As the beloved game show Hollywood Squares celebrates its 50th anniversary, host Peter Marshall exclusively reveals behind-the-scenes secrets with Closer Weekly.

As the host of the show from 1966 to 1980, Peter was the ostensible star — but he reveals that he didn’t get the most fan mail. “I was pretty cute, and Paul Lynde was obviously gay, and he got all these romantic letters from women,” Peter recalls to Closer with a laugh.

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Peter on Hollywood Squares in 1980.

It was this kind of unpredictable zaniness that made Squares such a beloved hit. “We would have Mel Brooks, Jonathan Winters or Buddy Hackett, and they would tell jokes on commercial breaks,” Peter says. “It was a very entertaining evening.”

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The host tells Closer that George C. Scott was “an enigma — very difficult, but never mean.” And says he had mixed feelings about the Gabor sisters: “Zsa Zsa would demand a driver and her own makeup person, but Eva would just waltz in.”

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Peter, Paul, Charley Weaver and Rose Marie.

Sometimes Squares even made someone a star. “Burt Reynolds was not very well-known when he started the show,” Peter says of the Dan August star. “He was so cute on Squares that The Tonight Show hired him and he did the Cosmo centerfold and all of a sudden he was this huge star. He was a really good guy.”

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Now 90, Peter tells Closer that he looks back on his Squares days with bittersweet emotion. “I think of all the fun we had, and most of these people aren’t still with us,” he says. “It kind of breaks my heart.”

For the full interview with Peter Marshall, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!