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‘Let’s Make a Deal’s Monty Hall wanted to be a (Jewish) doctor

(JTA) – Monty Hall, the friendly and engaging host of the long-running television game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” has died.

Hall died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday at the age of 96. He had a heart attack in June shortly after his wife of almost 70 years died, and had been ill ever since.

In addition to hosting, Hall was the co-creator of the game show, in which contestants vie to trade smaller prizes with the host for a chance at something bigger behind a curtain or in a box. At the end of the show, the two biggest winners of the day compete for prizes behind three doors. He reportedly appeared in more than 4,500 episodes of the show, which remains on the air with Wayne Brady as host. He hosted the show for 23 years until 1986, and for a short time in 1991.

Hall received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1973. He received a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmys in 2013.

Hall reportedly was a philanthropist. His family told CNN that he helped to raise close to $1 billion for charity during his life and that he spent about 200 days a year in fundraisers and charitable work. He was awarded the Order of Canada for his humanitarian  work in Canada and other countries and the 2005 Ralph Edwards Service Award from Game Show Congress, in recognition of his years of charitable work.

A dual American and Canadian citizen, Hall was born Monte Halparin in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba to Orthodox Jewish parents, Maurice Harvey Halparin, who owned a slaughterhouse, and Rose Rusen. He wanted to be a doctor, not an actor, but could not get into medical school due to Jewish quotas, according to the CBC.

Hall is survived by his children: actress  Joanna Gleason; Sharon Hall Kessler, head of television at Alcon Entertainment, and Richard Hall, a television producer.

CAP: Monty Hall receives the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards on June 16, 2013 from Wayne Brady, current host of the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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