Winner's New Image

11/11/1998 at 12:00 AM EST

Speaking of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," its first million-dollar winner (and PEOPLE Magazine coverboy), John Carpenter, is still cashing in on his 15 minutes of fame. Carpenter wasn't exactly an audience's darling. Besides working for the IRS, he also struck some viewers as cold and arrogant. This wasn't helped when he called his parents on the air to tell them that he was about to win. "I definitely regret the way I may have come across as arrogant," Carpenter told TV critics at a weekend press gathering in Pasadena, Calif. "But I think sometimes self-confidence can come across as arrogant." As for his aloof demeanor, he explained, "I'm just a non-excitable person. You can ask my wife." By the way, Carpenter isn't quite a millionaire: That agency he works for immediately took more than $300,000 off the top of his haul.

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