Who wants to be a millionaire?
Mark Pagliarulo does.
And the 49-year-old trivia expert gets the opportunity to pursue that magical amount of money when he appears on the popular television game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” Thursday and Friday. The show, which is hosted by Chris Harrison, airs on WCVB-TV Channel 5 at 12:30 p.m.
Pagilarulo, a Revere native who is a regular at the Lynnway Sports Center, will be a guest of honor at a party Friday at 8 p.m. at the bowling establishment and sports bar on the Lynnway. LSC owner Sean Crowley said both episodes of the show will be aired and he is excited to host a gathering in Pagliarulo’s honor.
Pagliarulo has enjoyed trivia questions and game shows since childhood.
“I’ve been a trivial buff my whole life,” said Pagliarulo. “Back in the days of Trivial Pursuit, it got to the point where people wouldn’t play the game with me. My mother [Margaret] was a huge game show fan and I’ve always been a big fan of game shows.”
Pagliarulo said his mother purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias and he would read them cover to cover. “That’s where the knowledge sponge thing comes from,” he said.
The road to the “Millionaire” game show began when his wife, Eileen, suggested that he take “this useless knowledge and make some money from it.”
“I first auditioned for the show in 2013,” said Pagliarulo, a resident of Salem. “It’s a three-step process. First you take an open test that is timed. Then you sit down with a TV production person and do a quick interview. Next, you do a videotaped interview and play a sample game and that is what determines their decision.”
Pagliarulo was scheduled to appear on the last show of the season but time ran out before he made it to the contestant’s seat.
“My heart just sank,” said Pagliarulo. “I just missed being on the show. It was a huge disappointment. So I went home and licked my wounds.”
Two years later in June, 2015, Pagliarulo was invited to participate in a second audition. He received a call from producers in August for a bucket list-themed “Millionaire” show and he was selected.
“I’m the last contestant on Thursday (to
day) and the first contestant on Friday,” said Pagliarulo.
He is not allowed to say how he fares on the show or whether he walks off with the $1 million top prize.
“I can say being on the show was a fantastic experience,” said Pagliarulo. “I had a wonderful time. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
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