Who Was Monty Hall?
Born August 25, 1921, Monty (Halperin) Hall moved to the U.S. in 1955. He worked as a host of TV shows such as Cowboy Theater and Video Village. In 1963, he created the popular trading game show Let's Make a Deal, which spawned a mathematical probability puzzle, the "Monty Hall Problem." After 23 years with the show, Hall retired to focus on fund-raising for various charities.
Game show host and producer Monty Halperin was born on August 25, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The son of a poor butcher, Hall worked at a series of menial jobs until a local businessman loaned him the money that allowed him to earn a degree from the University of Manitoba in 1945. He served in the Canadian Army during World War II and emceed a series of Army shows as part of his military duties.
'Let's Make a Deal'
After immigrating to the United States in 1955, Hall worked on NBC radio and NBC television as an anchor and monitor from 1955 to 1960 and as the host and narrator of NBC's Cowboy Theater from 1956 to 1957. He also emceed the CBS programs Keep Talking and Video Village in 1958 and 1960.
In 1963, Hall began his duties as the host of Let's Make a Deal, a game show he co-created that aired on all three major American networks at different times during the next 23 years, with a hiatus from 1977-1980 and 1981-1984. The show, which famously asked contestants "Will you take the box or go for what's behind the curtain?" and asked them to look behind "Door Number One, Door Number Two, or Door Number Three," consistently ranked among TV's most popular programs.
With its tremendous success, Let's Make a Deal unexpectedly spawned a mathematical conundrum dubbed the "Three Door Puzzle" or the "Monty Hall Problem," as mathematicians used the show to illustrate an a apparently counter-intuitive conclusion about probabilities.
The success of Let's Make a Deal transformed the poor Canadian butcher's son into a famous, wealthy television performer and producer. Hall continued to make various appearances as an emcee until 1991, when he retired from his hosting duties; since then, he has appeared in various commercials and on the sitcom The Nanny.
Hall also focused on his prodigious fund-raising efforts. He made over 100 appearances every year in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom to raise money "for causes ranging from the Variety Clubs International to the Muscular Dystrophy Association."
Personal Life & Death
Hall lived in Beverly Hills with his wife Marilyn, whom he married in 1947. They had three grown children. Joanna Gleason, Hall's daughter, is a stage, film, and TV actress who won a Tony Award in 1987, for Best Actress in a Musical, for her role in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine production of Into the Woods. Gleason also had a recurring role on the NBC medical drama E.R. in 1996 and turned in a memorable performance as Mark Wahlberg's bitter and abusive mother in the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights (1997).
Hall died as a result of heart failure on September 30, 2017, at the age of 96.
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