After auditioning for the show last August in Tulsa, Christy flew to New York for the "Millionaire" taping. She started in the hot seat on Wednesday, May 7, and continued on Thursday, May 8. She breezed through the first seven questions without using any lifelines, but ran into trouble at the $8,000 mark, with a query about gymnasium equipment ("Often found in health clubs, an `erg' machine simulates which of these activities?") After using her "Ask the Audience" and 50/50 lifelines, Christy correctly answered C) Rowing.
She used her last lifeline to "Phone-A-Friend" regarding a World War II-era treaty between Germany and the USSR, only to have time run out before getting the answer. An educated guess earned her $16,000 and the opportunity to return Thursday and continue her pursuit of the grand prize.
Christy begins Thursday's million-dollar climb at $32,000, with the daunting task of facing the remaining questions with no lifelines. She easily navigates through the next five questions, which deal with such diverse topics as the musical "Fiddler on the Roof," Amtrak's Coast Starlight train route, Nancy Drew novels and a little-known California fish called the grunion.
At $500,000, Christy pauses to consider the question "In 1957, Jorn Utzon won an international competition to design what architectural landmark?" With the tension mounting, she goes out on a limb, correctly guessing B) Sydney Opera House, and proceeds to the final, million-dollar question: "Who did artist Grant Wood use as the model for the farmer in his classic painting `American Gothic'?" A) Traveling salesman B) Local sheriff C) His dentist or D) His butcher.
Christy wastes no time. With a little smile on her lips, she explains that, when living in Washington, D.C., she had played the role of the farmer's wife in an on-stage performance. She answers definitively: "That was his sister ... but the farmer was his dentist. `C' -- and that's my final answer!" Screams erupt from the studio audience as Vieira announces, "We have our first woman as a millionaire!"
Christy put herself through college at the age of 42. She worked three jobs while raising her two kids -- a daughter, a freshman in college, and a son, a high school sophomore -- as a single mom, and made the dean's or president's list every semester. Her dedication paid off: she now works at Tulsa's Carver Middle School as an English teacher.
She brought a bit of home with her to New York as a good luck charm. "Before I left, the students made a banner and taped it up in the hall, and there must be 300 signatures on it, from kids all over the school." Christy packed it and taped it up on the wall of her hotel room for good luck. She also paused mid-play to send greetings to the kids back home: "Hello Carver Middle School -- go Wildcats!"
Christy comments, "This is a life-changer! As a teacher it would take me nearly 40 years to earn this much money." To Vieira, she notes that, "This makes my life a whole lot easier. I can do things like maybe have a housekeeper once a month ... a yard man ... do some landscaping ... trips with my kids." For herself, she'd like to realize a dream by taking off some time and working on an archaeological dig.
However, she won't give up her day job. "I'll definitely keep teaching, because I love my job and my students, but I'll be doing it in a much cuter car!""Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," hosted by Emmy-winning broadcaster Meredith Vieira, airs Monday through Friday in national syndication. Check local listings or www.millionairetv.com for time and station. Note: A photo is available at URL: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?pw.050803/bb10