A Nervous Man Won $20K On Family Feud. Then Steve Harvey Uncovered The Truth About His Life

Image: YouTube/Steve TV Show

Comedian Steve Harvey has seen many a Family Feud contestant come and go in his 17 years at the helm of the TV institution. But one particular participant has stuck in the 61-year-old’s memory. Apparently, Harvey was hosting when a team captain appeared on the show and was both incredibly nervous and perspiring a lot.

Image: via US Magazine

And while being quizzed on national TV can naturally be quite a nerve-wracking experience, this man was nevertheless sweating so hard it seemed like there was something wrong with him. The contestant played for three days without winning any money, and his physical condition seemed to deteriorate more and more. But when Harvey talked to the man after recording had finished, the host was shocked when he heard the truth.

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The object of Family Feud is for participants to guess the most popular responses to survey questions posed to 100 random members of the public. Two sets of family teams compete against one another to win prizes and money for their answers. And while the show produces some funny exchanges and humorous observations, the contestants still aim to win big as well as have a good time. The luckiest Family Feud players can walk away with thousands of dollars as well as expensive items such as cars.

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Family Feud itself, meanwhile, has been around since 1976; it was originally presented by the late comedy actor Richard Dawson, then a whole host of other celebrities after that. But at the turn of the century, the program’s ratings were starting to significantly drop. When Steve Harvey took over as host in 2010, though, the popular comedian, actor and author gave the show a whole new lease of life. In fact, the revitalized Family Feud quickly became one of the top five game shows in the U.S.

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And there have been many, many memorable moments on Family Feud down the years. Usually they are derived from the inability of luckless contestants to guess the simplest of answers – or those same participants unwittingly giving a dirty answer to an innocent question. In the internet age, “Family Feud Fails” have become an increasingly popular phenomenon online, and more than a few of the clips have gone viral. But in mid 2016 a short piece of Family Feud-related footage of a different kind came to public attention.

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On August 1, 2016, a new video was posted to Steve Harvey’s YouTube channel. The clip was titled “Steve’s Unforgettable Family Feud Moment.” Many users of the video sharing site may have been expecting the upload to contain a humorous anecdote, but what transpired was far from laughter-inducing. Instead, Harvey talked about his unexpected encounter with the Family Feud contestant who had been sweating and nervous.

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In the clip, filmed in front of a TV audience, Harvey reminisces about an episode from his time on the show. “This man was on Family Feud,” Harvey recalls. “He was the captain [of his team] and he was sweating profusely, to the point where we had to change his shirt. And you know, I was trying to joke with him, but he was sweating too hard.” And that might have suggested that something was up, as excessive perspiration can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem.

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Sweating a lot can also be a side effect of pharmaceutical medication; whatever the cause of the player’s condition, though, host Harvey was becoming concerned about his guest. The contestant’s run of bad luck as the show was being filmed was not helping, either. “He had played three days and didn’t win the money,” Harvey explains in the video, adding, “He was just a wreck.” Obviously, not winning money on a game show is disappointing, but this team captain seemed to be taking it desperately hard.

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Eventually, the contestant’s luck changed, though, and he and his family scooped a cash prize of $20,000. But apparently the man’s reaction wasn’t what anyone on the show had expected. “He just fell on his knees and wouldn’t stop crying,” Harvey explains to the crowd in the video. And while obviously $20,000 is a lot of money, Harvey thought it unusual for the winner to be quite so overcome.

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So, the host decided to talk to the guest after Family Feud filming had wrapped that day. To that end, Harvey approached the contestant and casually asked him why he was so emotional about winning. The man gave him a straight answer which shocked the presenter to the core, however. And in the clip, Harvey tells his audience about the moment of truth, “He said, ‘Steve, I’m terminally ill. I’ve got three months to live, and because of my illness I can’t get insurance. I need this money for my family.’”

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The crowd in the footage is heard gasping at this revelation, but Harvey isn’t finished. The host reveals that he had felt so bad for the contestant in that instant that he’d given him some money out of his own pocket, too. In addition to the prize money, Harvey donated $25,000 – more than the man had actually won in the first place.

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But despite humble beginnings, Steve Harvey is a very rich man. As of May 2017, according to financial website Celebrity Net Worth, Harvey has an extremely impressive $120 million to his name after liabilities are factored in. A lot of that fortune has come from his work in Hollywood and being a successful author; some of that wealth, however, is from his Family Feud paychecks. So, it may not come as a surprise that the host was happy to give a little back, especially when you learn a bit more about the man.

