January 11, 1999 12:00 AM

TV pioneer Allen Funt, who created and hosted the hit show “Candid Camera” and built it into a nearly 50-year career for himself, died Sunday at his home in northern California from complications of a stroke. Funt, who gained fame as host of “Candid Microphone” in 1947, was still overseeing “Candid Camera” up until 1993, when he suffered a serious stroke. He also produced feature-length films (including 1969’s “What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?”), movie shorts, three books and seven record albums, nearly all centering on the concept of the hidden camera.

  • “I asked him once what he considered his proudest achievement,” said his son Peter Funt (one of Allen’s five children, from two marriages), who hosts the latest TV incarnation of “Candid Camera.” The elder Funt replied: “To be able to go almost anywhere in the world and have people say, ‘Thanks, Allen, you made us smile.’ ”

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