Born in Canada on November 29, 1955, Howie Mandel is a popular actor, comedian and television personality. Mandel caught his big acting break in the early 1980s, when he landed a role on the drama series St. Elsewhere. He went on to create the hit children's cartoon series Bobby's World, and later became host of the popular show Deal or No Deal.
Popular comedian and television host Howie Mandel was born Howard Michael Mandel on November 29, 1955, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The son of a lighting manufacturer and a realtor, Mandel was a class clown growing up. He was especially fond of staging pranks on friends and family.
His antics got him expelled from three high schools. After earning a high school equivalency diploma, Mandel started out as a door-to-door carpet salesman. He was good at his work and grew the business, turning it into a successful retail operation with two stores. On a business trip to Los Angeles in 1979, however, his life changed forever. Mandel decided to put his comic talents to the test at the Comedy Store’s amateur night. He did well enough to impress a television producer, who hired him to appear on the comedy game show Make Me Laugh.
More offers for the rising comedic star soon followed. He served as the opening act for singer and performer Diana Ross's Las Vegas show, and eventually landed a role on the critically acclaimed drama St. Elsewhere. Debuting in 1982, the series was set at St. Eligius, a rundown urban hospital. It was one of the first shows to portray medical cases and techniques in a realistic, gritty manner. Mandel played offbeat emergency room doctor Wayne Fiscus on the series, which also featured William Daniels, Ed Begley Jr., Denzel Washington and David Morse.
In addition to working on St. Elsewhere, Mandel continued to do stand-up comedy as well as voiceover work. He was the voice behind the creature Gizmo in the hit film Gremlins (1984) and its sequel Gremlins II: The New Batch (1990). Mandel also voiced several characters in the animated children show Muppet Babies.
Not long after St. Elsewhere ended in 1988, Mandel tried his hand at sitcoms. His first comedic role was as a con man who ran a funeral home in Good Grief! The series only lasted a season before its cancellation in 1991. Around the same time, Mandel found greater success in the world of children’s television. He created the popular animated series Bobby’s World, which ran on FOX from 1990 to 1998. In addition to serving as the writer and executive producer for the show, Mandel voiced several characters, including Bobby, an imaginative and inventive 4-year-old who has all sorts of adventures.
Taking on a new challenge, Mandel became a television talk show host in 1997. The Howie Mandel Show received mixed reviews from critics, but stayed on the air for two seasons before its cancellation in 1999. He featured his love of pranks in his next television project, Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance, which aired on the Bravo cable network. The show mixed video segments of Mandel on hidden camera, annoying average people, with comedic scenes based on his own life.
'Deal or No Deal'
In December 2005, Mandel became the game show host of the instant television hit Deal or No Deal. The show offered contestants the option of winning $1 million, depending on which suitcases they select. Mandel told People magazine in 2006, "Ultimately their choices could change their lives. It's heart-wrenching ... I want them to win. But I don't know what case holds what. All I can do is point out their odds."
For a time, Deal or No Deal aired several nights a week on primetime TV. Mandel earned the first Emmy Award nomination of his career for his work on the show in 2008.
In 2009, Mandel shared his personal struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in his best-selling memoir, Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me. He landed a new primetime television gig as a judge on the popular variety competition America's Got Talent the following year, working alongside Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern.
Continuing to expand his work in television, Mandel became the executive producer and host of Mobbed in 2011. This offbeat series used hidden cameras and flash mobs to explore different true-life stories. He then merged his loves for interacting with the public and practical jokes with the hidden-camera show Deal with It.
Despite his television success, Mandel has never abandoned his first love—comedy. He manages to perform annually throughout the United States and Canada. Mandel lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Terry. The couple has three children.
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