Iconic game-show host Monty Hall has died at 96.
Monty Hall, who co-created and presided over Let’s Make a Deal from 1963 to 1986, died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday. He was 96.
Let’s Make A Deal, the game show where potential contestants competed for Hall’s attention in outlandish costumes to get a chance to see if they will win the big prize or the booby prize behind door No. 3, had its premiere in late 1963 and, with some interruptions, has been a television phenomenon ever since.
Monty Hall, was born Monte Halparin in Winnipeg, Manitoba on August 25, 1921 to Orthodox Jewish parents, Maurice Harvey Halparin, who owned a slaughterhouse, and Rose (née Rusen). He was raised in Winnipeg’s north end, where he attended Lord Selkirk School (Elmwood, Winnipeg), and, later St. John’s High School. Hall graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba, where he majored in chemistry and zoology.
Hall started his career in Winnipeg in radio, moving to Toronto in 1946. Early in his career, Hall hosted game shows such as Bingo at Home on WABD-TV and guest-hosted more established game shows such as Strike It Rich on CBS and Twenty-One on NBC.
He was the host/performer of two local New York City TV film shows for children: Cowboy Theater for WRCA (Channel 4) in 1956 and Fun In the Morning for WNEW (Ch. 5) in the early 1960s. From 1956–60, along with NBC Radio newsman Morgan Beatty, Hall co-hosted the Saturday night segment of the NBC Radio Network weekend program Monitor from 8 p.m. until midnight (EST).
Hall was a radio analyst for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League during the 1959–60 season.
After moving to Southern California, Hall became the host of the game show Let’s Make a Deal, which he developed and produced with partner Stefan Hatos. Let’s Make a Deal aired on NBC daytime from December 30, 1963, to December 27, 1968, and on ABC daytime from December 30, 1968 until July 9, 1976, along with two prime time runs. It aired in syndication from 1971–77, from 1980–81, from 1984–86, and again on NBC briefly from 1990–91, replacing Bob Hilton, who had been dismissed. He was producer or executive producer of the show through most of its runs. During the show’s initial run, Hall appeared alongside model Carol Merrill and announcer Jay Stewart.
Besides Let’s Make a Deal, the game show Split Second, which originally ran on ABC from 1972-75 with Tom Kennedy as host, and again in syndication in 1987 with Hall hosting that version, was the only other successful program from Hatos-Hall Productions.
Other game shows from Hatos’s and Hall’s production company included Chain Letter in 1966; a revival of the venerable 1950s-era panel quiz, Masquerade Party in 1974; 3 for the Money in 1975; It’s Anybody’s Guess in 1977, which reunited Let’s Make a Deal announcer Jay Stewart with Hall, who also hosted the show, and the Canadian-based The Joke’s on Us in 1983. Hall filled in as guest host on several daytime game shows while Let’s Make a Deal was on NBC, most notably What’s This Song? and PDQ.
In 1979, Hall hosted the only game show since Video Village which he did not produce, Goodson-Todman’s All-New Beat the Clock. (His announcer was Jack Narz, whom he had replaced as host of Video Village.) He appeared as himself on “The Promise Ring” episode of That ’70s Show in 2001. He played the host of a beauty pageant who schemed to become “the world’s most powerful game show host” in the Disney animated series American Dragon: Jake Long. He appeared on GSN Live on March 14, 2008, and hosted a game of Let’s Make a Deal for Good Morning America on August 18, 2008, as part of Game Show Reunion week.
In summer 2009, CBS announced that it was reviving Let’s Make a Deal on its daytime schedule. The show premiered on October 5, 2009, with Wayne Brady as host. Hall is credited as “Creative Consultant,” and as co-creator of the format (with Stefan Hatos). Hatos/Hall Productions is credited as co-production company (with FremantleMedia)
Hall received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 24, 1973, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars in 2000, and in 2002, he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Hall was one of only three game show hosts on both Hollywood’s and Canada’s Walks of Fame, the others being Alex Trebek and Howie Mandel. In May 1988, the Government of Canada bestowed on him the prestigious Order of Canada for humanitarian work in Canada and other nations of the world.
He was the recipient of the 2005 Ralph Edwards Service Award from Game Show Congress, in recognition of all the work the emcee-producer has done for charity through the years. On October 13, 2007, Hall was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hall received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Daytime Emmy Awards.
On September 28, 1947, Hall married a distant cousin, Marilyn Doreen Plottel (May 17, 1927 – June 5, 2017); the two had been introduced by a mutual cousin, Norman Shnier, the previous year. They became United States citizens in 1949. They had three children: actress Joanna Gleason; Sharon Hall Kessler, head of television at Alcon Entertainment; and Richard Hall, a television producer. Monte and Marilyn lived in Beverly Hills, California from 1962 until their deaths.
On September 30, 2017, Hall died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills at the age of 96.