Monty Hall | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Monty Hall

Monty Hall (born Monte Halparin), game-show host, singer (born 25 Aug 1923 in Winnipeg, MB; died 30 September 2017 in Beverly Hills, California).

Monty Hall, born Monte Halparin, game-show host, singer (born at Winnipeg 25 Aug 1923). Monty Hall attended St. John's High School in Winnipeg and earned a bachelor of science in 1945 from the University of Manitoba. He was planning further studies in medicine when his natural radio voice led him in another direction. Work at a local radio station encouraged him to try his luck in Toronto, where he landed a job as an announcer for CHUM radio. By the early 1950s he had his own radio-production company and was hosting a daytime CBC-TV program called Matinee Party.

By the fall of 1954 Matinee Party was cancelled, so Monty Hall tried his luck in New York City. He secured limited airtime as the replacement host for various game shows such as Strike It Rich. In 1958, he was the host of Keep Talking for CBS but it was not until 1960 that he sold his first game show, Video Village, to the network. This was followed by Your First Impression, which ran on NBC. In 1963 Hall came up with his one and only really big hit, the iconic American game show Let's Make a Deal. Producing it with his partner Stefan Hatos, Hall based the concept of the show on an earlier Canadian radio program called "The Auctioneer," which he had hosted.

With Hall as host, the original Let's Make a Deal ran on NBC's daytime schedule from 1963 to 1968, when Hall moved it over to ABC because of a contract dispute. It continued on ABC daytime television from 1968 to 1977. Critics complained that its concept was based on pure greed - prizes were won by luck, not skill-testing questions - but it was hugely popular, consistently ranking among the top-rated shows, even though it had a daytime slot. Since the contestants were chosen from the audience, it became the custom of people to dress outrageously to increase their chances of being chosen. It became a television phenomenon, and Hall assumed an iconic status with his trademark opening: "Here's America's top trader, television's big dealer - Monty Hall!"

In 1967, NBC broadcasted a prime-time version as a summer replacement, and from 1969 to 1971 ABC aired a prime-time version as well. This version was picked up for syndication after ABC let it go, and ran for another 5 years, from 1971 to 1976. The show was revived briefly with Hall as host in 1980 and again from 1984 to 1986, after which Hall ceased his hosting duties. He was a guest star on many television series, among them The Odd Couple, The Love Boat, The Wonder Years and That 70s Show.

Monty Hall was a companion of the ORDER OF CANADA and a member of the ORDER OF MANITOBA. He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame and did extensive charity fundraising for Variety Clubs International, hosting benefits and telethons. He received numerous honorary doctorates, children's wings were named after him at several hospitals, and he received dozens of awards in recognition of his charity work.

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