ALERT:

live video


'Let's Make a Deal' host, philanthropist Monty Hall dies

Published: Saturday, September 30, 2017 @ 7:12 PM
Updated: Saturday, September 30, 2017 @ 7:11 PM


            FILE - In this March 14, 1993, file photo, Monty Hall, left, recipient of the 2nd Annual George Burns Lifetime Award, laughs with George Burns at the United Jewish Fund tribute to humanitarian Hall, in the Century City section of Los Angeles. Former
FILE - In this March 14, 1993, file photo, Monty Hall, left, recipient of the 2nd Annual George Burns Lifetime Award, laughs with George Burns at the United Jewish Fund tribute to humanitarian Hall, in the Century City section of Los Angeles. Former "Let's Make a Deal" host Hall has died after a long illness at age 96. His daughter Sharon Hall says he died Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Julie Markes, File)

Monty Hall, the genial TV game show host whose long-running "Let's Make a Deal" traded on love of money and merchandise and the mystery of which door had the car behind it, has died. He was 96.

Hall, who had been in poor health, died Saturday morning of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, said his daughter, Sharon Hall of Los Angeles.

"Let's Make a Deal," which Hall co-created, debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1963 and became a TV staple. Through the next four decades, it also aired in prime time, in syndication and, in two brief outings, with hosts other than Hall at the helm.

An episode of "The Odd Couple" featured Felix Unger (Tony Randall) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) as bickering guests on Hall's program.

Contestants were chosen from the studio audience — outlandishly dressed as animals, clowns or cartoon characters to attract the host's attention — and would start the game by trading an item of their own for a prize. 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.

The query "Do you want Door No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3?" became a popular catch phrase, and the chance of winning a new car a matter of primal urgency. Prizes could be a car or a mink coat or a worthless item dubbed a "zonk."

The energetic, quick-thinking Hall, a sight himself with his sideburns and colorful sports coats, was deemed the perfect host in Alex McNeil's reference book, "Total Television."

"Monty kept the show moving while he treated the outrageously garbed and occasionally greedy contestants courteously; it is hard to imagine anyone else but Hall working the trading area as smoothly," McNeil wrote.

For Hall, the interaction was easy.

"I'm a people person," he said on the PBS documentary series "Pioneers of Television." ''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."

The game show gave rise to an academic exercise in which students are asked to weigh this question: In guessing which of three doors might conceal a prize car, and after one is eliminated as a possibility, should you switch your choice to the one you didn't pick?

The puzzle sparked heated exchanges in Marilyn vos Savant's Parade magazine column. (The answer to the Monty Hall Problem, Hall and others said, was yes, take the switch — but only if the contest is set up so the host cannot skew the results by offering some guests the chance to switch doors and not giving others the same option.)

After five years on NBC, "Let's Make a Deal" moved to ABC in 1968 and aired on the network through 1976, including prime-time stints. It went into syndication in the 1970s and 1980s, returning to NBC in 1990-91 and again in 2003. In 2009 it returned on CBS with host Wayne Brady and is still on the air.

His name and show remain part of the language. Typical is the quotation in a 2006 Daytona Beach (Florida) News-Journal profile of a no-nonsense bail bondswoman who says, "I'm not Monty Hall and this isn't 'Let's Make a Deal.' "

Hall also guest-starred in sitcoms and appeared in TV commercials. And with the wealth that the game show brought, he made philanthropy and fundraising his avocation. He spent 200 days a year at it, he said, estimating in the late 1990s that he had coaxed $700 million from donors.

His daughter Sharon estimated that Hall managed to raise nearly $1 billion for charity over his lifetime.

Another daughter, Joanna Gleason, is a longtime Broadway and television actress. She won a Tony in 1988 for best actress in a musical for "Into the Woods" and was nominated for Tonys two other times.

Born Monty Halparin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada, Hall grew up during the Depression. In 1942, Hall was doing manual labor at the time when a wealthy stranger offered to pay for his college education on condition that he repaid the money, got top grades, kept his benefactor's name anonymous and agreed to help someone else.

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

Hall earned a degree from the University of Manitoba with the goal of becoming a physician. He was denied entry to medical school, Hall later said, because he was Jewish and faced quotas limiting the admission of minority students.

"Every poor kid wants to get into some kind of profession, and in my case I wanted to get into medicine to become a doctor. ... My dreams of medicine evaporated," Hall said in a 2002 interview with The Canadian Press.

Instead, he turned to entertainment. He first tested his skills on radio and, after moving to New York in 1955 and later to Los Angeles, began working on a variety of television shows. Among the programs he hosted were "Cowboy Theater" in 1957, "Keep Talking," 1958, and "Video Village" in 1960.

He joined with writer-producer Stefan Hatos to create "Let's Make a Deal."

The show's roots could be found in "The Auctioneer," a game show Hall hosted in Toronto in the 1950s. "The Auctioneer" was a "pretty pedestrian" program until the concluding 10 minutes, when he would barter with audience members, Hall told the Daily Herald of suburban Chicago in 2000.

