's War (1981). McKrell also played TV news reporter Lew Landers in two movies directed by Joe Dante, The Howling (1981) and Gremlins (1984), and has had guest starring roles on television in Dallas, Soap, Moonlighting and The Golden Girls among over 40 others. His made-for-TV movies include Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A. (1977), Walk Don't Run and A Reason to Live (1985). McKrell was also a regular on General Hospital, Capitol, Generations and Days of Our Lives.
As a performer/writer/producer, McKrell has made advertising a major focal point of his career. He has been corporate spokesman for giants such as Chevrolet and Disney. He has starred in spots for household names such as Whirlpool, Fiber Con, Serta, Goodyear, Mattel, Oster, Radio Shack, Entex, and more. He also has appeared as a spokesman for industrial and corporate films for Toyota, Exxon, Xerox, Shell, Coca-Cola, and others. For 14 years, McKrell was the corporate host for the National Easter Seals Telethon, and he wrote and produced several projects for ACTA Communications in Chicago. He has also done a good share of television informercials.
A veteran of radio, his credits include some of the top radio stations in the nation including KMPC and KFI Los Angeles, WMEX in Boston, WNOE in New Orleans, KBOX in Dallas, KXOL in Fort Worth (under the on-air name, Jimmy Kaye, where he worked with longtime friend George Carlin), and WFUN Miami. In recent years, he hosted a top rated talk show in Houston, Texas on KKTL, and was a news anchor at KHTV Channel 39 in Houston.
MacKrell published his first fictional novel, Down from the Mountain: the Story of Bandit and the Wolf. According to press releases, "It is an action-packed novel as far sweeping as the big skies of Montana, where it all takes place. Jim MacKrell salutes the resolve of the American rancher and the animals that work 'loyally' alongside to provide the very essence of our rural way of life."
McKrell and his wife Cathy have four children together.