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Indeed, Harvey is no stranger to acts of charity. In fact, he knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of good deeds, too. Back in the 1980s, when Harvey was a hustling stand-up, he found himself homeless. He would sleep in his car in between comedy gigs and wash at gas stations or public swimming pools. Only the kindness of others helped the struggling comedian out of his predicament, then.

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Subsequently, Steve Harvey and his wife, Marjorie, have actually established their own charitable foundation. And the organization’s website contains a statement of intent. It reads, “The mission of The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation is to ensure that the needs of the whole child are met through the development of programs and support of community-based organizations that foster excellence in the areas of health, education and social well-being within urban and ethnically diverse communities.”

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And Harvey is also a man of faith. A devout Christian, he actually credits God with helping him get off the streets. Specifically, one day while the comedian was washing in a public bathroom, he started praying. “I told God if he let me make it, when I got there I’d tell everybody how I did it,” Harvey told Christian current affairs website The Gospel Herald in 2015.

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What’s more, Harvey has also spoken to the media about wanting to do important things with his success. “I’ve just gotten to a place where it’s got to be more than jokes,” he told The New York Times in 2010. He added, “I know it sounds corny, but I’m starting really to think about my life in terms of ‘What are they going to say about me?’… The sense of wanting to do something meaningful is upon me now.”

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Harvey’s video anecdote about the dying man has since gone viral, meanwhile, with more than three million views to date. And in the comments below the clip, many admirers complimented the TV personality for his act of compassion. One post read, “What an amazing gesture of kindness and love. Thank you, Steve Harvey for setting an example for all of us. God bless this man and his family.”

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Some commenters also asked if the actual Family Feud clip of the man winning his $20,000 was anywhere online. Unfortunately, though, it would appear that the dying man’s moment of triumph has been lost. After all, that episode was not apparently a key one in Family Feud history. At least, it was not important or memorable in the eyes of the wider audience; only Harvey and the man’s family knew what was going on behind the scenes.

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It is a tragic fact, however, that too many people diagnosed with terminal illnesses in the U.S. often have to rely on the kindness of strangers. True, the majority of the American population benefits from health insurance. This means that should they be struck by serious illness or accident, they won’t have to pay out too much. But for Americans who don’t have health cover, every day can be a source of anxiety – and a medical emergency can be ruinous.

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In recent years, though, people who can’t afford to seek treatment or provide for bereaved families have turned to crowd-funding websites such as GoFundMe. Indeed, in 2015 a study by the personal finance website NerdWallet found that $930 million of the $2 billion that has passed through GoFundMe since its inception five years previous was related to American medical problems.

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But, worryingly, the NerdWallet report discovered that only one in ten of these campaigns managed to hit their financial targets. So, in light of this fact, the unnamed Family Feud contestant was fortunate to receive such a relatively large amount to help take care of his family. Hopefully, though, a time will come when charity from the likes of multi-millionaire Harvey is a supplementary kindness and not a necessity.

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Meanwhile, the gameshow Wheel of Fortune has also seen its fair share of memorable contestants. Take, for instance, the episode when one player left both audiences and host Pat Sajak baffled when she started choosing weird letters. However, fans on social media then noticed a heartwarming method to her apparent madness.

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When it comes to quiz shows, competitiveness is everything and charity is often left at home. So, when this Wheel of Fortune contestant made peculiar plays in the final speed round, many were stumped by her strange behavior. It was only later, in fact, that fans guessed the heartwarming truth behind her unusual actions.

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As part of Veterans Week 2015, Wheel of Fortune’s producers decided to do something special. In honor of the contribution made by America’s service men and women, the show would have a military theme. In addition, the week’s episodes would only feature current and former combatants as guests.

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Following a smooth sailing episode on Monday, audiences sat down expecting more of the same on the following day. Indeed, the November 10, 2015, episode started much like any other. Host Pat Sajak introduced veterans Steve, Troy and Nura, and the game proceeded as normal.

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Within a few rounds, it became clear who was going to win the game. In fact, by the episode’s penultimate round, Nura had swept the board and secured $13,970 in the bank. In contrast, Troy had bagged just $4,300, and poor Steve hadn’t managed to win anything at all.

