Monty Hall, ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ Host, Dies at 96
Monty Hall, the emcee, producer, singer and sportscaster best known as the host and co-creator of the influential long-running game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” has died at age 96.
Born Monte Halparin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to an Orthodox Jewish family, Hall began his career in broadcasting on the radio in 1946, but soon moved into the then-nascent television industry. He hosted several pivotal game shows in the 1940s and 50s, among them “Strike It Rich” on CBS, the short-lived CBS game show “Video Village,” and briefly in 1958, NBC’s notorious “Twenty One” (though he was not involved in the contest-rigging scandal for which that show is best known).
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Monty Hall, a television legend who hosted a show and created a format that has entertained audiences for more than 50 years,” said Angelica McDaniel, Executive Vice President, Daytime Programs and Syndicated Program Development, CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Distribution in a statement. “Monty’s infectious enthusiasm, humor and warmth were a winning combination that was evident to everyone he encountered, whether returning to make appearances on the current version of LET’S MAKE A DEAL, or gracing us with his presence at a photo shoot celebrating CBS Daytime earlier this year. On screen, Monty made the ‘Big Deals,’ but in the game of life, he himself was one. Our hearts go out to his children, his entire family and friends.”
Hall moved to California in the early 60s, and developed “Let’s Make a Deal” with his partner, Stefan Hatos. The show, in which audience members make “deals” for cash or prizes, presented contestants with often-difficult choices between cash or an unknown prize behind a closed door. The surprises could be anything from vacation packages and appliance to booby prizes.
“Let’s Make a Deal” ran on NBC from 1963 to 1968, then switched to ABC until 1976. It aired in syndication through 1986 and was briefly revived on NBC in 1990 and again in 2003. It has has aired on CBS since 2009.
Hall hosted the series through its entire original run, and returned briefly in 1991, appearing in front of the camera for over 4,700 episodes.
Hall was also an generous philanthropist. Children’s wings at UCLA Medical Center, Philadelphia’s Hahnemann University Hospital, Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, and Johns Hopkins are named after him, and in 1988 he was inducted into the Order of Canada for his efforts.
Hall is survived by his daughters, son, sons in law, and grandchildren. Hall’s wife of 70 years, Emmy-winning producer Marilyn Hall, died in June.