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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

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.

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First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:10 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:10 PM

First lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday, June 21, 2018, to visit the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center and the Upbring New Hope Children Center run by the Lutheran Social Services of the South.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
First lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday, June 21, 2018, to visit the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center and the Upbring New Hope Children Center run by the Lutheran Social Services of the South.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to Texas on Thursday, one day after her husband signed an executive order ending his administration’s controversial policy of separating migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> Read more trending news

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump was criticized for the coat she chose to wear while boarding the plane en route to McAllen on Thursday morning.

Her spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that the first lady wore an olive green jacket that said on the back "I really don't care. Do U?"

"It's a jacket. There was no hidden message," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, told reporters. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on."

Original report: The first lady toured a pair of facilities for migrant children, including the Upbring New Hope Children's Center. The facility is holding 55 children, officials said.

 

Trump thanked employees of the children’s center and said she wanted to “help to get these children reunited with their families as quickly as possible.”

 

In a statement released Thursday, the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said Trump was visiting a customs and border patrol processing center and a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the U.S. illegally.

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

“Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social service providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families,” Grisham said.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations 

Trump previously said in a statement through Grisham that she “hates to see children separated from their families.”

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," Grisham said, according to CNN.

Watch Video from Inside the Border Protection's Processing Detention Center in Texas

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Wyoming family reunited 3 years later with dog who went missing in Iowa

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:07 PM

Ginger, a red heeler dog, was reunited with her family after being missing for three years. (Photo by Kandi Glick)
Kandi Glick
Ginger, a red heeler dog, was reunited with her family after being missing for three years. (Photo by Kandi Glick)(Kandi Glick)

A Wyoming family was reunited with a dog who went missing in Idaho nearly three years ago.

KSFY reported that the George family’s dog, Ginger, went missing in Burlington, Iowa, in August 2015.

Jennifer George, of Ucross, Wyoming, was visiting her husband BJ while he was on a business trip in Iowa and took their family dog with her to avoid leaving her in a kennel when Ginger got loose and went missing.

>> Read more trending news 

George stayed behind after the trip to look for Ginger, who originally belonged to her late mother. Despite spending hundreds of dollars on ads and signs, she came up with nothing.

Three years later, Des Moines County Humane Society director Kandi Glick responded to calls about a loose dog near a car wash. 

“We started getting a lot of calls saying there was a dog running loose in town,” Glick told KSFY. “People said they saw a deceased dog, so I’d go to the spot where they'd say it was, and it wouldn't be there.”

Glick said the dog was seen hundreds of times to the point that residents thought she belonged to someone in the neighborhood behind the car wash, but she had been living in the woods near the facility.

Glick set up a trap on June 8 and, according to a Facebook post, was able to rescue the red heeler. 

“This is really funny to say, but McDonald's saved her life. People dumped food at the car wash and its McDonald's, its Taco Bell, its Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived. We don’t know how she did it.

“Just for the record, the shelter does not have anything to do with the trapping of animals. This is something that I do on my own to help animals and people outside of my job at the Des Moines County Humane Society. I featured the post on our page more as an informational piece so people knew that this dog was finally caught. She has been spotted hundreds of times over the last three years.”

The dog, who Glick named Hope, was photographed and posted on missing pets sites. Word got around, and some people recalled a dog that went missing in the area three years ago. Glick was able to contact the Georges and send them footage of Ginger.

“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn't look like the same dog,” Glick said.

A good wash and haircut revealed the purple and lime green collar Ginger had on when she went missing. Although faded, it was recognizable. They new it was Ginger.

Jennifer George and her 10-year-old daughter, Samantha, drove through a hail storm to meet Glick and Ginger halfway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to reunite.

Although she was confused at first, Ginger soon recognized Samantha and cozied up to Jennifer George.

Because she was out on the street for so long, Ginger is heartworm positive. The family will be paying for the treatment in Wyoming.

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House defeats one GOP immigration bill, delays vote on second plan

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:04 PM

Struggling to find consensus on immigration reform, the House on Thursday rejected a more conservative Republican immigration reform bill, and then in a bid to salvage the effort, GOP leaders delayed action on a second immigration reform measure until Friday.

41 House Republicans voted against the first GOP bill, which was defeated on a vote of 231-193, as the plan received more votes than most GOP lawmakers had expected.

The Republicans who voted against the first GOP bill were a mixture of the Republican Party’s different flanks, featuring more conservative lawmakers who wanted to do more, and moderates who felt it went too far.

