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Arsenio Hall

Hall at the 1989 Emmy Awards
Born February 12, 1956 (1956-02-12) (age 54)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1982–present
Official website

Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1956)[1][citation needed] is an American actor, comedian, and former talk show host. He is best known for his talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, which ran between 1989 and 1994, and his roles in the films Coming to America and Harlem Nights.


Early years

Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Anne and Fred Hall, a Baptist minister.[2] Hall performed as a magician when he was a child. He attended Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. After he graduated, he attended Ohio University, where he was on the speech team with future actress (and the voice of Bart Simpson) Nancy Cartwright and future news anchor Leon Harris.[citation needed] He then transferred to Kent State University.


He later moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Hall 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 Murphy. In 1984, he was also the announcer/sidekick for Alan Thicke during the ill-fated talk show Thicke of the Night.

Talk shows

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,[citation needed] and Rivers left in 1987. Renamed The Late Show, it featured several hosts including Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Richard Belzer, and Robert Townsend before it was cancelled in 1988. Hall was chosen to host the show in the fall of 1987, and proved to be immensely popular.[3]

From January 2, 1989 until May 27, 1994, he hosted a syndicated late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show became known for its audience's distinctive alternative to applause: barking while pumping/cranking 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."[4] The gesture made it into films of the time: the title character played by Julia Roberts did in a polo match scene in the March 1990 release Pretty Woman, and characters played by Penny Marshall and Michael J. Fox did it in the March 1991 release The Hard Way.[4]

He also had a rivalry with Jay Leno after the latter was named host of The Tonight Show, during which Hall said that he would "kick Jay's ass" in the ratings game.[5]

Perhaps the show's most noted guest star was then-Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who performed a rendition of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel on the saxophone during his appearance in June 1992.

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.[citation needed]

Current work

Since The Arsenio Hall Show ended, Hall has made many appearances on television (including a short-lived 1997 sitcom called Arsenio) starring in Martial Law with Sammo Hung from 1999–2000 and hosting the revival of Star Search in 2003.

Hall appeared as himself in Chappelle's Show in March 2004, when Dave was imagining "what Arsenio is doing right now" in a dinner scene.[citation needed]

As of 2008, Hall is a guest co-host on Wednesday evenings on the The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KLSX 97.1 FM radio.[6] Hall also hosted MyNetworkTV's comedic clip show The World's Funniest Moments and TV One's 100 Greatest Black Power Moves.[7]

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

Hall continued to host the myNetworkTV show The World’s Funniest Moments (premiered 7/15/2009), an America's Funniest Home Videos style show reviewing funny clips from the internet and viewers. He now appears regularly on The Jay Leno Show and was a guest on Lopez Tonight (November 25, 2009).[8] George Lopez credits Arsenio for being the reason he has a late night show, and 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 was his inspiration and the first "late night party show host".[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Aside of discussing the 16 appearances by Lopez on Hall's talk show, he also discussed his relationship with Paula Abdul.[16][17][18]

Personal life

Hall has never been married. He has one son.



In 1989, Hall released an album on MCA Records, Large & In Charge (ASIN B000008EAV), under the moniker "Chunky A".[19] Chunky A was supposed to be Hall's overweight "little brother". The album had one minor hit "Owww!" and featured guest rappers Ice-T and KRS-One and guest musicians Cameo.


  1. ^ "The Tonight Show". The Tonight Show. NBC. 2009-05-01.
  2. ^ "Arsenio Hall Biography". 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  3. ^ "Arsenio Hall". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  4. ^ a b Diana E. Lundin (April 3, 1991). "Crank It Up!". Los Angeles Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  5. ^ "Celebrity Quotes". Entertainment Weekly. 24 February 1995.,,296183,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  6. ^ "Tim Conway and Friends". KLSX 97.1. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  7. ^ Arsenio Hall Is Back with Two New Shows. November 9, 2008. Retrieved on November 12, 2008.
  8. ^;
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  11. ^,0,1855800.story
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  19. ^ Large & In Charge at Allmusic

Further reading

  • Arsenio Hall by Norman King. William Morrow & Co., 1993. ISBN 0517145987

External links

Preceded by
Downtown Julie Brown
MTV Video Music Awards host
Succeeded by
Dana Carvey

Simple English

Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American actor and comedian. He hosted his own television talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, from 1989 to 1994 on the Fox network. He also had his own sitcom, titled Arsenio.

Hall costarred with Eddie Murphy in the movies Coming to America and Harlem Nights. After his own television series ended, Hall sometimes guest-starred on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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