"It was much more exciting than the first 20 minutes of the show," he recalled.

Besides Hall, the hosts of "Let's Make a Deal" were Bob Hilton (1990) and Billy Bush (2003). But it was Hall who was lastingly identified as "TV's big dealer," as the show put it, something he found at least mildly disconcerting.

When a People magazine interviewer suggested in 1996 that "Let's Make a Deal" would be his epitaph, Hall replied, with a wince: "You put that on my tombstone, and I'll kill you."

However, Sharon Hall said Hall never refused an autograph and used his fame to help others.

His family's financial circumstances and a childhood accident stirred that charitable desire, Hall said.

At age 7, he was severely burned by a pot of boiling water and endured a lengthy recovery.

"When you've been that sick, spent a year out of school, you identify with people who have these ailments and sicknesses," he told the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post in a 2003 interview. "And when you grow up poor, you identify with people in need."

Hall was repeatedly honored for his charity efforts, with awards including the Order of Canada, Order of Manitoba and Variety Clubs International's Humanitarian Award. Wards were named in his honor at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and other medical centers.

Hall and his wife, Marilyn Plottel, married in 1947. She died earlier this year.

In addition to his daughters, Hall is survived by his son, Richard; a brother, Robert Hall of Toronto, Canada, and five grandchildren.

___

Associated Press writer Robert Jablon contributed to this report.

Gender-neutral birth certificate approved in California

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 10:31 AM

California First State to Allow Gender-Neutral Birth Certificate

California has become the first state to allow another gender designation on birth certificates: non-binary. 

Governor Jerry Brown’s signed the bill that will take effect next year, The Sacramento Bee reported.

SB 179 also allows adults to use a gender marker other than “F” or “M” on their driver’s license. California is now only the second state to allow gender-neutral licenses. Oregon is the only other state to allow it, while Washington, D.C. has permitted non-gender specific licenses, WRC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Non-binary will be listed on drivers licenses starting in 2019, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Non-binary is an “umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male,” and includes people who are transgender or born with intersex traits, The Bee reported.

Five people in the country have decided so far to use the designation non-binary as their legal gender. But according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 31 percent of the more than 27,000 people who took part identified themselves as non-binary.

The new law will make it easier for changes to official documents. Currently, anyone who wants to change their gender on their identification has to have a medical certification, but now that rule will be abolished, The Times reported.

Holiday spirit takes on whole new meaning with these ornaments

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 9:55 AM

FILE PHOTO - A woman looks through a glass of whiskey.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO - A woman looks through a glass of whiskey.
(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Cheers to the holidays.

A UK-based distillery has just the decorations you need to get through the tough days of Christmas with the family: liquor-filled ornaments.

>> Read more trending news

Lakes Distillery is offering clear glass ornaments filled with either whisky, gin or vodka.

The baubles, as they are called, run about $26 each or you can get a six-pack for about $46.

The ornaments are only available in the UK, but for those who are more DIY-minded, Insider suggests finding ornaments that can be filled and a liquor of choice to fill the tree with the spirits of Christmas.

Related

National Pasta Day 2017: Deals on pasta from Olive Garden, Maggiano's and more

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

Olive Garden’s ‘Never Ending Pasta Pass’ Is Back

For the pasta lover in your life, today is a special day.

National Pasta Day has dawned across the nation and several Italian restaurants are ready to fill your noodle needs. Which, as it turns out, is a good thing because the National Pasta Association says that Americans eat about 20 pounds of the stuff each year. 

Here are some deals to help you celebrate.

Trump denies telling widow of fallen soldier that her husband 'knew what he signed up for'

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 11:41 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 7:49 AM

Reports: President Trump to Widow of Fallen Soldier, He Knew "What He Signed Up For"

UPDATE, 7:38 a.m. ET Wednesday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to deny reports that he told a fallen soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

The tweet was referring to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who said she heard Trump say the words when he offered his condolences to Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson.

Wilson stood by her remarks. 

"I don't know what kind of proof he's talking about. I'm not the only person that was in the car," Wilson told CNN. "I have proof, too. This man is a sick man and he feels no pity for no one."

ORIGINAL STORY: President Donald Trump reportedly told the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that “he knew what he signed up for...” in a call Tuesday afternoon according to WPLG.

>> Read more trending news

Johnson’s body, one of the four Army servicemen killed in action in Niger on Oct. 4, returned to the United States Tuesday. The flight bearing Johnson’s remains landed at Miami International Airport, according to WPLG.

The plane was met by Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Also present was an honor guard and local politicians.

Trump called Johnson to offer his condolences, telling her that her fallen husband “knew what he signed up for,” adding that “when it happens it hurts anyway,” a congresswoman who said she was present for the call said.

That response is generating some controversy, with some saying the president was unnecessarily callous and blunt. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., said she heard the call with Trump and couldn’t believe her ears.

“It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Also killed in action on Oct. 4 were Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and four soldiers from Niger, according to the New York Daily News. Two other Americans were wounded.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.