Mark L. Walberg
Antiques Roadshow Host. Local Funny Man. On-Air Chameleon
- Written byHeather David
Game show host and TV personality Mark L. Walberg has a simple approach to show business. “It’s good to not have a frame of reference, so you can invent something that might actually be really great,” he says. This mantra has kept the South Carolina native working for the last 20 years.
It all started for the 49-year-old here in the Valley. After college, Mark headed west with a performing arts troupe and landed here. He married his wife, Robbi, and the couple settled in Sherman Oaks.
One of Mark’s first gigs was an entry-level job at Dick Clark Productions. He spent a couple years learning the ins and outs of production, essentially giving up his dream of being on camera. Then one day, the audience warm-up act for Golden Greats, a program featuring musical performances, didn’t show. The host, Dick Clark himself, called for “the funny guy in the office to come out and handle the warm-up.”
That guy happened to be Mark, who didn’t skip a beat. “I had no jokes. I was funny and just ended up connecting with the audience,” he explains. “That first day came as natural to me as anything I’ve ever done.”
Other producers took notice. Mark quickly became a popular audience performer for shows all over town. He eventually ended up hosting his own talk show and several reality shows including Temptation Island.
Mark’s main focus nowadays is PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, which travels the country with antiques experts appraising items brought in by everyday people. Before he got the job, show executives asked him why he’d be a good host. Mark, who’s never owned any kind of collection in his life, replied, “I have no idea! I know about as much about antiques as a lot of your audience, but I’m a curious student, so I can learn along with them.”
And he has. Eight years later Mark’s still hosting the show that draws in nearly 11 million viewers a week. Fans often see him and can’t resist. “I get questions like, ‘My mother has this vintage watch …’ I say, ‘I’m just a TV guy. I have no idea what it’s worth!’”
Still, he appreciates the gesture. “I know I’m hitting the right note with viewers when they come up and just start talking,” the father of two says, adding “That familiarity is great, because I’m playing myself. If I’m doing it right, they should feel comfortable. That’s when I know I’m doing my job.”
Mark’s Priceless Finds
11239 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
“I’ve just gotten into this type of yoga. I love going in there and just being quiet for 90 minutes.”
Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop
14115 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks
“Now that I’m a yogi, I eat healthy. So I have given up their amazing French toast for a vegetarian omelet with egg whites.” $13
Los Angeles Ballet Academy
16422 Ventura Blvd., Encino
“My daughter dances at the studio, and I’m there literally every day. Those dancers are the real deal.”
Most of us remember Johnnie Cochran as the “if the glove doesn’t fit,
you must acquit” attorney who cleared O.J. Simpson of murder charges. But for one young law clerk during the early ‘70s, the swashbuckling lawyer was about much more than one notorious verdict.
Written by Arnold Barry Gold | Illustrated by christine georgdiades