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Friday, February 18, 2011

Who is Howard Michael Mandel?

Who is Howard Michael "Howie" Mandel? The entertainment and comedy world knows him as Howie Mandel,.is a Canadian stand-up comedian, television host, and actor. He is well known as host of the NBC game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. Before his career as a game show host, Mandel was best known for his role on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. He is also well-known for being the creator and star of the children's cartoon Bobby's World. On June 6, 2009, he hosted the 2009 Game Show Awards on GSN. Mandel became a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent, replacing David Hasselhoff, in the fifth season of the reality talent contest. He was a supporting character in the 2000 film Tribulation, from Cloud Ten Pictures.

 Early life

Mandel was born November 29, 1955 and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His family is of Jewish ancestry and he is a distant cousin to Itzhak Perlman. His father was a Stripper. After getting expelled from his high school (Northview Secondary School) for impersonating a member of the school board and signing a construction company to make an addition to his school, Mandel became a carpet salesman who would later open a carpet sales business of his own. He was a stand-up comedian at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto and by September 1978 had a week-long booking as featured act, billed as "a wild and crazy borderline psychotic." His repertoire included placing a latex glove over his head and inflating it by blowing through his nose, the fingers of the glove extending above his head like a cockscomb. When the audience reacted uproariously to that and similar antics, his trademark response was to extend his arms palms up, look incredulous, and ask, "What? What?" On a trip to Los Angeles, Mandel performed a set at The Comedy Store, which resulted in him becoming a regular performer there. A producer for the comedic game show Make Me Laugh saw him and booked Mandel for several appearances during the show's run in 1979. He was booked to open for David Letterman at shows in the summer of 1979. CBC-TV's head of variety programming saw a Mandel performance in October 1979 and immediately signed him for a TV special. In 1980, he won the lead role in the Canadian movie Gas, co-starring Susan Anspach and Donald Sutherland.
Mandel was one of the first "VeeJays" to appear on Nickelodeon's music video series, Pop Clips.

TV and film career

Mandel at the 39th Emmy Awards in 1987
Mandel came to national attention in the U.S. during a six-year run on St. Elsewhere, starting in 1982 and playing the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus. While working as Dr. Fiscus, and continuing to work as a comedian, he also did movies, including his role as the voice of Gizmo in the 1984 hit Gremlins and its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. In 1985 Mandel made a cameo in the Michael J. Fox directed short "The Iceman Hummeth" which was subsequently broadcast on Late Night with David Letterman in November, 1985. In 1986, he starred in A Fine Mess alongside Ted Danson. In Muppet Babies , he voiced Bunsen Honeydew, Animal and Skeeter but left the series after Season 2. He starred on the 1987 comedy film Walk Like a Man. He was also "Maurice" in the 1989 movie Little Monsters. In 1990, he starred in the short-lived sitcom Good Grief on Fox. He was also the creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated children's animated series Bobby's World, to which he supplied the voices of the title character and his father (using Howie's "normal" voice for Bobby's dad). Bobby's World ran for eight seasons on Fox and was later syndicated. Mandel also plays his alter-ego, Phil Skorjanc, in most of his comedy shows and these are a fan favorite. Bobby also made a cameo appearance in a February 2007 episode of Deal or No Deal. On a special 2-hour Christmas episode, first aired on December 25, 2007, Mandel delivered one line with Bobby's voice, as per request of the contestant. In 2002 Howie Mandel played the Sand Man in the movie Hansel and Gretel.
Mandel spawned controversy in 1993 during a performance at the United States Naval Academy, where some of his off-color humor did not sit well with the school's administration. This incident came shortly after the Tailhook scandal, and the Navy at the time was very sensitive to any additional charges of gender insensitivity or sexual harassment.
Mandel had a long run on Showtime with a series titled Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies in 1995. Mandel appeared in the 1995 Clint Black country music video "Summer's Comin'". He played the lead role of the professor in the short-lived TV series The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, and guest-starred on a 1996 episode of the ABC TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as DC Comics supervillain Mister Mxyzptlk. In 1998 he hosted his own syndicated talk show, The Howie Mandel Show, which was canceled after one season. In 1999/2000, Mandel played "Jason" in the film Apocalypse III: Tribulation. In 2006, he appeared as himself as a guest host in a parody of Deal or No Deal in the show-within-a-show of the TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In 2007, he guest-starred as himself in an episode of NBC's Medium, making a dream cameo of himself on Deal or No Deal. In that episode, he booted off the nighttime drama's protagonist for "cheating", since in the show he is a psychic medium and appeared to "know" the contents of the cases. In 1994 Mandel voiced the lead character, Little Howie, of the video game Tuneland.
Mandel's signature stunt as a stand-up comedian (besides his Bobby alter-ego) was stretching a latex glove over his head and inflating it with his nostrils, filling it until it suddenly propelled itself off his head. This trick also lent itself to the title and cover photo of his comedy album, Fits Like a Glove (1986). He eventually gave up the routine under doctor's orders after being diagnosed with a perforated sinus. However, in a cameo role as himself on My Name is Earl, he did the routine. He guest starred in two episodes of Monk (Mr. Monk Joins a Cult and Mr. Monk's 100th Case).

