Take a Guess: What’s My Name?

What’s My Line? panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, far left, is my favorite, and I’d guess that she’s smirking because she’s figured out the guest’s identity but is giving Steve Allen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf a chance to catch up. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Next week’s SMK is like nothing you’ve seen here. I’m going to introduce you to a person who made a significant contribution to American arts and letters, but has gone uncredited or barely acknowledged.

I don’t want to spoil anything in advance, but I’ll offer you three clues: 

  1. You may have this contribution in your home. 

  2. This person has never been the subject of a full-length biography.

  3. There's a connection to Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in a president’s cabinet.

I should leave it on this maddening note, but I’ve spent too many pandemic nights watching What’s My Line?, a game show that ran from 1950 to 1967 in which celebrity panelists try to guess a contestant's occupation. Ask me open ended questions below and I’ll offer clues throughout the week. 

I’ll send a signed paperback edition of You Never Forget Your First to the first person who gets the person’s identity right — an offer I’m fairly certain I won’t have to make good on. Prove me wrong!