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Monty Hall in the 1970s
August 25, 1921
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Occupation||Game show host, producer, singer, sportscaster|
|Spouse(s)||Marilyn Doreen Plottel
(m. September 28, 1947-present; 3 children)
Monte Halparin, OC OM (born August 25, 1921), better known by the stage name Monty Hall, is a Canadian-American emcee, producer, singer and sportscaster, best known as host of the television game show Let's Make a Deal.
Hall was born Monte Halparin in Winnipeg to Orthodox Jewish parents, Rose (née Rusen) and Maurice Harvey Halparin, who owned a slaughterhouse. 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). At least two recordings of Hall on Monitor are known to exist.
He succeeded Jack Narz as host of a game show called Video Village, which ran from 1960 to 1962 on CBS. From 1961-62, Hall hosted its spinoff, Video Village Junior, which featured children. 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 is 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 his 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 (born May 17, 1927); the two had been introduced by a mutual cousin, Norman Shnier, the previous year. They became United States citizens in 1949. They have three children: actress Joanna Gleason; Sharon Hall Kessler, head of television at Alcon Entertainment; and Richard Hall, a television producer. They have lived in Beverly Hills, California since 1962.
Monty Hall problem
Because of his work on Let's Make a Deal, Hall's name is used in a probability puzzle known as the "Monty Hall problem" involving three doors. The puzzle examines the counter-intuitive effect of switching one's choice of doors, one of which hides a prize, if "Monty" reveals an unwanted item behind a door the player did not choose (contestants who switch have a 2/3 chance of winning, while contestants who stick to their choice have only a 1/3 chance). Hall himself gave an explanation of the solution to that problem in an interview with The New York Times reporter John Tierney in 1991.
In the article, Hall pointed out that because he had control over the way the game progressed, playing on the psychology of the contestant, the theoretical solution did not apply to the show's actual gameplay. He said he was not surprised at the experts' insistence that the probability was 1 out of 2. "That's the same assumption contestants would make on the show after I showed them there was nothing behind one door," he said. "They'd think the odds on their door had now gone up to 1 in 2, so they hated to give up the door no matter how much money I offered. By opening that door we were applying pressure. We called it the Henry James treatment. It was 'The Turn of the Screw.'“ Hall clarified that as a game show host he was not required to follow the rules of the puzzle in the vos Savant column and did not always have to allow a person the opportunity to switch (e.g., he might open their door immediately if it was a losing door, might offer them money to not switch from a losing door to a winning door, or might only allow them the opportunity to switch if they had a winning door). "If the host is required to open a door all the time and offer you a switch, then you should take the switch," he said. "But if he has the choice whether to allow a switch or not, beware. Caveat emptor. It all depends on his mood.”
The puzzle was mentioned in an episode of the first season of the television drama NUMB3RS, in the 2008 movie 21, and in the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. A detailed explanation and rationale for the solution to this problem is presented in the book The World's 200 Hardest Brainteasers by Gary Gruber. In 2011, it was showcased on an episode of the show MythBusters.
- Monty Hall; Bill Libby (1973). Emcee Monty Hall. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 0-448-01551-X.
- Irene Kahn Atkins. Monty Hall [interview]. New York: American Jewish Committee, Oral History Library, 1976.
- "Monty Hall profile". filmreference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Knelman, Martin (October 7, 2009). "How Monty Hall made a deal with fame". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- "St. John's High School hits 100". CBC News. June 18, 2010.
- "Monitor's Communicators". Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "The Sounds of NBC Monitor". Retrieved January 9, 2015.
Morgan Beatty and Monty Hall host Monitor '58", "Monty Hall & Bob Wilson host Monitor '59
- Halligan, John. "Alumni Spotlight". Archived from the original on 2007-04-17. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- CBS broadcast of "Let's Make a Deal," October 5, 2009.
- "Palm Springs Walk of Stars" (PDF). Retrieved 9 January 2015.
- "Canada's Walk of Fame—2002 Inductees". Retrieved January 9, 2015.
- "Monty Hall receiving award at Emmys". Winnipeg Free Press. June 11, 2013.
- Coleman, Laura (26 December 2014). "Beverly Hills Elders: Marilyn & Monty Hall – Emmy Winners, Patrons" (PDF). Beverly Hills Courier. XXXXIX (51): 1. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
- Tierney, John (July 21, 1991). "Behind Monty Hall's Doors: Puzzle, Debate and Answer?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Gruber, Gary R. (2010). The World's 200 Hardest Brain Teasers. Google Books. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- Monty Hall at the Internet Movie Database
- Monty's Bio at letsmakeadeal.com
- Monty Hall interview video at the Archive of American Television
- CBC Digital Archives profile of Monty Hall (1970)
|Host of Let's Make a Deal
|Host of Beat The Clock
|Host of Split Second
|Host of Let's Make a Deal