TV Icon Beloved By Millions Passes Away (Photo)
Monty Hall, the television deal-maker and philanthropist, died from heart failure. He was 96 years old.
Hall entertained the baby boomer generation as one of the first TV game show hosts. He was co-creator and host of “Let’s Make a Deal,” which ran in the 1960s and ’70s.
During the height of his popularity, Hall hosted a series of prime time “All-Star Parties” for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood that raised millions of dollars for charities, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Canada presented him with its esteemed Order of Canada award in 1988 for his humanitarian efforts. Hall immigrated to the U.S. from Canada following his service in World War II.
During his lifetime, Hall raised almost $1 billion for charity, according to a biography by his alma mater, the University of Manitoba.
He was sick as a child and the experience encouraged him to want to help others reports the Los Angeles Times. He looked up to his mother and was inspired by her, because she raised money for those in need even though we “didn’t have two nickels to rub together,” he often said.
Hall traveled extensively, often serving as toastmaster at events for Variety Club, a children’s charity with chapters around the world, and raised money for universities and hospitals in Israel, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The entertainment in “Let’s Make a Deal” relied on the element of surprise and, as it grew, the more strange it became. Not only with the extravagant clothing the audience members wore in hopes to “strike a deal” but with the show’s antics as well.
“You get some strange moments,” Hall said in 2009, reports The New York Times. He recalled the day a contestant was surprised when he chose a curtain behind which he hoped would be a car.
“It was an elephant,” Hall continued. “It freaked — ran backstage, down a ramp and out into the streets of L.A. That’s probably the wildest moment.”
He was honorary mayor of Hollywood for 10 years before Johnny Grant replaced him in 1980.
His show was the inspiration for a head-scratching math problem and was named after him and is described in the book, “The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math’s Most Contentious Brain Tease.”
The problem is a tricky one: “Imagine that you face three doors, behind one of which is a prize. You choose one but do not open it. The host — call him Monty Hall — opens a different door, always choosing one he knows to be empty. Left with two doors, will you do better by sticking with your first choice, or by switching to the other remaining door?”
Hall is survived by two daughters, Joanna Gleason, a Tony Award-winning actress, and Sharon Hall, a television executive; a son, Richard, a producer who won an Emmy for “The Amazing Race”; a brother, Robert Hall, a lawyer; and five grandchildren, reports The New York Times. His wife of almost 70 years, the former Marilyn Plottel, an Emmy Award-winning television producer, died in June.