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LEGENDARY GAME SHOW HOST MONTY HALL PASSES AWAY

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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. 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.”