And then, when the show brought back its biggest winners to play for charity, won an additional $250,000 - the best of the three people who had won the million to that point.
In my eyes, this makes Mr. Carpenter the reigning King of Awesome for game shows (yes, even over Ken Jennings, scary-good as he is) and arguably, TV in its entirety.
Joe Trela, who became the third person to win the million dollars, and did so while playing the last five questions without any Lifelines.
Not a lot of the audience (or his fellow Celebrity Edition contestants) expected Norm MacDonald to be as good as he was, so imagine their surprise when he gets all the way to $500,000.
And would have won the million if Regis had just stayed out of the way.
Nancy Christy, who became the first (and so far, the only) woman to win the million. To make it even more amazing, she went through the last six questions without any lifelines!
Baseball player Tsuyoshi Shinjo was once on a celebrity edition, and prepared for the show by writing the letters A through D on four sides of a pencil. On the final question for ¥10,000,000, he rolled the pencil on his palm and it turned up C. He mulled it over, then rolled the pencil on the floor — and it turned up C again. He went for it, locking in C and won.
November 24, 2010: Ralf Schnoor reached the €1,000,000 question with his Phone-A-Friend remaining. His face lit up upon seeing the final question, before the answers were revealed. He then proceeded to use his Phone-A-Friend to pull a John Carpenter, chatting casually with his friend before asking to confirm his initial instinct on the question. Sure enough, he was right and won the million euros.