HALL, MONTE (b. 1923)
Monte Hall, television celebrity and noted philanthropist, was born in Winnipeg on August 25, 1923, and brought up in the close-knit Jewish community there. His maternal grandfather migrated from the village of Poveltch in the Ukraine, stepping off the train in Winnipeg in 1901. Within a few years he had built a successful fruit and vegetable business. Hall traces his strong Jewish roots to lessons learned in his grandfather's home and to the example of his mother, a leading figure among Canadian Jewry. He believes that his Jewish upbringing in his grandfather's home–a home filled with four generations of relatives–gave him the sense of humor that prepared him for his show-business career.
While a student at the University of Manitoba in the early 1940s, Hall acted in musical and dramatic productions and served as a host of Canadian army shows. After graduation with a bachelor of science degree in 1945, he moved to Toronto and continued his career as an actor, emcee, and sportscaster. In New York from 1955 to 1960 he was emcee of NBC's radio show Monitor. Hall's big break came in Hollywood in 1963, when he and coproducer Stefan Hatos put together Let's Make a Deal, the game show where contestants from the audience dressed in outrageous costumes to get Hall's attention and offered items they had brought with them in exchange for valuable or nonsense prizes hidden in boxes behind a curtain. With Hall as the amiable host, Let's Make a Deal ran from 1963 to 1968 on NBC, from 1968 to 1976 on ABC, and briefly again on NBC in 1990-91.
Hall has also devoted his time to myriad charitable and philanthropic endeavors. He was recognized for this work in 1988, when he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's most prestigious award. Honorary degrees at the Universities of Manitoba (1987) and Haifa (1989) and at the Hahneman College of Medicine (1988) as well as induction into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1995) also attest to Monte Hall's lifetime achievements.
David J. Wishart University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hall, Monte. "My Canadian Jewish Childhood." Western States Jewish History 26 (1994): 101–11.