Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Arsenio Hall was born on February 12th, 1956. At just six-years-old, Hall’s parents separated. At seven-years-old, Arsenio grew fond of magic and began performing at bar mitzvahs, weddings, and birthday parties.
In Hall’s first year of college, he attended Ohio University and majored in communications. He later transferred to Kent State University and began studying advertising. In 1979, Hall moved to Chicago and began a career in stand up comedy. It was there where he was discovered by singer, Nancy Wilson.
After being “discovered,” Arsenio opened up for music legends such as Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Patti Labelle, Wayne Newton, and Tina Turner!
During the ’80s, Arsenio appeared on many comedy and musical shows including Motown Revue and The New Love American Style. He even hosted a short-lived show called, The Half-Hour Comedy Hour. Hall made his feature film debut in the film, Amazon Women on the Moon in 1987. He later appeared in Coming to America (1988) and Harlem Nights (1989) with his good friend, Eddie Murphy.
Arsenio took over the hosting duties of Joan Rivers on The Late Show. His playful and easy going personality won the hearts of many. Based off that success, he was approached to host his very own show. Arsenio Hall became the first black late-night talk show host in 1987! His deal included that he would host and executive produce the show. The show aired a half-hour earlier than Johnny Carson’s late-night show.
The show became known for its Dog Pound “Woof! Woof” (with pumping fist) chant and he also brought on guests that included Paula Abdul, En Vogue, Bill Clinton, and Diana Ross!
Arsenio retired in 1992 and Jay Leno was chosen as his successor.
In 2013, Hall made his comeback with a reboot of his talk show. Unfortunately, the show did not attract enough viewers and the show was later canceled.
In 1991, Arsenio Hall was honored with two NAACP Image awards, a Key of Life Award and another award for his show! In 1993, Hall executive produced the feature film, Bopha! that starred Danny Glover, Alfre Woodward, and Malcolm McDowell. It was directed by Morgan Freeman.
After three years of being out of the television game, he returned in 1997 with his short-lived sitcom titled, Arsenio, with Vivica A. Fox co-starred in. He also made regular appearances on the CBS series, Martial Law. Hall became the host of the televised talent show, Star Search from 2003 to 2004. Later on he was a guest co-host for shoes such as Piers Morgan Tonight and Access Hollywood Live. In 2012, Hall showed the world his business side when he competed on the celebrity edition of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice where he was able to win the top prize for his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation.