Monty Hall

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Monty Hall

Monty hall abc tv.JPG
Monty Hall in 1976
Monte Halparin

(1921-08-25)August 25, 1921
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedSeptember 30, 2017(2017-09-30) (aged 96)
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Alma mater University of Manitoba (BS)
OccupationGame show host, producer
Years active1946–2017
(m. 1947;died 2017)
Children3, including Joanna Gleason

Monty Hall OC , OM (born Monte Halparin; August 25, 1921 – September 30, 2017) was a Canadian-American game show host, producer, and philanthropist. [1]


Hall was widely known as the long-running host of Let's Make a Deal [2] and for the puzzle named after him, the Monty Hall problem.

Early life

The handprints of Hall in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park Halperin.JPG
The handprints of Hall in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

Hall was born as Monte Halparin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 25, 1921, [2] to Orthodox Jewish parents Maurice Harvey Halparin, [3] who owned a slaughterhouse, and Rose (née Rusen). [4] He was raised in Winnipeg's north end, [5] where he attended Lord Selkirk School (Elmwood, Winnipeg), and, later St. John's High School. [6] Hall graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba, where he majored in chemistry and zoology. [4] He had hoped to go on to medical school, but was not admitted due to secret quotas restricting the number of Jewish students admitted. [7]


Hall's first radio job was working for CKRC radio in Winnipeg while still a student. He briefly worked for the Canadian Wheat Board after graduating before deciding to pursue a full-time career in broadcasting. [8] He moved to Toronto in 1946 and found a job with radio station CHUM, where management shortened his name to Hall and misspelled his first name as "Monty" on billboards, giving him the stage name "Monty Hall". For the next decade he hosted and produced a number of programs for radio stations in Toronto, as well as Who Am I? on CFRB, [7] which was distributed nationally in Canada through private syndication until 1959. He also had several short-lived programmes on CBC Television after it was launched in 1952, but when they were cancelled and another program he had conceived of was taken away from him, Hall decided he had no future in Canadian television. [9]

Hall moved to New York City in 1955, attempting to break into American broadcasting, but commuted to Toronto several times a month to record episode blocks of Who Am I? [9] In New York, Hall hosted game shows such as Bingo at Home on WABD-TV and guest-hosted more established game shows such as Strike It Rich on CBS and Twenty-One on NBC. [9] He was the host/performer of two local New York City TV film shows for children, Cowboy Theater for WRCA (Channel 4) in 1956 and Fun In the Morning for WNEW (Ch. 5) in the early 1960s. [10] From 1956 to 1960, along with NBC Radio newsman Morgan Beatty, Hall co-hosted the Saturday night segment of the NBC Radio Network weekend program Monitor from 8 p.m. until midnight (EST). [11] At least two recordings of Hall on Monitor are known to exist. [12]

Hall was a radio analyst for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League during the 1959–1960 season. [13]

He succeeded Jack Narz as host of a game show called Video Village , which ran from 1960 to 1962 on CBS. [14] From 1961 to 1962, Hall hosted its spinoff, Video Village Junior, which featured children. [9] After moving to Southern California, Hall became the host of the game show Let's Make a Deal , which he developed and produced with partner Stefan Hatos. [15] Let's Make a Deal aired on NBC daytime from December 30, 1963, to December 27, 1968, and on ABC daytime from December 30, 1968 until July 9, 1976, along with two prime time runs. [10] It aired in syndication from 1971 to 1977, from 1980 to 1981, from 1984 to 1986, and again on NBC briefly from 1990 to 1991, with Hall replacing Bob Hilton, who had been dismissed. [4] He was producer or executive producer of the show through most of its runs. During the show's initial run, Hall appeared alongside model Carol Merrill and announcer Jay Stewart. [4]

Besides Let's Make a Deal, the game show Split Second, which originally ran on ABC from 1972 to 1975 with Tom Kennedy as host, and again in syndication in 1986 with Hall hosting that version, was the only other successful program from Hatos-Hall Productions. [14] In 1975 he published his autobiography, co-authored with Bill Libby called Emcee Monty Hall. Other game shows from Hatos' and Hall's production company included Chain Letter in 1966; a revival of the venerable 1950s-era panel quiz, Masquerade Party in 1974; Three for the Money in 1975; It's Anybody's Guess in 1977, which reunited Let's Make a Deal announcer Jay Stewart with Hall, who also hosted the show, and the Canadian-based The Joke's on Us in 1983. [10] Hall filled in as guest host on several daytime game shows while Let's Make a Deal was on NBC, most notably What's This Song? and PDQ . [15]

