Howie Mandel
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Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel
Mandel in Las Vegas, May 2007
Birth nameHoward Michael Mandel
Born (1955-11-29) November 29, 1955 (age 64)
Willowdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MediumStand-up, television, film, books
Years active1978-present
GenresObservational comedy, improvisational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, self-deprecation
Terry Soil (m. 1980)
Notable works and roles

Little Monsters (1989)

Howard Michael Mandel (born November 29, 1955)[1] is a Canadian comedian, actor and television host. He hosted the CNBC (originally NBC) game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. In 1987, Mandel starred alongside Amy Steel in the comedy film Walk Like a Man. From 1982 to 1988, Mandel played rowdy ER intern Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. He also created, voiced, and starred in the FOX's children's cartoon Bobby's World, and judges on NBC's America's Got Talent.

Early life

Mandel was born and raised in the Willowdale area of Toronto, Ontario. He is of Jewish heritage, and his ancestors emigrated from Romania and Poland. Mandel is also a distant cousin to Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman.[2] His father was a lighting manufacturer and a real estate agent.[3] Mandel was expelled from his high school (William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute[4]) for impersonating a school official and hiring a construction company to build an addition to his school.[5] Afterwards, Mandel worked as a carpet salesman.[6] 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".[7] 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 say, "it's you." [8]

On a trip to Los Angeles, Mandel performed a set at The Comedy Store, which resulted in his being hired as a regular performer. A producer for the syndicated comedy game show Make Me Laugh saw him there and booked Mandel for several appearances during the show's run in 1979 and 1980. He was booked to open for David Letterman at shows in the summer of 1979.[9]CBC-TV's head of variety programming saw his 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 US during a six-year run on St. Elsewhere, starting in 1982 and playing the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus, opposite Ed Flanders and Norman Lloyd. While working as Dr. Fiscus, and continuing to work as a comedian, Mandel also did movies, including providing the voice of Gizmo in the 1984 hit Gremlins and its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch.[10] 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. He performed his stand-up comedy act in several cities (the Watusi Tour), which was followed by his Watusi music video in 1987. For the first two seasons of Muppet Babies, he voiced Bunsen Honeydew, Animal, and Skeeter. He starred alongside Amy Steel in 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 (1990-1998), to which he supplied the voices of the title character and his father. Bobby's World ran for eight seasons on Fox and was later syndicated.

1992 saw the weekly airing of his self-titled comedy show Howie with multiple guest stars such as Gilbert Gottfried, Little Richard, and Lita Ford as the in-house band guitarist. His character Bobby made a regular appearance on the show.[11] In 1994, Mandel voiced the lead character, Little Howie, of the video game Tuneland. He starred in the sketch comedy series Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies in 1995 on Showtime. Mandel appeared in the 1995 Clint Black 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 cancelled after one season. In 1999/2000, he played Jason in the film Apocalypse III: Tribulation, was the voice of Jack in the movie The Tangerine Bear in 2000, and in 2002 played the Sand Man in the movie Hansel and Gretel. 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. Mandel plays his alter-ego, Phil Skorjanc, in most of his comedy shows and these are a fan favourite. 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.

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 in Monroe, Washington, 2010

Mandel is known for his frequent appearances as a 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 US 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,[12] which made him one of the few game show hosts (Weakest Link's Anne Robinson, The Chairs John McEnroe, Pyramids Donny Osmond, The Singing Bees Joey Fatone, and Minute to Win Its Darren McMullen 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 in Canada and the United States.

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 Sesames 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 where Earl's roommates robbed an Indian casino at which Mandel was performing. While stealing money, they also kidnapped 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.[13] Mandel is currently performing a variety/comedy act at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Starting in 2007, Mandel became a spokesperson for Internet retailer He is sometimes featured in a section called "What's Shakin'?" with Mandel. 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 9, 2009, Mandel's reality show Howie Do It premiered on NBC.

On March 31, 2011, Mandel premiered a flash-mob show on Fox called Mobbed. Originally a presentation pilot, the ratings after American Idol prompted Fox to pick up the show for eight to ten episodes.[14]

On November 30, 2012, he hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony. On December 10, 2012, his six-night special game show, Take It All, premiered.

He appeared in one episode of the animated series Fugget About It as the voice of FBI Agent Rick Chickmagnet in 2013.[15] Since 2013, Mandel has executive-produced the TBS hidden-camera show Deal with It.[16][17] He also regularly makes appearances and co-hosts the show along with main host Theo Von.

Deal or No Deal

In 2003, while Mandel was deciding whether or not to quit show business, the executive producers at NBC asked him to host the show, but he declined many times. They then mailed him a tape of the overseas version and he finally accepted.[] In 2007, he hosted a five-episode run of the Canadian-English version. The show then went to daytime with Mandel remaining as host, although Arsenio Hall was originally intended to host the show. In a January 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Mandel expressed mild, jovial frustration over how some of his contestants hold out during the game show, despite the fact that the grand prize is many times what they would make in a year.[18]

On March 12, 2018, it was announced that Mandel will host the 2018 CNBC revival of the game show, and also become an executive producer.[19] The show premiered on December 3, 2018.

America's Got Talent

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.[20] Out of all judges on the show, Mandel currently has the longest tenure than any other judge or host, spanning eleven consecutive seasons.

Personal life

Hand prints of Mandel in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

Mandel has been married to Terry (Soil) Mandel since 1980. Together they have three children: daughters Jackie and Riley, and son Alex.[21]

On September 4, 2008, Mandel received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Comedy Central list him as #82 on their list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time.[22]

Mandel received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009.[23] 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).

