Million Dollar Minute has again made history with another contest taking home a huge pile of cash.
After risking the wrath of his wife by ditching a planned holiday to Europe to chase cash on Seven’s Million Dollar Minute, Jonathan Maher’s gamble has paid off with a record windfall.
The 36-year-old lawyer today won $510,500 in what’s believed to be the biggest cash win on an afternoon quiz show in Australia, exceeding the previous record of $503,000 by Pierre Sutcliffe.
With just seconds left on the clock in the Million Dollar Minute, Mr Maher admits he completely guessed the answer to the final question: Who played the title role in the 1994 movie, ‘Maverick’?
“That last question had me stumped,” said Mr Maher. “I knew it was either Kevin Costner or Mel Gibson. If I had more time to think about it I would have chosen Costner and lost half a million.
“But I knew there was no time left, so I just went with Mel Gibson without thinking,” he said.Fortunately it proved to be an educated guess and Mr Maher could not believe his good fortune. “The win is life-changing,” he said. “It’ll wipe the mortgage and leave me with plenty more cash”.
The insurance litigator created headlines last week after making a last-minute decision not to board a flight bound for Europe to meet up with his wife of one year on a planned holiday.
Despite having a pre-booked ticket in his pocket to join his spouse he chose to postpone the trip to compete for $300,000 after earlier turning down the chance to walk away with $200,000.
Mr Maher won the $300,000 last Thursday but again decided to ‘roll the dice’ and play on.
“I was in a dilemma whether to take the $300,000 win last week or risk it for $500,000 this week,” he said. “I wanted to go further in the show and that meant missing four days of our holiday.”
Mr Maher said when he explained his absence to wife Sarah she was “totally supportive”.
After his win last week Mr Maher walked off set and splashed out on a “lucky” $850 bottle of Penfolds Grange which he said he planned to crack open if he won the $500,000 prize purse.
But there was no time to celebrate post-win, with his bags packed and passport ready, Mr Maher had a 6.30pm flight to London to catch to join Sarah who was now holidaying with her sister.
Maher missed his plane by seconds but boarded the next available international flight, rewarding himself with his first-ever business class ticket – the lucky bottle of red tucked safely in his carry-on.
“When I get to Europe I think I will say to my wife ‘Hi honey, I just won half a million dollars. How about a hug?’” he laughed. “I think she will flip out”.
Million Dollar Minute airs weekdays at 5.30pm on Channel Seven.