"Let's Make a Deal" host Monty Hall passes away at 96

Peter Castro
October 2, 2017

His daughter, Joanna Gleason, confirmed his death saying the cause was heart failure.

An episode of "The Odd Couple" featured Felix Unger (Tony Randall) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) as bickering guests on Hall's program. Sometimes the prizes were a "zonk" - a gag gift such as a live donkey or a wrecked vehicle. After that, it was matter of swapping the prize in hand for others hidden behind doors, curtains or in boxes, presided over by the leggy, smiling Carol Merrill. Prizes could be a auto or a mink coat or a worthless item dubbed a "zonk".

Hall who always appeared as the super active, energetic and quick thinking person is mentioned as the flawless host in the reference book of Alex McNeil, 'Total Television'. He later hosted game shows on WABD-TV and eventually moved to NY City to work on CBS and NBC.

For Hall, the interaction was easy. "And so I don't care if they jump on me, and I don't care if they yell and they fainted - those are my people". At the end of the show the two biggest winners of the day compete for prizes behind three doors. The show drew good ratings even as it jumped from network to network and into syndication. In recent years, "Let's Make a Deal" has undergone a revival featuring Wayne Brady as host. People know he made an impact on the world for hosting "Let's Make a Deal", but many might not know he also made a great impact with his charity work.Statistics indicate that he helped raise almost $1 billion for charity. "There was a time when a farmer won five calves and he wanted the calves".

Hall was born Maurice Halperin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on August 25, 1921. Contestants - wearing insane costumes to attract Hall's attention and get plucked from the crowd - got to choose mystery prizes behind three bedazzled doors.

Hall only revealed the name of the late Max Freed about 30 years later.

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Hall was born in Manitoba, Canada.

In the show, would-be contestants dressed up in wacky outfits to boost their chances of being picked by the soft- spoken Hall from among the audience.

In fact, the term "Come on down" was given new meaning thanks to Hall.

While Hall was the unquestioned master of ceremonies, the real stars of "Let's Make a Deal" were the thousands of frantic, exuberant and impressively festooned contestants he plucked from the audience. He was a member of the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame. He hosted several, over the course of his career, but Let's Make a Deal is what injected him into the cultural ether.

"In 1 percent of the cases, they didn't", Hall said. He was known for charity work for organizations including Variety Clubs International, which raised money for disadvantaged children. Wards were named in his honor at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and other medical centers. He lost his wife, Marilyn, this past June. She died earlier this year.

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