The Lottery Lady: Linda Kollmeyer

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In the grand scheme of recent major news events- tonight’s Cover Story might seem a bit-well, trivial… dare we say, even a little self-serving. But, Linda Kollmeyer has been part of the Illinois Lottery’s game shows and daily drawings for more than two decades.  And our Sean Lewis thought it was time to get to know her.

Linda Kollmeyer is not on Facebook- yet she has a professional looking Facebook page created by a fan.  Next to Tom Skilling– viewers ask us about Linda more than any other WGN talent.  We had to know; is she for real?  “Good evening everyone, I’m Linda Kollmeyer.”  She’s a familiar face with a million dollar message. “I’m the lottery lady. Ya!”  But behind the camera, Linda Kollmeyer and her energy are far more than what meets the eye. “I am what you see. I am an open book.  And I try to base my life on karma.  What you pass out is what you get in return.”  If that’s true, then she may be one of the richest people around.  Her long time friends, Terri Abruzzo Callahan and Judy Tullman call her kind, caring, and genuine. “I think she loves that she can use her work to touch people in a positive way.”

Friend Judy is a staunch defender of her friend Linda. “I think she conveys her real personality.  You feel better after you’ve spent a little time with Linda.”  For more than 20 years now, she’s been one of the stand-outs of the Illinois lottery.  From the weekly game shows in the 90’s, to the daily drawings today, where she offers up her own looks on life, what we call “Linda-isms.” “Be bold.  Be courageous. Step outside of your comfort zone. Whooo!”  On the side, “With energy-with enthusiasm,” she’s a personal trainer, whose fitness classes are a popular draw.   “Don’t stop ‘til you cross the finish line.”  Linda’s Mother, Barbara Kollmeyer, says Linda has been positive and upbeat her whole life. “She always had a good time. You never saw Linda down.”  Her parents still live in Missouri just outside St. Louis where Linda grew up, often visiting the family farm, perhaps where a love of nature and animals took root. Her father Ray loves animals too. “She’d rescue everything that would walk.  As her mother says, if there was an elephant walking down the driveway, she’d try to rescue it.”

wgntv-linda-kollmeyer-the-lottery-lady-20121108Linda and her sister were dancers as girls.  Linda became a champion twirler at the University of Missouri, where she got her first taste of fame as a cheerleader and beauty queen.  She got her degree in nursing, and came to Chicago in the mid-1980’s where she worked at a hospital with AIDS patients. “I think sometimes I took it into myself way too much.  But I have to tell you that if you can lift a person up in spirit and soul, then sometimes that’s better than medicine.” She left nursing, but soon found success in her other passion, in front of the camera, modeling, acting, even fitness videos. “Kareem Abdul Jabar, I’ve worked with him.  Jack LaLanne, I’ve worked with him.  Richard Simmons, I’ve worked with him. Ya, those are scary.  That’s a lot of Lycra.” (big laugh) All of it leading to an audition with the Illinois Lottery.

Her words of wisdom are something of lottery legend. “Colors of the autumn- it’s like walking on a stained glass window.” “I think that people wait to hear the good news.  I can’t wait for your uplifting message today I’m having a bad day. And, well, that just buoys me onto higher heights.”

I asked her the words she lives by, and what she said came as no surprise from a woman who literally picks people’s dreams from thin air. “Well, dreams do come true.” And then there’s that bounce at the end.  You see it on TV, but what you don’t see is what her feet are doing. “You know I didn’t even know I had fancy footwork until everybody told me.  I cross my leg, it’s like “ta da.”

Linda’s lottery drawings on our Friday midday newscasts have led to four adoptions from our popular Adopt-a-Pet segment.  So far, she’s taken home two dogs, including her beloved German Shepard Zuma, and two cats.

Linda says people think she controls the lottery numbers.  She definitely does not!  In fact, she’s never played the lottery.  She can’t, it’s against the rules. On a personal note, Linda is single, but engaged and is in what she calls, “A committed, eternal, relationship.

