Arsenio Hall

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Arsenio Hall
Arsenio Hall 2-1.jpg
Hall at a Harlem Globetrotters show in 2008.
BornArsenio Cheron Hall
(1956-02-12) February 12, 1956 (age 58)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian, television host
Years active1979[1]–present
Partner(s)Cheryl Bonacci 1987-2002
ChildrenArsenio Cheron Hall Jr. (b. 1999 with Bonacci)[2]
Official website
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Arsenio Hall
Arsenio Hall 2-1.jpg
Hall at a Harlem Globetrotters show in 2008.
BornArsenio Cheron Hall
(1956-02-12) February 12, 1956 (age 58)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian, television host
Years active1979[1]–present
Partner(s)Cheryl Bonacci 1987-2002
ChildrenArsenio Cheron Hall Jr. (b. 1999 with Bonacci)[2]
Official website

Arsenio Cheron Hall, Sr. (born February 12, 1956)[3] is an American comedian and talk show host. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show,[4] a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and a revival of the same show from 2013-2014.

Other television shows and films Hall has appeared in are Martial Law, Star Search (host), Coming to America (1988) and Harlem Nights (1989). Hall is also known for his appearance as Alan Thicke's sidekick on the talk show Thicke of the Night.

In 2012, Hall was the winning contestant on NBC's reality-competition game show Celebrity Apprentice 5.[5]

Early years[edit]

Arsenio was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Fred and Anne Hall. His father is a Baptist minister.[6] Hall performed as a magician when he was a child. He graduated from Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio in 1973.[7] After he graduated, he attended Ohio University, where he was on the speech team with Nancy Cartwright and Leon Harris.[3] He then transferred to and graduated from Kent State University in 1977.


Hall later moved to Chicago, and then Los Angeles, to pursue a career in comedy, making a couple of appearances on Soul Train. In 1984, he was the announcer/sidekick for Alan Thicke during the short-lived talk show Thicke of the Night (a role for which he has on occasion noted his confusion with Monty Hall). Arsenio was the original voice of Winston Zeddemore in the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters from 1986–1987. In 1988, he co-starred in the comedy film Coming to America with Eddie Murphy.

Talk shows[edit]

In 1986, the Fox network introduced The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, created to directly challenge The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After a moderate start, ratings for the show sagged. Behind-the-scenes relations between Rivers and network executives at Fox quickly eroded, and Rivers left in 1987.[8] The series was subsequently renamed The Late Show, and featured several hosts, including Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Richard Belzer and Robert Townsend before it was cancelled in 1988.[9] Hall was also chosen to host the show in the fall of 1987, and his stint proved to be immensely popular, developing a cult following which eventually led to Hall landing his own show in syndication.[10]

From January 2, 1989 until May 27, 1994, he had a Paramount contract to host a nationwide syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show became a breakout, late-night success, especially rating high among the coveted younger demographic and known for its audience's distinctive alternative to applause: chanting "Roo, Roo, Roo!," while pumping their fists. The practice soon became such a ritual that by 1991 had become a "pop culture stamp of approval" — one that Hall said had become "so popular it's getting on people's nerves."[11] The gesture made it into films of the time: the title character played by Julia Roberts did it in a polo scene in Pretty Woman (1990), and characters played by Penny Marshall and Michael J. Fox did it in The Hard Way.[11] In Disney's Aladdin (1992), the Genie character voiced by Robin Williams performs the gesture while mimicking the physical appearance of Hall. This popular gesture can also be found in the 1993 Mel Brooks' comedy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It was also seen in the movie Passenger 57, in which an old woman confuses the character played by Wesley Snipes with Arsenio Hall. After saving the day, the passengers on the hijacked plane do the gesture toward the protagonist.

He also had a rivalry with Jay Leno, after the latter was named host of The Tonight Show, during which time Hall said that he would "kick Jay's ass" in ratings.[12]

Hall used his fame during this period to help fight worldwide prejudice against HIV/AIDS, after Magic Johnson contracted the disease. Hall and Johnson filmed a PSA about the disease that aired in the early 1990s.[13]

Other television and radio work[edit]

Between 1988—1991, Hall hosted the MTV Video Music Awards.[14] Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on numerous talk shows, in special features, as a voice actor, on game shows and other award shows. Since The Arsenio Hall Show ended, Hall had a leading role on television shows such as the short-lived sitcom Arsenio (1997) and Martial Law with Sammo Hung (1999—2000), as well as hosted the revival of Star Search (2003—2004). While hosting Star Search, he popularized the catchphrase "Hit me with the digits!".

