Monty Hall Dies; 'Let's Make A Deal' Host Was 97

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Hall died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday at the age of 96.

Born in Manitoba, Canada, Hall obtained a chemistry degree from the University of Manitoba. Hall hosted the show for 23 years until 1986, and for a short time in 1991.

Hall recalled in a 2013 interview that when the show began, audience members arrived buttoned down in formal suits and dresses.

Let's Make a Deal has aired more or less continuously since its debut, on different networks, in daytime and nighttime versions, and in syndication.

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 hide a prize auto, and after one is eliminated as a possibility, should you switch your choice to the one you didn't pick? But bitten by the stage bug thanks to appearances in student shows, he left for NY.

Bob Hilton became host of the show in 1990 with Billy Bush taking over in 2003.

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The host always made this scene feel as if those watching both at home and in the audience were at a carnival side show or a quick moving auction driven by a loud and energetic barker.

The late TV presenter also created and produced the show, along with Stefan Hatos. He hosted several, over the course of his career, but Let's Make a Deal is what injected him into the cultural ether. 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.

Hall was involved in Let's Make a Deal to the end, both an owner of the show and an occasional guest.

"In 1 percent of the cases, they didn't", Hall said. He was known for charity work for organizations including Variety Clubs International, which raised money for disadvantaged children.

He is survived by two daughters, a son, a brother and 5 grandchildren.

Hall and his wife, Marilyn Plottel, married in 1947.

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