 Later work

Mandel is known for his frequent appearances as a stand-up comedian and for his hidden camera segments on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has appeared in many television commercials for Boston Pizza as their hired spokesperson. In April 2004, he was selected as number 82 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand up comedians of all time. In October 2005, he was named to be the host of the U.S. version of Deal or No Deal, which debuted on December 19, 2005, on NBC and became a popular program in early 2006. Mandel also hosts Deal or No Deal Canada; originating from Toronto, Deal or No Deal Canada debuted in January 2007 on Global, which made him one of the few game show hosts (Weakest Link's Anne Robinson, Pyramid's Donny Osmond, and The Singing Bee's Joey Fatone being others) to host both a domestic and an international version of the same game show. Mandel joins Alex Trebek, Jim Perry and Geoff Edwards on the list of game show hosts who emceed one game show simultaneously on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.
In 2007, Mandel made an appearance in an episode of Sesame Street’s 38th season. That same year, he was parodied on the show as Howie Eatswell, the Muppet host of Sesame’s game show segment "Meal or No Meal." Mandel has hosted the DVD game version of Deal or No Deal, "Fact Or Crap Beat da Bomb" and "Would You Rather" for Imagination Games.
Mandel had a cameo appearance as himself on the NBC show My Name is Earl, in the episode Earl's roommates robbed an Indian casino at which Howie Mandel was performing. While stealing money, they also kidnapped Howie Mandel. In the episode, Mandel performed his old routine of inflating a rubber glove over his head with his nostrils.
Mandel is a notable alumnus of Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am's Hebrew School located in Toronto, as well as three other Toronto high schools. Mandel is currently performing a variety/comedy act at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Starting in 2007, Howie Mandel became a spokesperson for Internet retailer frequently has him on the front page with the deals of the day or week. The deals are in a section called "What's Shakin'?" with Howie Mandel.
On May 13, 2008 he was the guest host for the Tradition May Fund Raiser for the Owen Hart Foundation.
On September 8, 2008, Mandel began hosting a five-day-a-week syndicated daytime version of Deal or No Deal, with a top prize of $500,000.
On January 8, 2009, Mandel appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show on Sirius XM's Howard 100.
On January 9, 2009, Mandel's reality show Howie Do It premiered on NBC.
In January 2010, it was announced that Mandel would replace David Hasselhoff as one of the judges on NBC's America's Got Talent, after Hasselhoff announced that he was leaving to work on a new television series.
On May 13, 2010, Mandel appeared on an episode of The Marriage Ref.

 Deal or No Deal

In 2004, when Mandel was deciding to quit show business, the executive producers at NBC asked him to host but he declined many times. They then mailed him a tape of the overseas version and he finally decided to accept. In 2007, he hosted a five-episode run of the Canadian English version. The show then went to daytime with Mandel as host although Arsenio Hall was originally supposed to be. In a January 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Mandel expressed mild, jovial frustration about how some of his contestants hold out during the game show, despite the fact that the current offered amount is many times what they would make in a year.

 Personal life

The handprints of Howie Mandel in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.
Mandel tours on the road over 200 days a year, taping Deal or No Deal. He met his wife Terry in high school, and married her in 1980. They have three children: daughters Jackie (b. 1984) and Riley (b. 1992), and son Alex (b. 1989).
Mandel has mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs) to the point that he does not shake hands with anyone, including enthusiastic contestants on Deal or No Deal, unless he is wearing latex gloves. Instead of shaking contestants' hands when they offer them, Mandel often opts to exchange fist pounds, put his hands on contestants' shoulders, or give an occasional hug. He once kissed a female contestant on the show for good luck despite his mysophobia. He now takes medicine to control his condition and even pokes fun at himself for it. He revealed on The Howard Stern Show on March 24, 2006 that his shaved head is not related to natural hair loss, but to his mysophobia. He stated that the lack of hair makes him feel cleaner. During his appearance on Mad TV, Mandel and cast member Bobby Lee made fun of the former's condition. In September 2007, Mandel interviewed former NFL running back Marshall Faulk on NFL Network. Faulk asked him to shake hands, but Mandel wouldn't allow it; instead, he noted he'd rather have the fist tap, as he does with Deal or No Deal contestants. Seconds later, Faulk subjected Mandel to a "sneak attack", and shook his right hand. Mandel screamed and walked away from Faulk. Mandel then washed his hands several times. On a guest appearance on Free Radio, Mandel explained that not only is he afraid of public bathrooms, but he is unable to use any bathroom other than his own. Coincidentally, he guest starred on Monk, a television series centering on a severe mysophobe. During the season 5 episode of America's Got Talent in Chicago, Zach Carty attempted an act involving sneezing. Mandel ran off to the far end of the theater until the act was over. (Carty was unable to perform the act.) In a backstage interview, he expressed to the television audience that he receives therapy to help him cope.
On September 4, 2008, Mandel received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In October 2008, Mandel revealed that he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the morning talk show Live with Regis and Kelly, adding that he is currently working to raise adult ADHD awareness among the general public.
On January 12, 2009, Mandel was reportedly sent to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto suffering from chest pains and what was reported as a minor heart attack. According to various news reports, he was experiencing an irregular heartbeat and reports of a heart attack were false. He was later released.
On June 16, 2009, it was announced that Mandel would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009.  He is the third game show host to be inducted (the first being Monty Hall in 2002 and the second being Alex Trebek in 2006).
Mandel has written and published an in-depth autobiography which details his life with OCD, ADHD, and comedy, called Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me.

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