Mandel in Las Vegas, May 2007
|Birth name||Howard Michael Mandel|
November 29, 1955 |
Willowdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film, books|
|Genres||Observational comedy, improvisational comedy|
|Subject(s)||Everyday life, self-deprecation|
|Spouse||Terry Soil (m. 1980)|
|Notable works and roles||Host of Deal or No Deal, Dr. Wayne Fiscus on St. Elsewhere, Bunsen Honeydew, Animal, and Skeeter (Season 1–2) on Muppet Babies, Bobby Generic and Howard Generic on Bobby's World, Longest judge on America's Got Talent, Gizmo in Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Host of Mobbed, Host of Howie Do It|
Howard Michael "Howie" Mandel (born November 29, 1955) is a Canadian comedian, actor, television host, and voice actor. He is well known as host of the NBC game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. Before his career as a game show host, Mandel was best known for his role as rowdy ER intern Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. He is also well known for being the creator and star of the children's cartoon Bobby's World.
Mandel became a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent, replacing David Hasselhoff, in the fifth season of the reality talent contest. Mandel has mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs) to the point that he does not shake hands with anyone, including contestants on Deal or No Deal, unless he is wearing latex gloves; to that end, he prefers to do fist bumps instead.
Mandel was born and lived in the Willowdale area of Toronto, Ontario. Mandel is Jewish (his ancestors emigrated from Romania and Poland) and a distant cousin to violinist Itzhak Perlman. His father was a lighting manufacturer and a real estate agent. After getting expelled from his high school (William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute) for impersonating a member of the school board and signing a construction contract to make an addition to his school, Mandel became a carpet salesman who would later open a carpet sales business of his own. He was a stand-up comedian at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto and by September 1978 had a week-long booking as featured act, billed as "a wild and crazy borderline psychotic." His repertoire included placing a latex glove over his head and inflating it by blowing through his nose, the fingers of the glove extending above his head like a cockscomb. When the audience reacted uproariously to that and similar antics, his trademark response was to extend his arms palms up, look incredulous, and say, "it's you."
On a trip to Los Angeles, Mandel performed a set at The Comedy Store, which resulted in his becoming a regular performer there. A producer for the comedic game show Make Me Laugh saw him and booked Mandel for several appearances during the show's run in 1979. He was booked to open for David Letterman at shows in the summer of 1979. CBC-TV's head of variety programming saw his performance in October 1979 and immediately signed him for a TV special. In 1980, he won the lead role in the Canadian movie Gas, co-starring Susan Anspach and Donald Sutherland. Mandel was one of the first "VeeJays" to appear on Nickelodeon's music video series, Pop Clips.
TV and film career
Mandel came to national attention in the US during a six-year run on St. Elsewhere, starting in 1982 and playing the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus, opposite the late Ed Flanders, and Norman Lloyd, with whom he remains good friends as of 2015. While working as Dr. Fiscus, and continuing to work as a comedian, he also did movies, including his role as the voice of Gizmo in the 1984 hit Gremlins and its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. In 1985 Mandel made a cameo in the Michael J. Fox directed short "The Iceman Hummeth" which was subsequently broadcast on Late Night with David Letterman in November 1985. In 1986, he starred in A Fine Mess alongside Ted Danson. He performed his stand-up comedy act in several cities (the Watusi Tour), which was followed by his Watusi music video in 1987. For the first two seasons of Muppet Babies, he voiced Bunsen Honeydew, Animal and Skeeter. He starred on the 1987 comedy film Walk Like a Man. He was also "Maurice" in the 1989 movie Little Monsters. In 1990, he starred in the short-lived sitcom Good Grief on Fox. He was also the creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated children's animated series Bobby's World (1990–1998), to which he supplied the voices of the title character and his father (using Howie's "normal" voice for Bobby's dad). Bobby's World ran for eight seasons on Fox and was later syndicated. Mandel also plays his alter-ego, Phil Skorjanc, in most of his comedy shows and these are a fan favorite. Bobby also made a cameo appearance in a February 2007 episode of Deal or No Deal. On a special 2-hour Christmas episode, first aired on December 25, 2007, Mandel delivered one line with Bobby's voice, as per request of the contestant.