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  • sailking

    I would love to play the lotto, but I can't stand to listen to Linda Kollmeyer and her annoying attitude call out the numbers that determine people's destiny. Self confidence is great, but she takes it to a whole new level. Smiles are always welcome, but the fake self-service presence in which she presents herself is just completely over the top. Perhaps her personality is more suitable for a used car salesman. She could learn a lot from Calvin Klein's advertising. "Just BE". Stop trying so hard to "BE" positive. If you "ARE" positive, then that is enough. You don't have to SELL yourself as BEing positive.

  • Mayer Zimmerman

    I watch WGN in BAltimore, love to see the lottery and love all thel adies EXCEPT foir Linda Kollmeyer.
    She is ANNOYING, Saccharin-y sweert and disgusting. Tambala and Angelina are just fine. But Linda just rubs me the worng way.
    Time to replace her.

  • Debbie

    It seems to me when I see her that she is very down to earth and has a pleasing personality. And also I like her outfits. I hope she stays with channel 9 for a long time.

  • Chuck

    I find it rather odd that the only lotto personality that EVER gets any mention is Linda Wholefryer. There ARE 3 others you know. With all the back stage antics that the morning crew have fun with, NEVER have they included ANY of the lotto ladies except for Linda. The only time was when they showed a recorded "serious" message from her and then laughed and rolled their eyes. They would rather drag an intern or a tech in front of the camera than talk with Angelina, Jeanette or Tamberla. I was surprised that several months back Tamberla was featured in a short sit down on the noon news but I believe it's time to talk to ALL of them in an interview.

  • Todd

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Linda Kollmeyer!!!!! She makes the lottery so exciting to watch and she ALWAYS looks SO BEAUTIFUL!!! That black dress she had on today was TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!! I want to close my comment with this:Linda,you ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • susan carr

    I worked at her modeling agency in the 80’s (during my broadcast career slump), and she was always the kindest person! She had long blonde hair and a friendly smile! I now live in Atlanta and still watch ‘GN every day (because I’m still homesick!) and yell ‘Hi Linda!’ when she’s on!

  • Mrs. Brown

    I I totally agree with the comments about Linda K. She is as phony as heck and If she doesn’t stop all that twisting, hopping, snapping her body, she is going to hurt herself. She talks too much and you can hardly understand the numbers she’s calling out because she is trying to do and say way too much. I’m so glad I have a mute button on my remote so at least I don’t have to hear her and I turn my back or walk out of the room when it’s her turn to draw the numbers. It is really upsetting to see someone so old try to act so young and cool. Please inform her that her job is to pull and announce the numbers, not to try to entertain the viewers. It stinks to high hell the way she acts and is a complete turn off. I record the lottery time so that i don’t have to see her phony butt. I am not and will never be a fan of hers while you give her more tv viewing time and not the others. It’s not fair and I don’t want to see what she is wearing.. Here’s hoping you will address her overbearing tv tactics. She is a complete turn-off. A WGN fan for life, but not if I am forced to see her old wrinkled butt.

  • NC Stein

    I cannot stand her and, the phony bubbly air about her. “Have a great night” etc, with that annoying voice and smile makes me switch channels every time. Linda has an “in” or she’d be out. The fact the Chicago Tribune compromised what journalism ethics they have by making The Lottery Lady a front page story proves it.

  • Buttera Munchausen

    Perpetually and nauseatingly bubbly Linda Kollmeyer appears to be a bit too delusional to grasp the concept that she’s not there at WGN to inspire or entertain us. No, she’s there to announce the lottery numbers. No more. No less. At lunch time each weekday, if I want to be entertained while learning what the newly-drawn lottery numbers are, I won’t go to the lunchroom to watch Linda, I’ll just stroll down to the local gin mill and observe the daytime drinkers all curse, stomp their feet and toss the confetti remnants of their losing lottery tickets into the air while ordering shots of cheap, house-brand whiskey. I have to say, there’s not much funnier than watching guys who are drunk each day by noon witnessing their dreams of financial freedom being crushed to death right there in front of them, on live TV, because they’d all hung their hopes and dreams for financial security not upon an education or a career but on the lottery. The lottery. THAT, my friends, is entertaining!


    Who ever dresses Linda Kollmeyer should be fired…………to old to dress like she does and usually never matches.

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