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As the episode entered its last speed round, Nura was the definite fan favorite. After Troy correctly guessed “T” in the two-letter clue word, audiences turned their attention to Nura, expecting another sensible play. However, what she said next left them more than a little confused.

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With complete assuredness, she uttered the least likely letter possible: “Z.” Naturally, audience members and fellow contestants alike were baffled. For example, Steve – smiling for the cameras just a minute earlier – furrowed his brow and stared at Nura in utter disbelief.

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Sajak also couldn’t believe his ears. “Say that again for me,” he requested. However, rather than realize her apparent mistake, Nura instead repeated her original answer. “Did you say ‘Z?’” the host asked once again. Nonetheless, the contestant remained completely unfazed. “As in ‘Zulu,’” she said firmly. “Z.”

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“You did say ‘Z.’ Okay.” Still visibly shocked, Sajak turned to face the board, which – to nobody’s surprise – failed to light up. Brushing off this answer as a momentary lapse of reason, the host turned to Steve, who rightly guessed the letter “R.” Following this, Troy correctly called “S” before it was Nura’s turn again.

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This turned out to be another disaster as, although she didn’t suggest a bizarre letter again, Nura simply declined to answer at all. However, she was at least able to come up with a letter in the next round. As a bemused Sajak turned to face her, Nura decided upon another bewildering choice. “Q,” the contestant cried out.

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By now, Nura’s antics had started to catch on with viewers and the Twittersphere was full of fans expressing their disbelief. “Is Nura drunk?” wondered Mike H. Meanwhile, after the contestant made another weird choice, a confused Breanna Sooter asked, “WHY IS THIS LADY GUESSING Z, X, AND Q FOR THIS PUZZLE?”

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However, the best quotes of all were reserved for host Sajak, who responded to Nura’s strange guesses with barely contained frustration. Indeed, before the guest’s penultimate round, the exasperated host muttered, “I wonder what letter Nura will call?” Moreover, she certainly didn’t disappoint. “X,” she answered.

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As with her previous guesses, Nura subsequently failed to see a single letter light up this time around. What’s more, her final turn yielded nothing either, as she stood awkwardly in silence waiting for the timer to run out. All in all, it was a curious performance from someone who had been playing so well just minutes earlier.

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In the end, it was Steve who walked away the round’s victor. Having correctly guessing the phrase “following footprints,” he claimed his first win of the night as well as $6,400 to take home. However, while Steve may have been the eventual winner of the round, it was Nura who gained the biggest reaction.

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Following the eventful segment, Sajak grilled his guest about her intriguing picks. Perhaps inevitably, her reply was cryptic: “That’s what I saw.” However, the host was clearly unconvinced by her explanation, stating, “That was an unsatisfactory answer, but she’s not under oath.”

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But although she lost the round, Nura had still done well enough in the early parts of the game to proceed to the final. Furthermore, her poor performance allowed Steve to leave the show with some sort of consolation prize. Suddenly, fans began to wonder if she had been playing a different game entirely.

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While she didn’t confirm anybody’s suspicions, Nura – knowing that she had already won – seemed to be playing tactically. Indeed, very much in the spirit of Veterans Week, she appeared to be sharing the spoils between her fellow combatants. By stepping back from the round, she had let another contestant go home with money in his pocket.

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Almost immediately, those who’d been following the show expressed their admiration via social media. “Just saw the classiest move on Wheel of Fortune,” tweeted Jeremy Pond. “Nura threw the final puzzle to let a fellow military person win it. Much respect.”

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As a result, the episode had turned into a particularly memorable instalment. In fact, for many viewers, this was the first time that they’d witnessed such a charitable act on a game show. “Way to go Nura!” wrote Retro Rager. “Never saw someone throw a round so everyone could win some money.”

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Moreover, despite her sketchy performance in the preceding segment, Nura was back to her best when it came time for the last round. However, even with her full attention, the veteran was unable to guess the final puzzle: “by appointment.” Consequently, she lost out on the $33,000 grand prize.

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However, the star player was happy with the near $14,000 she’d already won. Clapping and smiling at the end of the show, Nura exclaimed, “I’m going to Belize!” As the episode reached its end, Sajak congratulated his guest before telling her, “You made us all happy.” Thanks to Nura’s unselfish actions, his words couldn’t have been more appropriate.

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