TV Legend Monty Hall, Longtime Host of ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ Dies at 96

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Monty Hall, the playful host of Let’s Make a Deal who gave game-show contestants the agonizing choice of taking the cash or what was behind Door No. 3, has died. He was 96.  Hall, who by his own estimation presided over more than 4,700 episodes of the show he co-created, died Saturday due to heart failure.

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Survivors include his three children: daughters Gleason, a Tony Award-winning actress and the wife of actor Chris Sarandon; Sharon Hall, president of Endemol Shine Studios and the wife of TV producer Todd Ellis Kessler; and son Richard Hall, an Emmy Award-winning producer (Amazing Race).

 

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Hall served as a radio color man for New York Rangers’ NHL games and hosted other game shows like the scandal-plagued Twenty One, Video Village and revivals of Beat the Clock and Split Second.

 

However, it was Let’s Make a Deal, which he created with Stefan Hatos, that made him a television legend.

 

The show, which premiered in December 1963, featured contestants who would come to the studio with signs and/or dressed in outlandish, colorful costumes in a bid to attract Hall’s attention.

 

 

NBC later moved  Deal to Sunday evenings for a few months in 1967, where it was pitted against The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS and The FBI on ABC. It made it into the Nielsen top 20, peaking at No. 6.

Deal later moved to ABC, running in daytime — and occasionally in primetime — from December 1968 through July 1976, and then in syndication. Other versions of the show have since aired (he returned to emcee a Dick Clark-produced version out of Orlando in the 1990s and did a week of shows in 2010), and Wayne Brady hosts the current edition.

 

During the height of his popularity, Hall was roasted by Dean Martin, guest-starred on such shows as The Odd Couple, That Girl and The Flip Wilson Show and hosted a series of primetime “All-Star Parties” for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood that raised millions of dollars for charities.

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Hall, in fact, was active in a number of charitable organizations and philanthropic endeavors. He served as president of the Variety Clubs International, and children’s wings bear his name at UCLA Medical Center, Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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