In 1994 Mandel voiced the lead character, Little Howie, of the video game Tuneland. He starred in the sketch comedy series Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies in 1995 on Showtime. Mandel appeared in the 1995 Clint Black country music video "Summer's Comin'". He played the lead role of the professor in the short-lived TV series The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, and guest-starred on a 1996 episode of the ABC TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as DC Comics supervillain Mister Mxyzptlk. In 1998 he hosted his own syndicated talk show, The Howie Mandel Show, which was cancelled after one season. In 1999/2000, Mandel played "Jason" in the film Apocalypse III: Tribulation, and in 2002 played the Sand Man in the movie Hansel and Gretel. In 2006, he appeared as himself as a guest host in a parody of Deal or No Deal in the show-within-a-show of the TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In 2007, he guest-starred as himself in an episode of NBC's Medium, making a dream cameo of himself on Deal or No Deal. In that episode, he booted off the nighttime drama's protagonist for "cheating", since in the show he is a psychic medium and appeared to "know" the contents of the cases.
Mandel's signature stunt as a stand-up comedian (besides his Bobby alter-ego) was stretching a latex glove over his head and inflating it with his nostrils, filling it until it suddenly propelled itself off his head. This trick also lent itself to the title and cover photo of his comedy album, Fits Like a Glove (1986). He eventually gave up the routine under doctor's orders after being diagnosed with a perforated sinus. However, in a cameo role as himself on My Name is Earl, he did the routine. He guest starred in two episodes of Monk ("Mr. Monk Joins a Cult" and "Mr. Monk's 100th Case").
Mandel is known for his frequent appearances as a comedian and for his hidden camera segments on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has appeared in many television commercials for Boston Pizza as their hired spokesperson. In April 2004, he was selected as number 82 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand up comedians of all time. In October 2005, he was named to be the host of the US version of Deal or No Deal, which debuted on December 19, 2005, on NBC and became a popular program in early 2006. Mandel also hosts Deal or No Deal Canada; originating from Toronto, Deal or No Deal Canada debuted in January 2007 on Global, which made him one of the few game show hosts (Weakest Link's Anne Robinson, The Chair's John McEnroe, Pyramid's Donny Osmond, The Singing Bee's Joey Fatone, and Minute to Win It's Darren McMullen being others) to host both a domestic and an international version of the same game show. Mandel joins Alex Trebek, Jim Perry and Geoff Edwards on the list of game show hosts who emceed one game show simultaneously in Canada and the United States.
In 2007, Mandel made an appearance in an episode of Sesame Street’s 38th season. That same year, he was parodied on the show as Howie Eatswell, the Muppet host of Sesame's game show segment "Meal or No Meal". Mandel has hosted the DVD game version of Deal or No Deal, "Fact or Crap Beat Da Bomb" and "Would You Rather" for Imagination Games.
Mandel had a cameo appearance as himself on the NBC show My Name is Earl, in the episode Earl's roommates robbed an Indian casino at which Mandel was performing. While stealing money, they also kidnapped Mandel. In the episode, Mandel performed his old routine of inflating a rubber glove over his head with his nostrils.
Mandel is a notable alumnus of Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am's Hebrew School located in Toronto, as well as three other Toronto high schools. Mandel is currently performing a variety/comedy act at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Starting in 2007, Mandel became a spokesperson for Internet retailer buy.com. He is sometimes featured in a section called "What's Shakin'?" with Mandel.
On May 13, 2008, he was the guest host for the Tradition May Fund Raiser for the Owen Hart Foundation.
On January 8, 2009, Mandel appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show on Sirius XM's Howard 100.
On January 9, 2009, Mandel's reality show Howie Do It premiered on NBC.
In January 2010, it was announced that Mandel would replace David Hasselhoff as one of the judges on NBC's America's Got Talent, after Hasselhoff announced that he was leaving to work on a new television series.
On May 13, 2010, Mandel appeared on an episode of The Marriage Ref.
On March 31, 2011, Mandel premiered a flash-mob show on Fox called Mobbed. Originally a presentation pilot, the ratings after American Idol prompted Fox to pick up the show for eight to ten episodes.
On November 30, 2012, he hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony.
On December 10, 2012, his six-night special game show, Take It All, premiered.
On November 9, 2014, along with former St. Elsewhere co-stars, Ed Begley Jr., David Morse and Stephen Furst, Mandel attended the 100th Birthday of their acting mentor and decades-long friend, Norman Lloyd, in Los Angeles, California. Upon celebrating Lloyd's centenarian birthday, Mandel said, "I love Norman Lloyd. He is a legend. I have spent hours like a little kid while he regaled us with stories of Hitchcock. He teaches, he entertains. He is a legend."
On September 3, 2015, Mandel hosted the 100th episode of TruTV's Impractical Jokers Live Punishment from New York City, which involved the four jokers walking a high wire five stories in the air.