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, but the reports were later revealed as inaccurate. He was later discharged.[24] 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.

Mandel is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.[25]

Mandel is colorblind.[26]

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Mandel on Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, 2007

Mandel has spoken publicly about having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which can take many forms, including mysophobia.[27][28] Mandel's anxiety affects him 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 bumps, 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 disorder. 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 OCD. He stated that the lack of hair makes him feel cleaner.[29] In the back yard of Mandel's house is a second, smaller house which he had built especially to live in solitude when a family member is sick.[30] During his appearance on Mad TV, Mandel and cast member Bobby Lee made fun of the former's condition. Mandel also confronted his germophobia in Season 4, Episode 1 of the Comedy Central series This Is Not Happening. The show aired on February 3, 2018.[31]

While guest-hosting on Live with Regis and Kelly in 2005, Mandel had an altercation in which his hand was seized by guest Rob Schneider, who condescendingly teased Mandel, stating he needed to 'get over' his phobia. Host Kelly Ripa admonished Schneider on-air, while also obtaining hand sanitizer for Mandel from an audience member.[32]

In September 2007, Mandel interviewed former NFL running back Marshall Faulk on NFL Network. Faulk asked him to shake hands, but Mandel refused, noting he would rather have the fist tap, as he does with Deal or No Deal contestants. Seconds later, Faulk subjected him to a "sneak attack", and shook his right hand. Mandel screamed and walked away from Faulk. He then washed his hands several times.[33] On a guest appearance on Free Radio, Mandel explained that not only is he afraid of public bathrooms, but is unable to use any bathroom other than his own.[34]

During the season 5 episode of America's Got Talent in Chicago, contestant Zach Carty attempted an act involving sneezing. Mandel pressed his X button at the beginning of the act, and ran into an aisle until the act was over. (Carty was unable to perform the act.) Mandel kept yelling at the other judges, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne, to press their X buttons and for the audience to turn in his direction. Morgan eventually pressed the X button, but Osbourne refused, so Mandel promptly ran over and pressed her button, ending the act. In a backstage interview, he expressed to the television audience that he receives therapy to help him cope. In another America's Got Talent season 5 incident, Dan Sperry, a contestant on the YouTube quarterfinal episode, dropped some dental floss that he had run through his neck as part of a magic act. He dropped the floss in Mandel's vicinity, prompting him to get up and run to the other side of the judges' table.[35] Just before Sperry's next performance in the semifinals, Mandel admitted that it was "the most horrified" he'd been on the show and that his therapist "loves [Dan Sperry]", because there had been two extra sessions that week.[episode needed] During the premiere of season 6, juggler Frank Olivier grabbed Mandel's head to balance himself during a unicycle act. Despite receiving a buzzer from Mandel, Olivier moved on to the next round. Mandel refused to give Olivier any feedback during the judge's voting process.[36]

During AGT's 10th season, contestant Chris Jones[37] directly utilized Mandel's fear of germs as the subject of his hypnotism act. Under the post-hypnotic suggestion that Jones and the other judges were wearing latex gloves, Mandel shook the bare hands of all involved, which elicited shouts of amazement. After viewing the video of the act, Mandel said that he was "upset" and "somewhat betrayed" by the act but that his therapist subsequently said it was a good thing.[38] Jones progressed to the Judge's Cuts where he was eliminated from the competition.

Mandel commented in 2011 that he has struggled with the condition since childhood, but did not seek help until he was an adult:

Filmography and Television Roles

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Gas Matt Lloyd
1982-1988 St. Elsewhere Dr. Wayne Fiscus Main (6 Seasons) 137 Episodes
1983 The Funny Farm Larry Pound
1984 Gremlins Gizmo Voice
1984-1985 Muppet Babies Various Roles Voice; 26 Episodes
1985-1986 Faerie Tale Theatre Wienerhead Waldo/Guest Interviewee 2 Episodes
1986 A Fine Mess Dennis Powell
1987 Walk Like a Man Robert "Bobo" Shand
1989 Little Monsters Maurice
1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch Gizmo Voice
1990-1991 Good Grief Ernie Lapidus Main; 13 Episodes
1990-1998 Bobby's World Various Roles Main (7 Seasons) 81 Episodes
1994 Magic Kid 2 Moe
1994 In Search of Dr. Seuss Sam-I-Am Voice; Television Movie
1995 Homicide: Life on the Street Interior Decorator 1 Episode
1997 The Outer Limits Karl Durand 1 Episode
2000 The Tangerine Bear Jack Voice
2005-present Deal or No Deal Host
2009 Howie Do It Host Main; 19 Episodes
2010-present America's Got Talent Judge (Season 5-Present)
2017-2019 Funny You Should Ask Himself 53 Episodes
2019-present America's Got Talent: The Champions Judge
2019 Harley Quinn Himself (voice) Episode: "A High Bar"


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  22. ^ "General Archives |". Retrieved 2016.
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  28. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th edition.
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  34. ^ "Video - MySpace Video". MySpace. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  35. ^ "Dan Sperry America's Got Talent Howie Floss Freak out!". Retrieved 2019.
  36. ^ "Frank Olivier, 50 ~ America's Got Talent 2011, LA Auditions". YouTube. August 2, 2011. Retrieved 2017.
  37. ^ "Double Take host Chris Jones shakes up the prank shows". Retrieved 2019.
  38. ^ Hines, Ree (May 27, 2015). "Howie Mandel says 'AGT' hypnotism didn't cure him, it sent him to therapy". Today.
  39. ^ "Ability Magazine: Howie Mandel Interview with Chet Cooper" (2011)". Retrieved 2012.

External links

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