Michael Avitzur, an attorney from New York City, New York, was a contestant on season 1 of the U.S. version of the show on February 15, 2000. He walked away with $250,000. Later, he appeared on Champions Edition and won another $32,000 (with half going to his charity)


Fastest Finger QuestionEdit

Fastest Finger Question
Put the following oceans in order by their size in square miles, from smallest to largest.
• A: Pacific • B: Arctic
• C: Atlantic • D: Indian
From the 10 contestants, 3 got it right, but Michael (with a time of 3.40 seconds) was the fastest to correctly answer B-D-C-A, making it into the Hot Seat.

Michael's Run to the MillionEdit

$100 (1 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of the following terms is often used to describe a plot of ground where flowers grow?
• A: Bed • B: Cot
• C: Couch • D: Mattress
$200 (2 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these animals does pork come from?
• A: Cow • B: Fish
• C: Squirrel • D: Pig
$300 (3 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these characteristics is most associated with the word 'southpaw'?
• A: Deafness • B: Left-handedness
• C: Arthritis • D: Baldness
$500 (4 of 15) - Not Timed
What country is the birthplace of both explorer Christopher Columbus and astronomer Galileo?
• A: Portugal • B: France
• C: Italy • D: Spain
$1,000 (5 of 15) - Not Timed
How many pockets are there on a standard pool table?
• A: 4 • B: 6
• C: 8 • D: 10
$2,000 (6 of 15) - Not Timed
The Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor 'Cherry Garcia' is named for the former lead singer of what band?
• A: The Grateful Dead • B: The Beach Boys
• C: Genesis • D: The Eagles
$4,000 (7 of 15) - Not Timed
What comedian frequently complains that he gets 'no respect'?
• A: Buddy Hackett • B: Bob Hope
• C: Rodney Dangerfield • D: Don Rickles
$8,000 (8 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of the following cities is not located on the banks of the Mississippi River?
• A: Baton Rouge • B: Little Rock
• C: Memphis • D: St. Louis
$16,000 (9 of 15) - Not Timed
Who told vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle during a debate, 'Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy'?
• A: Al Gore • B: Lloyd Bentsen
• C: Michael Dukakis • D: Ted Kennedy
$32,000 (10 of 15) - Not Timed
Who was the first African-American manager to coach in major league baseball?
'Ask the Audience' lifeline used
• A: Hank Aaron • B: Reggie Jackson
• C: Don Baylor • D: Frank Robinson
Ask the Audience Results: A: 22% • B: 9% • C: 13% • D: 56%
$64,000 (11 of 15) - Not Timed
In 1998, Suharto resigned after 32 years as president of what country?
• A: Indonesia • B: North Korea
• C: Chile • D: The Philippines
$125,000 (12 of 15) - Not Timed
What vocal quartet sang backup for Elvis Presley in the '50s?
'50:50' lifeline used
• A: The Crickets • B: The Elvii
• C: The Jordanaires • D: The Moroccos
$250,000 (13 of 15) - Not Timed
What artist's painting of a distracted girl inspired the title of the book 'Girl, Interrupted'?
• A: El Greco • B: Paul Gauguin
• C: Edouard Manet • D: Jan Vermeer
$500,000 (14 of 15) - Not Timed
A person from which of these countries has never been aboard a U.S. space mission?
'Phone a Friend' lifeline used
• A: Saudi Arabia • B: Denmark
• C: Germany • D: France
Michael did not know, so he decided to call his friend from college Paul, who was fairly certain it was Denmark, but could not remember a German person who has done so. Michael believed Paul was right, but decided anyway to walk away with $250,000. The correct answer was indeed B: Denmark.

WWTBAM - Champions Edition Edit

In May 2000, Avitzur appeared in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Champions Edition, in which previous contestants who won $250,000-$1,000,000 played again, with half their winnings going to their favorite charities. Avitzur was the third Champion to make the Hot Seat, and played for the American Heart Association.

Fastest Finger Question Edit

The Fastest Finger question was:

Fastest Finger Question
Put the following books in the order they were published, starting with the earliest
• A: The Jungle • B: Bonfire of the Vanities
• C: Crime & Punishment • D: In Cold Blood
6 of the 10 contestants got it right, but Michael's correct response of C-A-D-B (in 4.72 seconds) was fast enough to get him into the Hot Seat

Michael's second run to the Million Edit

$100 (1 of 15) - Not Timed
According to a saying, what is considered "nine-tenths of the law"?
• A: Politics • B: Compassion
• C: Possession • D: Judge Judy
$200 (2 of 15) - Not Timed
What is the name of the framework that holds up a railroad bridge?
• A: Trundle • B: Trestle
• C: Tarpaulin • D: Wonderbra
$300 (3 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these candies comes on a stick?
• A: Hershey's Kiss • B: Tootsie Pop
• C: Tic Tacs • D: Snickers
$500 (4 of 15) - Not Timed
Where would you most likely be when handing money to a croupier
• A: Tollbooth • B: Gas Station
• C: Bakery • D: Casino
$1,000 (5 of 15) - Not Timed
To whom did Ernest say "Hey" in nearly 2,500 TV commercials
• A: Vern • B: Jim
• C: Chet • D: Joe
$2,000 (6 of 15) - Not Timed
What is the hardest substance in the human body?
• A: Dentin • B: Marrow
• C: Enamel • D: Dermis
$4,000 (7 of 15) - Not Timed
In the TV series "Mad About You," what is the profession of Paul Reiser's character?
• A: Professor of history • B: Documentary filmmaker
• C: Tax lawyer • D: Radio talk show host
The klaxon sounds, and Michael will return on the next show with all of his lifelines.
$8,000 (8 of 15) - Not Timed
Who lit the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in Atlanta?
• A: Hank Aaron • B: Rafer Johnson
• C: Muhammad Ali • D: Janet Evans
$16,000 (9 of 15) - Not Timed
The Suez Canal connects the Red Sea with what body of water?
• A: Persian Gulf • B: Indian Ocean
• C: Nile River • D: Mediterranean Sea
$32,000 (10 of 15) - Not Timed
Pol Pot was the infamous leader of what group?
• A: Khmer Rouge • B: Shining Path
• C: Gang of Four • D: Aum Shinrikyo
$64,000 (11 of 15) - Not Timed
Which actor has been on People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" list six times?
'Ask the Audience' and '50:50" lifelines used
• A: Harrison Ford • B: Tom Cruise
• C: Denzel Washington • D: Mel Gibson
Ask the Audience Results: A: 33% • B: 41% • C: 4% • D: 22%
Michael: "I was just on vacation, and I saw my friend Beth, and we were actually just talking about this because the new issue was on the stands… but I have no idea [audience laughs]"

With that in mind, he asks the audience, but he's not comfortable with the spread, so he takes the 50:50, which knocks out A & C.

He goes with Tom Cruise and wins $64,000

$125,000 (12 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these novelists served in the Mississippi state legislature?
• A: Scott Turow • B: Pat Conroy
• C: John Grisham • D: Tom Clancy
Michael feels like he knows this one… he notes that Turow is from Chicago, while Clancy's from Florida. He thinks it might be Pat Conroy, but can't rule out John Grisham. He also figures that if Grisham did serve, he'd have heard about it.

He told himself that if he had it narrowed down to 2 at this level, he'd go for it. He goes with Pat Conroy, but the answer was John Grisham.


Preceded by
Steve Giblin
U.S. Contestant (Season 1)
Michael Avitzur
Succeeded by
Stephanie Girardi
Preceded by
David Forman
Champions Edition Contestants
Michael Avitzur
Succeeded by
Neil Larrimore