Deal or No Deal
In 2003, while Mandel was deciding whether or not to quit show business, the executive producers at NBC asked him to host the show, but he declined many times. They then mailed him a tape of the overseas version and he finally accepted. In 2007, he hosted a five-episode run of the Canadian-English version. The show then went to daytime with Mandel remaining as host, although Arsenio Hall was originally intended to host the show. In a January 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Mandel expressed mild, jovial frustration over how some of his contestants hold out during the game show, despite the fact that the grand prize is many times what they would make in a year.
He met his wife Terry in high school, and married her in 1980. They have three children: daughters Jackie and Riley, and son Alex. He also has two adopted nephews, Austin and Zack Mandel. He is also a distant cousin of Itzhak Perlman, an Israeli-American violinist and conductor.
Mandel received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009. He is the third game show host to be inducted (the first being Monty Hall in 2002 and the second being Alex Trebek in 2006).
In October 2008, Mandel revealed that he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the morning talk show Live with Regis and Kelly, adding that he is currently working to raise adult ADHD awareness among the general public. On January 12, 2009, Mandel was reportedly sent to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto suffering from chest pains and what was reported as a minor heart attack. According to various news reports, he was experiencing an irregular heartbeat, but the reports were later revealed as inaccurate. He was later discharged. Mandel has written and published an in-depth autobiography which details his life with OCD, ADHD, and comedy, called Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me.
Mandel has mysophobia (a pathological fear of contamination/germs) to the point that he does not shake hands with anyone, including enthusiastic contestants on Deal or No Deal, unless he is wearing latex gloves. Instead of shaking contestants' hands when they offer them, Mandel often opts to exchange fist bumps, put his hands on contestants' shoulders, or give an occasional hug. He once kissed a female contestant on the show for good luck despite his mysophobia. He now takes medicine to control his condition and even pokes fun at himself for it. He revealed on The Howard Stern Show on March 24, 2006, that his shaved head is not related to natural hair loss, but to his mysophobia. He stated that the lack of hair makes him feel cleaner. In the back yard of Mandel's house is a second, smaller house which he had built especially to live in solitude when a family member is sick. During his appearance on Mad TV, Mandel and cast member Bobby Lee made fun of the former's condition.
In September 2007, Mandel interviewed former NFL running back Marshall Faulk on NFL Network. Faulk asked him to shake hands, but Mandel declined, noting he'd rather have the fist tap, as he does with Deal or No Deal contestants. Seconds later, Faulk subjected him to a "sneak attack", and shook his right hand. Mandel screamed and walked away from Faulk. He then washed his hands several times. On a guest appearance on Free Radio, Mandel explained that not only is he afraid of public bathrooms, but is unable to use any bathroom other than his own.
During the season 5 episode of America's Got Talent in Chicago, Zach Carty attempted an act involving sneezing. Mandel pressed his X button at the beginning of the act, and ran into an aisle until the act was over. (Carty was unable to perform the act.) Mandel kept yelling at the other judges, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne to press their X buttons and for the audience to turn in his direction. Morgan eventually pressed the X button, but Osbourne refused, so Mandel promptly ran over and pressed her button, ending the act. In a backstage interview, he expressed to the television audience that he receives therapy to help him cope. In another America's Got Talent season 5 incident, Dan Sperry, a contestant on the YouTube quarterfinal episode, dropped some dental floss that he had run through his neck as part of a magic act. He dropped the floss in Mandel's vicinity, prompting him to get up and run to the other side of the judges' table . Just before Sperry's next performance in the semifinals, Mandel admitted that it was "the most horrified" he'd been on the show and that his therapist "loves [Dan Sperry]", because there had been two extra sessions that week.
During AGT's 10th season, a contestant named Chris Jones directly utilized Mandel's mysophobia as the subject of his hypnotism act. Under the post-hypnotic suggestion that Jones and the other judges were wearing latex gloves, Mandel shook the bare hands of all involved, which elicited shouts of amazement and drew much attention on the Internet. After viewing the video of the act, Mandel reported feeling "upset" and "betrayed", and required a session with his therapist. Chris Jones progressed to the Judge's Cuts where he was eliminated from the competition.
Mandel commented in 2011 that he has struggled with the condition since childhood, but did not seek help until he was an adult:
"I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel there was an issue. But I wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood. I’ve always felt a little bit different, and I always knew I wasn’t as comfortable with life as everybody else seemed to be. But I didn’t know what I could do about it. When I was a kid, I didn’t know anybody who went to a psychiatrist. There was always a stigma attached to mental health issues. I think there still is. But now I’m taking care of myself."
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