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IRS Worker Won The Million Dollars, But His "Phone A Friend" Was Even More Iconic

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Perhaps the most popular game show of its time, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire ran for 10 years and gave us something to watch every night.

I was rather young when the show aired, so after the $100 question I was pretty much down for the count. But there are a few episodes that I absolutely remember watching.

John Carpenter's epic run on the show is one of those episodes.

The Massachusetts native appeared on Millionaire in November of 1999. An IRS agent, he was originally uninterested in even watching the game show, but one evening at a friend's house he decided to tune in.

Carpenter says he found the higher-tiered questions "not to be any more difficult" than the lower-tiered ones, so he called the Millionaire hotline, which is how people became contestants. Carpenter answered all those questions correctly, and two days later he was on the show.

Carpenter "cruised right through those first fourteen questions," according to then-host Regis Philbin. The calm, cool, and collected contestant didn't use any of his lifelines, which at the time included Ask the Audience, Phone a Friend, and 50-50.

However, when Carpenter got to the final, million-dollar question, he decided to use one his lifelines. Everyone figured it was to get help with the answer, but it was something much more special.

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