Hall appeared as himself in Chappelle's Show in March 2004, when Chappelle was imagining "what Arsenio is doing right now" in a dinner scene.[15] Hall has guest co-hosted Wednesday evenings on The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KLSX 97.1 FM radio.[16] Hall also hosted MyNetworkTV's comedic web video show The World's Funniest Moments and TV One's 100 Greatest Black Power Moves.[17] Hall also appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher in May 2012, in a discussion commemorating the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[18]

Hall was considered to be the host of the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal and filmed a pilot (there were six taped).[19][20] However, by the time the syndicated series began on September 8, 2008, Howie Mandel was chosen as the host.

He also appeared regularly on The Jay Leno Show, and was a guest on Lopez Tonight.[21] George Lopez credits Arsenio for being the reason he had a late night show; Lopez appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show more times than any other comedian. Lopez requested Hall be a co-host on Lopez Tonight (November 25, 2009) since he regarded Hall as his inspiration and the first "late night party show host".[22][23][24][25][26] Hall has filled-in as guest host for NBC's Access Hollywood Live (2011) and CNN's evening talk/interview program Piers Morgan Tonight in 2012.

In 2012, Hall was a contestant on the fifth edition of The Celebrity Apprentice, which began airing February 19, 2012.[27] Hall represented his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing economic and social equality by engaging minorities in every aspect of their communities; increasing academic and innovative achievement; and raising HIV/AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention. While Hall clashed with Aubrey O'Day, he befriended a majority of the cast.[1][2] On May 20, 2012, in the live season finale, Hall was chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice winner, being "hired" by billionaire real estate investor Donald Trump over the other celebrity finalist, singer Clay Aiken. For winning The Celebrity Apprentice, Hall won the $250,000 grand prize for his charity, in addition to any money he won for his charity for tasks he and his team won when he was a team leader on the show.[28][29][30][31]

A revival of Hall's syndicated late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, premiered September 9, 2013 on Tribune owned stations and other networks via CBS Television Distribution.[32] It was cancelled after one season due to low ratings.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Hall has one son, born in 1999.[34] Since his birth, Hall mostly took time off to raise his son before resuming The Arsenio Hall Show in 2013.[35] Hall had an interest in returning to the business eventually, but his decision wasn't confirmed until he appeared on Lopez Tonight in 2009 (although he initially considered a weekend show because he didn't want to compete in ratings against his friend George Lopez).[36]

According to reports in 2009, Arsenio made it public that he had dated Paula Abdul in the past, dating back to more than 20 years earlier.[37][38]

When asked about his charity selection on The Celebrity Apprentice, Hall said that about a month or so before he agreed to be on the show, his cousin died due to HIV/AIDS.




List of film performances
1987Amazon Women on the MoonApartment Victim
1988Coming to AmericaSemmi/Extremely Ugly Girl/Morris/Reverend Brown
1989Harlem NightsCrying Man
1989Paula Abdul: Straight UpHimself(Video)
1992Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and YouHimself – Host(Video)
2005The Naked Brothers Band: The MovieHimself
2005The Proud Family MovieDr. Carver/Bobby Proud(Voice)
2006Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!Captain Crothers(Voice)
2008IgorCarl Cristall(Voice)
2009Black DynamiteTasty Freeze
2011The Vote-OffHimself(Short)


List of television performances
1981, 1989Soul TrainHimself2 episodes
1982Madame's PlaceHimself
1982Elvira's Movie MacabreDr. Mustapha Abdul Raheem Jamaal X Muhammad/Tyrone
1983The 1/2 Hour Comedy HourHimself – Host
1983–1984Match Game-Hollywood Squares HourHimself
1983–1984Thicke of the NightActor / Himself (1984)
1985The Motown Revue Starring Smokey RobinsonActor / Regular
1985New Love, American StyleActor
1986The New Alfred Hitchcock PresentsCleavon
1986–1987The Real GhostbustersWinston Zeddemore
1987Uptown Comedy ExpressHimself
1987Comedy ClubHimself
1987–1988The Late ShowHimself – Host
1988Solid GoldHimself
1989Comic Relief IIIHimself
1989–1994The Arsenio Hall ShowHimself – Host
1989, 1992Live! with Regis and Kathie LeeHimself2 episodes
1989The Phil Donahue ShowHimself
1990Doogie Howser, M.D.Himself
1991The Howard Stern ShowHimself
1992Ebony/Jet ShowcaseHimself
1992The Jackie Thomas ShowHimself
1994Living SingleHimself
1996–2012The Tonight Show with Jay LenoHimselfMultiple appearances
1996–2008BiographyHimself5 episodes
1997The Rosie O'Donnell ShowHimself
1997ArsenioMichael Atwood
1997Behind the MusicHimself
1997The Chris Rock ShowHimself
1997Muppets TonightHimself
1998Intimate PortraitHimself – Narrator
1998The Magic HourHimself
1998–2000Martial LawTerrell Parker
2000The Norm ShowJoe
2001E! True Hollywood StoryHimself
2002–2003Hollywood SquaresHimself
2003–2004Star SearchHimself – Host
2003Real Time with Bill MaherHimself
2003Tinseltown TVHimself
2004CBS CaresHimself
2004The Wayne Brady ShowHimself
2004Tavis SmileyHimself
2004The Sharon Osbourne ShowHimself
2004Chappelle's ShowHimself
2008–2009The World's Funniest MomentsHimself – Host
2008Pioneers of Television (PBS)Himself2 episodes
2009–2010The Jay Leno ShowHimself – Correspondent
2009Up Close with Carrie KeaganHimself
2009Made in HollywoodHimself
2010, 2012Late Night with Jimmy FallonHimself – Alternate Reality Host2 episodes
2010, 2012Chelsea LatelyHimself (2010) / Soundtrack (2012)
2011Lopez TonightHimself
2011Access Hollywood LiveHimself – Guest Host
2012Inside EditionHimself
2012The Celebrity Apprentice 5HimselfWinner of competition
2012Piers Morgan TonightHimself – Guest Host
2012American MastersHimself
2012The Wendy Williams ShowHimself
2013–2014The Arsenio Hall ShowHimself – Host