In 1979, Hall hosted the only game show since Video Village which he did not produce, Goodson-Todman's All-New Beat the Clock . [14] Also, in 1979, Hall made an appearance on the game show Password Plus as a game show contestant. He appeared as himself on "The Promise Ring" episode of That '70s Show in 2001. [4] He played the host of a beauty pageant who schemed to become "the world's most powerful game show host" in the Disney animated series American Dragon: Jake Long . [14] He appeared on GSN Live on March 14, 2008, and hosted a game of Let's Make a Deal for Good Morning America on August 18, 2008, as part of Game Show Reunion week. [15]

In summer 2009, CBS announced that it was reviving Let's Make a Deal on its daytime schedule. [16] The show premiered on October 5, 2009, with Wayne Brady as host. Hall was credited as "Creative Consultant" until his death in 2017, and remains credited as co-creator of the format (with Stefan Hatos) with Hatos/Hall Productions being credited as co-production company (with Fremantle). Hall made appearances in 2010 and 2013 during the Brady run, and had been part of publicity photos in early 2017 to promote season nine. [16]


Hall spent much of his post-Deal days involved in philanthropic work. His family says he was always going to telethons and helped raise close to $1 billion for charity in his lifetime. [1] Hall was repeatedly honored for his charitable efforts. Wards at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia are named in his honor. [17]


Hall's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Star of Monty Hall.jpg
Hall's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hall received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 24, 1973, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars in 2000, [18] and in 2002, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. [19]

Hall is one of three game show hosts—along with Alex Trebek and Howie Mandel—on both Hollywood's and Canada's Walks of Fame. In May 1988, Her Excellency, Jeanne Sauvé, the Governor-General of Canada appointed him an Officer of the prestigious The Order of Canada for his humanitarian work in Canada and other nations of the world. [7] In 2003, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba appointed him a Member of the Order of Manitoba.

He was the recipient of the 2005 Ralph Edwards Service Award from Game Show Congress, in recognition of all the work the emcee-producer has done for charity through the years. On October 13, 2007, Hall was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hall received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Daytime Emmy Awards. [20]

Personal life

On September 28, 1947, Hall married Marilyn Doreen Plottel (May 17, 1927 – June 5, 2017); the two had been introduced by a mutual cousin, Norman Shnier, the previous year. [21] They later became United States citizens. [2] They had three children: Tony Award–winning actress Joanna Gleason; Sharon Hall Kessler, president of Endemol Shine Studios; and Richard Hall, an Emmy Award–winning television producer. Monty and Marilyn lived in Beverly Hills, California, from 1962 until their deaths; Marilyn predeceased her husband by four months. [22]


Hall died from heart failure on September 30, 2017, at his home in Beverly Hills a little over a month after his 96th birthday. [10] [15] He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery on October 3. [23]

Monty Hall problem

Hall's name is used in a probability puzzle known as the "Monty Hall problem". The name was conceived by statistician Steve Selvin who used the title in describing a probability problem to Scientific American in 1975 based on one of the games on Let's Make a Deal, [24] [25] and more popularized when it was presented in a weekly national newspaper column by Marilyn vos Savant in 1990. [26] [27]

A host ("Monty") provides a player with three doors, one containing a valuable prize and the other two containing a "gag", valueless prize. The contestant is offered a choice of one of the doors without knowledge of the content behind them. "Monty", who knows which door has the prize, opens a door that the player did not select that has a gag prize, and then offers the player the option to switch from their choice to the other remaining unopened door. The probability problem arises from asking if the player should switch to the unrevealed door.

Mathematically, the problem shows that a player switching to the other door has a 2/3 chance of winning under standard conditions, but this is a counterintuitive effect of switching one's choice of doors, and the problem gained wide attention due to conflicting views following vos Savant's publication, with many asserting that the probability of winning had dropped to 1/2 if one switched. A number of other solutions become possible if the problem setup is outside of the "standard conditions" defined by vos Savant - that the host equally selects one of the two gag prize doors if the player had first picked the winning prize, and the offer to switch is always presented.

