Iconic American Entertainer, Monty Hall, Dead at 96

Iconic American entertainer Monty Hall has died at age 96 due to heart failure. Hall was best known as the host of the show “Lets Make a Deal:”

Monty Hall, the television icon who was co-creator and the first host of “Let’s Make a Deal,” died at his home in Beverly Hills on Saturday due to heart failure, his daughter, Joanna Gleason, has confirmed to the New York Times. He was 96.

“He was the greatest father on the planet,” she told CNN. “He was the dad who called every single night to see how your day was and never tired of hearing the details. He lived for his family.”

Monty Hall hosted the first version of the popular game show, on which contestants dressed in costumes and often won prizes behind one of three doors. The show premiered in the mid-1960s and a version of the show starring Wayne Brady is still on the air.

Hall was born Maurice Halperin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on Aug. 25, 1921.

The New York Daily News has more on Hall’s long and illustrious career:

The smooth-voiced Hall started his career in radio in Winnipeg — after a childhood spent working in his father’s butcher shop and also in a clothing factory for $9 a week.

After developing a taste for applause while appearing in college musicals, Hall moved to Toronto, where he picked up more radio work and did what he could to break into acting and singing.

Not long after that job ended in 1960, Hall moved his family to Hollywood.

It was while working as the host of “Video Village,” a CBS-TV game show, that Hall and his collaborator Stefan Hatos came up with the idea for “Let’s Make a Deal.”

The zany show challenged guests picked from the audience to strike deals with Hall — trading something they had brought with them for another mystery item tucked out of sight.

Frequently the hidden item — usually revealed when Hall pulled back a big curtain — was a household appliance like a dishwasher or refrigerator.

Contestants who made a bad deal got “zonked,” as the show called it.

But those who traded well got a shot at being one of two contestants to go for the Big Deal — which came at the end of the show.

In one of the signature lines of “Let’s Make a Deal,” Hall would ask the two final competitors if they wanted to surrender their winnings for a chance to choose between “door number one, door number two, or door number three.”

“Let’s Make a Deal” challenged guests picked from the audience to strike deals with host Monty Hall (right).

Often the Big Deal was an expensive vacation or a new car — but sometimes contestants gambled it all and got next to nothing in return.

Potential contestants did all kinds of crazy things for a chance to compete — including dressing up in bizarre garb.

Hall and Hatos didn’t originally plan for outlandish costumes. But as the show grew in popularity, audience members discovered it was a wonderful way to catch Hall’s eye.

Hall stayed with “Let’s Make a Deal” when it moved from NBC to ABC and into syndication.

Its daytime run ended in 1976, but it ran at night for another year, and then returned every once in a while through the 1980s and 1990s

Monty Hall was an iconic American entertainer and he will be missed.