Monty Hall (1923-2017)

Year Born: 
1923
Year Died: 
2017

Pioneer

Hall, Monty (1923- )

Monty Hall gained star status with his wildly successful NBC game show Let's Make a Deal. The high-energy show with costumed contestants gambling known prizes against the unknown was unveiled at the end of December 1963. It ran until 1986 on two U.S. national networks and in syndication.

Monty Hall was the son of Rose and Maurice Halparin in Winnipeg. Both he and his brother Robert changed their names to Hall.

During the Second World War he acted in and hosted army shows. He married his sweetheart, Marilyn, in 1943 and they had three children. At the end of the war he earned a B.Sc. at the University of Manitoba where he also established a reputation as an entertainer in university productions.

He moved to Toronto where he made a living any way he could: by singing, acting, M-Cing and working as a radio announcer, and he even talked his way into a licence for a food stand at the Canadian National Exhibition, which he operated for about four years with a friend and colleague, Wes Cox. Said Wes, Monty could talk his way into anything.

The two had an idea for a radio contest show. "I think it's typical of Monty that he picked up the yellow pages and turned to ad agencies and started to phone. The advertising agency that handled Super Suds bought the show. Who Am I?, a 15-minute show, was produced in the studios of CFRB and was placed on 35 selected stations across Canada. Listeners sent in the top of a Super Suds laundry detergent box for an opportunity to identify a mystery voice. The show pulled in whole rooms full of box tops, which were stashed in three rooms, caught fire and nearly burned down the building that housed the agency. Who Am I? ran from about 1947 - 49.

Monty made his first TV appearance in 1953, hosting a three-week summer program Floor Show Monday nights on CBC. It featured dance bands in a nightclub setting.

He went to New York in 1955 where he appeared for five years on NBC's Monitor with Memo from Monty. Then he moved to CBS - and Hollywood - as MC of Video Village. He sold Your First Impression to NBC and he created the long-running Let's Make a Deal. Wes Cox had moved to the U.S. and joined him there as a writer. When it ended, Monty created several other game shows, guest-starred in a number of TV programs and performed in Las Vegas.

Monty won show-business awards, and his name is on Canada's Walk of Fame on Toronto's King Street while Cathedral City, 160 km east of Los Angeles, has a Monty Hall Drive. But his show biz awards were far eclipsed by more than 500 awards for his charitable work. He travelled Canada, the U.S. and Europe speaking and performing for charity, helping to raise an estimated half billion dollars. He was elected honorary chairman for life of Variety Clubs International, the largest children's charity. A hospital wing at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto was named after him.

 In May 1988, Monty Hall was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada  for his humanitarian work in Canada and other nations of the world.

In 2002, Monty Hall returned to Winnipeg to receive the highest honour the province could bestow - The Order of Manitoba.

On October 13, 2007, Hall was one of the first to be inducted into the  American TV Game Show Hall of Fame, and in 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards show.

Monty Hall died at his home in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday September 30th, at the age of 95, reportedly of heart failure.

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