North Oldham grad wins $10,000 on ‘Millionaire’

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

A North Oldham High School graduate featured in Monday’s episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” chose to walk away with thousands when stumped by a question about cajones. 

Derek McMahan, a law student at The College of William and Mary, made it to the seventh question of the game show. 

McMahan, a Westport native, had accumulated $20,500 when he faced a stumper: “While it’s still legal to tell a man he has ‘no cojones’ in Spain, a court in what country deemed it a crime in 2012?”

Possible answers were Canada, France, Italy and England.

McMahan had used his lifelines and opted against guessing the answer. By walking away, Derek took home $10,250 – half of his accumulated winnings.

If he had guessed incorrectly, McMahan’s winnings would have fallen to $1,000. 

The correct answer is Italy. 

During his appearance on the show, McMahan answered the first question correctly.

“The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by one’s activities is commonly called your ‘carbon’ what?” host Meredith Vieira asked. 

McMahan answered, “Footprint.”

For the second question, “Ending each celebrity interview with a kiss, SNL writer Mike O’Brien hosts a web series named after what teen party game?” McMahan used a lifeline to ask the audience.

More than half of the audience members – 52 percent – chose “Seven Minutes in Heaven” as the correct answer, and McMahan followed them. 

The third question focused on pop culture from the year before McMahan was born – “What popular reality TV host was first seen in a featured cameo in the 1989 music video for the hit B-52’s song ‘Love Shack’?” 

McMahan, 23, used a lifeline to jump the question. The lifeline allows a contestant to advance but also forfeits the money attached to the question. 

The correct answer is RuPaul. 

McMahan also used a lifeline to jump question four – “According to some Native Americans’ time-keeping, what month gives rise to the Strawberry Moon?” The correct answer is June, and the value of the question was $5,000. 

He had no trouble with the fifth question, “NASA official Charles Bolden made history in 2012 when he became the first human in history to have his voice transmitted to Earth from what planet?” and confidently answered, “Mars.” 

McMahan correctly answered “Louisiana” for the the sixth question: “One of its ‘regional delights,’ Creole Cream Cheese is an ice cream flavor available at Baskin-Robbins stores in which of these states?”

He is a 2007 graduate of NOHS and a law student. He grew up on a farm in Westport and his parents’ home is heated with a wood stove. 

McMahan told the game-show producers he hoped to win enough cash to buy central heat for his parents, William and Candace McMahan; repair his vehicle and pay off his student loans. 

Candace McMahan accompanied him to New York City for the game show and sat in the audience as the show was filmed. 


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