  1. ^ "Biography". Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Daly, Sean (February 14, 2012). "Back from the dad". New York Post. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Arsenio Hall at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (December 28, 1990). "Arsenio Hall: One of 1990's great entertainers". Entertainment Weekly. 
  5. ^ Chen, Joyce (May 21, 2012). "‘Celebrity Apprentice’ final recap: Arsenio Hall tops Clay Aiken". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Arsenio Hall Biography". 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  7. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (May 17, 2012). "Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken are this season's 'Celebrity Apprentice' finalists". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ Adams, Guy (October 23, 2010). "Joan Rivers: 'I'm the funniest person performing stand-up today'". The Independent. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ The Late Show at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ Njeri, Itabari (April 16, 1989). "Fresh Talk: 'We Be Havin' a Ball,' Says Arsenio Hall. But Can the Talk-Show Host's Hip New Style Succeed on Late-Night TV?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Diana E. Lundin (April 3, 1991). "Crank It Up!". Los Angeles Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Celebrity Quotes". Entertainment Weekly. February 24, 1995. Retrieved July 17, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Magic Johnson, Arsenio Team Up For Aids Video". Orlando Sentinel. April 19, 1992. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Season 2, Episode 9". Chappelle's Show. March 24, 2004. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tim Conway and Friends". KLSX 97.1. 2008. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008. 
  17. ^ Arsenio Hall Is Back with Two New Shows. November 9, 2008. Retrieved on November 12, 2008.
  18. ^ "Episode 247 of Real Time with Bill Maher". 
  19. ^ Keller, Richard (December 11, 2006). "Howie says no deal to syndicated deal of Deal or no Deal". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Arsenio Hall". Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Arsenio Hall: Credits". Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  22. ^ " – TV Shows – Television Shows – very funny". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  23. ^ Joshua Alston (October 28, 2009). "Wanda Sykes and Late Night TV's New Color Barrier – The Daily Beast". Newsweek. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Topic Galleries – South Florida". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  25. ^ TBS (November 9, 2009). "'Lopez Tonight' aims for 'Arsenio' vibe". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Turner Newsroom: Press Kits:". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ "'Celebrity Apprentice' cast includes Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken". OTRC. 
  28. ^ Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger. "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Aubrey O'Day won't be bullied (that's her job!)". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Aubrey O'Day: Arsenio Hall Called Me "a Whore"". April 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  30. ^ Lou Ferrigno (April 3, 2012). "She's Baaack! Celebrity Apprentice's "Evil" Aubrey O'Day Returns for "Unbelievably Brutal" Episodes". E! Online. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ 65 days ago by Andy Swift. "Aubrey O'Day On 'Celebrity Apprentice' – Will She Win? Feud Details". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 18, 2012). "It’s Official: CBS TV Distribution To Do Late-Night Talk Show With Arsenio Hall; Show Cleared In 52% Of US Via Tribune Deal". Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  33. ^ ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ Canceled After One Season Variety. May 30, 2014
  34. ^ Arsenio Hall on Choosing Fatherhood Over Fame
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Arsenio Hall 'Not Involved Romantically' With Paula Abdul". Access Hollywood. November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Arsenio Hall Reveals Paula Abdul Secrets on 'Lopez Tonight' (VIDEO)". November 30, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Arsenio Hall to get honorary doctorate". The Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1992. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Downtown Julie Brown
MTV Video Music Awards host
1988· 1989· 1990· 1991
Succeeded by
Dana Carvey
Preceded by
John Rich
The Apprentice Winners
Season 12
Succeeded by
Trace Adkins