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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant used lifeline just to say ‘coldest sentence ever spoken’ before winning $1,000,000

Gregory Robinson

| Last updated 

An IRS tax agent who made Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? history used his lifeline to call his Dad and deliver the ‘coldest sentence ever spoken’.

Back in November, 1999, John Carpenter took part in the first season of the American version of the long-running game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Hosted by the late Regis Philbin, the quiz show includes three ‘lifeline’ options to help contestants answer particularly tricky questions, with the most popular option giving contestants a chance to ‘phone-a-friend’.

Carpenter managed to make it through the game without using any lifelines, which is an impressive feat in itself. But that all changed when it came to the final, million dollar question.

John Carpenter appeared to know the answer straight away. Credit: ABC/@millionaire_UK/TikTok.
John Carpenter appeared to know the answer straight away. Credit: ABC/@millionaire_UK/TikTok.

Carpenter was asked to name which U.S. President had appeared on the TV series Laugh-In, with the four options being Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

That’s when Carpenter chose to use a lifeline, but not for the reason you may think…

In a move that exudes nothing but confidence, Carpenter called his dad who answered the phone and was shocked to hear what his son had to say.


Carpenter, who was all smiles, teased: “I don’t really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna win the million dollars.”

Talk about dropping your own spoiler alert!

The live audience reacted with laughter and applause and the whole scene is a sight to behold.

When you watch the clip closely, you can actually see the exact moment the contestant knew he had won the game – and therefore becoming the first U.S. contestant to do so – and it happens before the four options are shown.

John Carpenter won $1,000,000. Credit: ABC/@millionaire_UK/TikTok.
John Carpenter won $1,000,000. Credit: ABC/@millionaire_UK/TikTok.

Most of us probably don’t know the answer to the million dollar question, so, in case you were wondering, it’s President Nixon. Carpenter obviously chose the right man and became the first ever top-prize winner in the entire Who Wants to Be a Millionaire franchise which includes dozens of international versions.

More than 23 years have gone by since the IRS agent made game show history and after his winning moment went viral on TikTok, social media is now calling him a ‘living legend’ and ‘iconic’.

One TikTok user replied: “Coldest sentence ever spoken.”


While another social media replied: “What a flex.”

A third user commented: “Bro just smiled," and a fourth wrote: “You can tell exactly when he realised he was going to win.”

Well done John, wherever you are now!

Topics: TV and Film, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Gregory Robinson
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