Monty Hall, center, and announcer Jay Stewart, right, with a contestant on “Let’s Make a Deal”: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) — Monty Hall, the co-creator and longtime host of the classic TV game show Let’s Make a Deal, has died at age 96.  Hall’s family confirmed his death from heart failure to ABC News.

Born in Canada, Hall earned a college degree in zoology and biology but instead began his career in radio, moving to television in 1960.

Let’s Make a Deal premiered in 1963 on NBC.  Aided by model Carol Merrill and announcer Jay Stewart, Hall wandered the studio, giving modest prizes or cash to audience members and then offering them the chance to trade their prize for a potentially better deal, sight unseen.  Some deals resulted in better prizes, and some didn’t, meaning the player got “zonked.” 

The highlight was when a contestant was offered a choice of prizes hidden behind one of three on-stage doors — “door number one, door number two or door number three” became a national catch phrase.  After choosing a door, contestants were usually shown a dud prize behind one of the two doors they didn’t choose, and then offered the opportunity to change their choice to the other remaining door.  The odds of increasing your chances of winning a good prize by switching doors — the math shows its best to stick with your original choice — became a popular probability puzzle known as the Monty Hall Problem. 

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.  Wayne Brady has hosted the latest incarnation of the show on CBS since 2009.

Hall also co-created and produced the 1970s TV game show Split Second, hosted by Tom Kennedy. 

Hall’s wife, Marilyn, died last June.  September 28 would have been their 70th wedding anniversary.  They had three children, including actress Joanna Gleason.

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Source: General Entertainment