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'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.

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.

Pastor runs past firefighters to be with woman who fell down 50 foot cliff

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 11:01 PM

A woman in her 70s fell from a 50 foot cliff. (Photo: Fox23.com)
A woman in her 70s fell from a 50 foot cliff. (Photo: Fox23.com)

An older woman is recovering after falling about 50 feet off a cliff in rural Claremore, firefighters said.

A family friend said the woman, who is in her 70s, was dumping out some leaves when she slipped and fell behind her home.

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Multiple agencies spent about 90 minutes rescuing her while a medical helicopter waited nearby.

Firefighters said the woman was alert and talking when she was rescued. She was taken to a Tulsa hospital where she is recovering from bruises, a broken arm and a couple of broken ribs.

Pastor David Mewbourne of Claremore Assembly of God, the woman's pastor of 14 years, said he ran past firefighters and climbed down the cliff to keep her company while they worked on a way to rescue her safely.

Mewbourne said a tree was the only thing that kept her from going into the Verdigris River.


New father accused of selling heroin from maternity ward

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 10:24 PM

Cody Hulse. (Photo: WPXI.com)
Cody Hulse. (Photo: WPXI.com)

A new dad is accused of selling heroin from his family's room in the maternity ward.

Cody Hulse's child was born Thursday and police say a few hours later, Hulse was arrested on accusations he was selling heroin out of the maternity ward. 

Only Channel 11 was there as Hulse faced a judge Friday.

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On his way to jail, Channel 11 asked him what he had to say about the allegations.

"I have an addiction problem," Hulse said. "I do." 

Police say they stopped a car on North Main Street and could see heroin bags in plain sight.

They asked the person where they got the drugs, which led officers to Room 511 of the maternity ward of Excela Health Westmoreland. 

They found Hulse inside his girlfriend's room. 

They say he cooperated and told them he sold heroin to people who visited the room earlier that day.

Inside his pocket, police say they found 34 bags of heroin, needles, rubber bands and a spoon. 

Channel 11 contacted Excela Health about the arrest and whether there's anything the hospital can do to prevent something like this from happening again.

A spokesperson told Channel 11, "We appreciate the efforts of the city of Greensburg Police Department. Excela Health's security team works cooperatively with local and state law enforcement on an ongoing basis to help insure our health care is delivered in a safe environment for patients, visitors and employees."

The baby's mother denied knowing he had heroin in the room, but said she knew Hulse had issues with heroin in the past.

Embracing bodies found in national park died in ‘sympathetic murder-suicide’

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 10:03 PM

Embracing Bodies Identified As Missing Hikers

The bodies of a couple embracing each other discovered at Joshua Tree National Park likely died in a “sympathetic murder-suicide” while they were lost amid the desert’s boiling heat. 

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Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, had been missing for nearly three months after going for a hike in late July. 

Crews spent more than 2,100 hours scouring the rugged terrain before finding their bodies in a canyon Oct. 15.

This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso, as they seek the public's help in locating them. The father of Orbeso, a missing California man, says he believes the bodies of his son and his son's girlfriend, Nguyen, have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., near the area where the couple vanished while hiking nearly three months ago. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the bodies discovered Sunday in the desert park. (National Park Service via AP)(AP)

Autopsies found both had gunshot wounds and evidence at the scene led detectives to believe Orbeso shot Nguyen and then himself, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Friday.

The bodies were under a tree, with clothing covering their legs to protect them from the sun. They appeared to have been rationing food and had no water.

"We hold no grudges against Joseph or the Orbeso family," Nguyen’s family members said in a statement. "We thank God that we'll be able to give Rachel a proper burial and lay her to rest."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hippo photo bombs engagement proposal

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 8:42 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Fiona, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s beloved baby hippopotamus, helped celebrate the engagement of #TeamFiona fans.

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The couple were in line to snap a picture on their one-year anniversary earlier this month when Nick Kelble surprised Hayley Roll by getting down on one knee and proposing while Fiona photo-bombed the special moment at the zoo’s Hippo Cove.

Kelble, a University of Cincinnati student, and Roll, a recent Bowling Green State University grad and radiology tech at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, have loved Fiona from the start, our media partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

“We are huge #TeamFiona fans and have been following her since she was born,” Roll said, WCPO reported. “We’re so happy Fiona could be there on our special day. Here’s to many more years of going to zoos with you,” Roll posted on Instagram.

One zoo staff member cropped the photo and quipped that Fiona thinks she’s the one getting engaged. Another said Fiona would need a much bigger ring for one of her toes.