Hall gave an explanation of the solution to that problem in an interview with The New York Times reporter John Tierney in 1991. [28] In the article, Hall pointed out that because he had control over the way the game progressed, playing on the psychology of the contestant, the theoretical solution did not apply to the show's actual gameplay. He said he was not surprised at the experts' insistence that the probability was 1 out of 2. "That's the same assumption contestants would make on the show after I showed them there was nothing behind one door," he said. "They'd think the odds on their door had now gone up to 1 in 2, so they hated to give up the door no matter how much money I offered. By opening that door we were applying pressure. We called it the Henry James treatment. It was 'The Turn of the Screw.'" Hall clarified that as a game show host he was not required to follow the rules of the puzzle as Marilyn vos Savant often explains in her weekly column in Parade , and did not always have to allow a person the opportunity to switch. For example, he might open their door immediately if it was a losing door, might offer them money to not switch from a losing door to a winning door, or might only allow them the opportunity to switch if they had a winning door. "If the host is required to open a door all the time and offer you a switch, then you should take the switch," he said. "But if he has the choice whether to allow a switch or not, beware. Caveat emptor. It all depends on his mood." [28]

The Monty Hall problem was mentioned in an episode of the first season of the television drama NUMB3RS , in the 2008 movie 21 , in the television Series Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the episode titled the "Skyfire Chronicle", Season 4 Episode 8, and in the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . A detailed explanation and rationale for the solution to this problem is presented in the book The World's 200 Hardest Brainteasers by Gary Gruber. [29] In 2011, it was showcased on an episode of the show MythBusters. [15]

Related Research Articles

Marilyn vos Savant is an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright. She was listed as having the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired. Since 1986, she has written "Ask Marilyn", a Parade magazine Sunday column wherein she solves puzzles and answers questions on various subjects. Among them was a discussion of the Monty Hall problem, to which she postulated an answer in 1990.

<i>Lets Make a Deal</i> American game show

Let's Make a Deal is an American television game show that originated in the United States in 1963 and has since been produced in many countries throughout the world. The program was created and produced by Stefan Hatos and Monty Hall, the latter serving as its host for nearly 30 years.

Howie Mandel Canadian stand-up comedian, television host and actor

Howie Michael Mandel II is a Canadian comedian, television personality, screenwriter, actor, producer, director, entrepreneur, game show host and author. He hosted the CNBC game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. Mandel voiced the pop culture character Gizmo in the 1984 film Gremlins and the 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. In 1987, Mandel starred alongside Amy Steel in the comedy film Walk Like a Man. From 1982 to 1988, Mandel played rowdy ER intern Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. He also created, voiced, and starred in the FOX's children's cartoon Bobby's World, and he judges on NBC's America's Got Talent.

Joanna Gleason is a Canadian actress and singer. She is a Tony Award–winning musical theatre actress and has also had a number of notable film and TV roles. She's known for originating the role of the Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods where she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She is also known for her film work in Mike Nichols' Heartburn (1985), Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997). She is also known for her television roles in shows such as Friends, The West Wing, The Good Wife and The Affair.

The 2nd Daytime Emmy Awards were held on Thursday, May 15, 1975, and broadcast on ABC to commemorate excellence in daytime programming from the previous year (1974). The event was hosted by Monty Hall and Stephanie Edwards. It was uniquely held on board the S.S. Dayliner in the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. It had cast off from New York's Pier 81 with 600 invited guests being accommodated for a luncheon before the awards telecast between 1:30-3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The telecast preempted Let's Make a Deal, The $10,000 Pyramid and The Big Showdown.

The 3rd Daytime Emmy Awards were held Tuesday, May 11, 1976 to commemorate excellence in daytime programming from the previous year (1975). The third awards only had three categories, and thus three awards were given. Hosted by Bob Barker, the telecast aired from 3-4:30 p.m. EST on CBS and preempted reruns of All in the Family, plus Match Game and Tattletales.