“This is a difficult issue,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who voted for this bill, but wouldn’t tell reporters whether he would support a second measure on Friday.

“Any jot or tittle one way or the other, you lose people because of the complexities, because of the sensitivities, and the emotions in this particular piece of legislation,” Meadows said.

Here is the list of the 41 Republicans who voted “No.”

One of the reasons more moderate Republicans voted against the first bill was because of the lack of a path to citizenship for younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.

While that is in the bill to be voted on Friday, those provisions then could cause some other Republicans to vote against it, arguing it is nothing but amnesty.

“I’m a big fat no, capital letters” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), after the first vote.

“It doesn’t do anything to stop illegal immigration,” Barletta added.

In debate on the House floor, Democrats focused mainly on the more recent immigration battle over the separation of illegal immigrant families, blaming President Donald Trump for doing little to seek compromise.

“On this issue, God is going to judge you as well,” said Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) said to Republicans who were backing the President’s get-tough effort on the border.

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Trump pushes for reform as House delays immigration vote

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 2:45 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 2:45 PM

Watch – President Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Migrant Family Separations

Lawmakers delayed a planned vote on a Republican immigration reform bill Thursday after a separate, more conservative immigration bill failed to pass the House of Representatives.

>> Read more trending news

President Donald Trump invited Democratic leaders to the White House earlier Thursday as he continued to push for Congress to address immigration.

"We should be able to do a bill,” Trump said. "I'd invite them to come to the White House any time they want. This afternoon would be good. After the Cabinet meeting would be good."

>> What does the new executive order on immigration do; can migrants be held indefinitely?

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 21:  The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to change the rules around the detention of child migrants one day after the president ended his administration’s policy of children from parents at the border, The Associated Press reported.

Officials aim to change rules governed by the Flores settlement, which requires the government to release children from custody after 20 days to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference.

>> Time cover: Photo of little girl crying at border, Trump illustrates immigration debate

The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally.

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT June 21: The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected one of two proposed GOP immigration reform bills, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Meanwhile, aides said the House will wait until Friday to vote on a second immigration bill, The Associated Press reported.

Update 1:18 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump discussed the need for immigration reform during a cabinet meeting Thursday, citing national security concerns.

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 21: First lady Melania Trump is making an unannounced visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

Melania Trump was in Texas on Thursday morning and planned to tour two facilities holding child immigrants, CNN reported.

She previously spoke out against the policy of separating migrant children and parents at the border.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, according to CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

The Trump administration policy was ended Wednesday by an executive order from the president.

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT June 21: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called a pair of proposed Republican immigration reform bills a “compromise with the devil.”

She said that the bills make Republicans complicit in Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy, which directs prosecutors to pursue cases against any person suspected of coming to the country illegally, resulted in the separation of hundreds of children from their parents at the border.

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT June 21: House Speaker Paul Ryan said officials are working on reuniting families that have been separated in recent weeks at the border.

“I believe (the Department of Homeland Security) is working on that,” Ryan said Thursday at a news briefing. “We obviously want to have families reunited.”

>> Airlines taking stand in immigration crisis, refusing to fly separated migrant children

He said DHS officials are working with the Department of Health and Human Services to bring the families back together.

“What we’re trying to do is put the families at the head of the queue so they can be adjudicated faster,” he said.

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents were separated from their children as they faced prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

>> First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

Trump ended the policy Wednesday with an executive order days after he first started calling on Congress to stop the separations through legislation.

The House is set to vote Thursday on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills, although neither appeared likely to succeed.

Original report: “The Border has been a big mess and problem for many years,” Trump wrote. “At some point (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi, who are weak on Crime and Border security, will be forced to do a real deal, so easy, that solves this long time problem.”

The president’s tweet comes one day after he ended his administration’s much-derided policy of separating migrant children from parents at the border and as the House readies to debate and vote on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations

It was not immediately clear whether the bills would be successful. House Republican leaders were still trying Thursday morning to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP, although the measure is unlikely to pick up much, if any, Democratic support.

 >> From Jamie Dupree: House to vote on two GOP immigration bills – both may fail

Ahead of the planned vote, the president accused Democrats of “only looking to Obstruct” the immigration bills in order to gain political clout ahead of the mid-term elections.

“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms),” Trump wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!”

>> Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order

Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents suspected of coming to the country illegally at the border. The controversial policy was a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement push announced in April.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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