Deal or No Deal is the name of several closely related television game shows, the first of which was the Dutch Miljoenenjacht produced by French content production company Banijay. The centerpiece of this format is the final round which is played with up to 26 cases, each containing randomly assigned sums of money. After the player for the case game is determined, this contender claims one case or a box at the start of the game, without its contents being revealed. The contestant then chooses the other cases or boxes, one at a time, to be immediately opened and removed from play. Throughout the game, the player is offered an amount of money or prizes to quit, being asked the titular question, "Deal or no deal?" If the contestant rejects every deal and eliminates all the other cases or boxes, the player keeps the money that was in the original case or box. Thus, the contestant "wins" depending on whether the player should have taken one of the deals or should have held onto the original case or box until the very end.

Jay Stewart American game show announcer

Jay Stewart Fix, known professionally as Jay Stewart, was an American television and radio announcer known primarily for his work on game shows. He was probably best known as the announcer on the long running game show Let's Make a Deal, in which he appeared throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Other shows for which he announced regularly include the Reg Grundy productions Scrabble and Sale of the Century, as well as the Jack Barry-Dan Enright productions The Joker's Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough and Bullseye. Stewart committed suicide in 1989.

<i>Split Second</i> (game show)

Split Second is a game show that was created by Monty Hall and Stefan Hatos and produced by their production company, Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions.

Dennis James

Dennis James was an American television personality, philanthropist, and commercial spokesman. Up until 1976, he had appeared on TV more times and for a longer period than any other television star. Often referred to as "The Dean of Game Show Hosts", he is credited as the host of television's first network game show, the DuMont Network's Cash and Carry (1946).

The Boy or Girl paradox surrounds a set of questions in probability theory, which are also known as The Two Child Problem, Mr. Smith's Children and the Mrs. Smith Problem. The initial formulation of the question dates back to at least 1959, when Martin Gardner featured it in his October 1959 "Mathematical Games column" in Scientific American. He titled it The Two Children Problem, and phrased the paradox as follows:

Bob Stewart (television producer)

Bob Stewart was an American television game show producer. He was active in the TV industry from 1956 until his retirement in 1991.

Monty Hall problem probability puzzle

The Monty Hall problem is a brain teaser, in the form of a probability puzzle, loosely based on the American television game show Let's Make a Deal and named after its original host, Monty Hall. The problem was originally posed in a letter by Steve Selvin to the American Statistician in 1975. It became famous as a question from reader Craig F. Whitaker's letter quoted in Marilyn vos Savant's "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade magazine in 1990:

Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

CBS Daytime is a division within CBS that is responsible for the daytime television block programming on the CBS' late morning and early afternoon schedule. The block has historically encompassed soap operas and game shows.

Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions was a television production company responsible for producing several American game shows in the 1970s and 1980s. The company is best known for its hit series Let's Make a Deal, which aired in several company-produced iterations off and on between 1963 and 1986.

Hidden Faces is an American soap opera that aired on NBC from December 30, 1968 to June 27, 1969. The series was created by Irving Vendig, who also created the serial The Edge of Night. The serial focused on a law firm that was dealing with a high profile murder case throughout its 127-episode run; the main romantic angle had the firm's senior partner, Arthur Adams, becoming involved with client Kate Logan, a female surgeon accused of murder, which Adams and partner Nick Turner acquitted her of. Charles Fisher was the producer of the program, which was an in-house NBC production.

<i>Its Anybodys Guess</i>

It's Anybody's Guess is an American game show broadcast on NBC from June 13 to September 30, 1977. Monty Hall hosted the show while Jay Stewart was the announcer. Produced by Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions, it was Hall's first time hosting a show other than Let's Make a Deal since 1962, when he hosted Video Village.

<i>It Could Be You</i>

It Could Be You is a television game show produced by Ralph Edwards Productions in the late 1950s in the United States, broadcast daily in the weekday daytime schedule for five years 1956–1961, and weekly in the evening on-and-off over three years 1958–1961. Bill Leyden was the host, and Wendell Niles was the announcer.

Steve Selvin is an American statistician who is a professor emeritus of biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Marilyn Hall

Marilyn Hall was a Canadian television and theatre producer, as well as a television writer. She also wrote songs, a cookbook and book reviews. She supported many charities, including Jewish causes in the United States and Israel.


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Preceded by
Host of Let's Make a Deal
Succeeded by
Bob Hilton
Preceded by
Gene Wood
Host of Beat the Clock
Succeeded by
Gary Kroeger
Preceded by
Tom Kennedy
Host of Split Second
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bob Hilton
Host of Let's Make a Deal
Succeeded by
Billy Bush