Arsenio Hall
Birth Date:
February 12, 1955
Birth Place:
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
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Arsenio Hall_160212
The Arsenio Hall Show


“My name is Arsenio. That”s a very unique name for a black man. In Greek, it means Leroy.” Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall is an African American comedian, actor and television host. He is best recalled for his talk show “The Arsenio Hall Show” (syndication, 1989-1994), from which he was nominated for two Emmy Awards and an American Comedy Award. In 1990, he was named Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host by the People's Choice Awards. Other shows Hall has hosted include “Solid Gold,” “The Late Show,” the revival of  “Star Search” and “The World's Funniest Moments.” On the acting front, Hall is perhaps most recognized for playing Eddy Murphy's personal adjutant on the hit comedy film “Coming to America” (1988), where he took home an American Comedy Award and an Image Award for his scene stealing performance. He also starred in the television series “Arsenio” (1997) and “Martial Law” (1998-2000). On November 7, 1990, Hall received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television.    

Hall is not married. He has one son.

“I've never understood what the up side of marriage would be for me. Personally, I love being in a relationship, but marriage just isn't for me, who knows what the future holds?”  Arsenio Hall

Amateur Magician

Childhood and Family:

Arsenio Hall was born on February 12, 1956, in Cleveland, Ohio, to parents Anne and Fred Hall, a Baptist minister. At age 7, he developed a love for magic, and later performed at weddings, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. Arsenio was an excellent student at school. After graduating from Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, he was accepted at Ohio University in Athens, in which he was a member of the competitive speech team with Nancy Cartwright and Leon Harris. At Ohio University, he was originally intended to study law but later switched to the communications department. He then transferred to and graduated from Kent State University.    

Coming to America


Arsenio Hall performed at local comedy clubs whilst studying at Kent State University. In 1979, he left Ohio and moved to Chicago, where his stand up routine was discovered by jazz singer Nancy Wilson. The following years saw him work as an opening act for performers like Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Tom Jones, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Newton, Stevie Wonder and Tim Turner. Hall then headed to Los Angeles to further pursue his comedy career.  

Hall made appearances on various television programs during the early 1980s, such as “Soul Train,” “Madame's Place,” “Movie Macabre,” where he was cast as Dr. Mustapha Abdul Raheem Jamaal X Muhammad/Tyrone in an episode titled “Dr Black, Mr Hyde” (1982), “Going for Laughs” and “The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour.” In 1983, he hosted the short lived stand up comedy show “The Half Hour Comedy Hour.” He also appeared in the game show “Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour” during 1983-1984. In 1984, Hall became the announcer/sidekick for Alan Thicke during the short lived talk show “Thicke of the Night.”    

In 1985, Hall was hired as a regular on the NBC summer series “The Motown Revue Starring Smokey Robinson.” The same year, he also landed a regular gig on the ABC comedy series “New Love, American Style,” which won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Graphics and Title Design. He played the role of Cleavon in an episode of “ Alfred Hitchcock Presents” called “Happy Birthday” in 1986, and from 1986 -1987, his voice could be heard as Winston Zeddemore in “The Real Ghost Busters,” the animated television series based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters.” 1986 also saw him start a three year run as a co-host on the syndicated pop music show “Solid Gold.”

In 1987, Hall made his feature film acting debut in a segment of the comic anthology “Amazon Women on the Moon” called “Mondo Condo.” There he played a man who almost kills himself in a series of misfortunes around his apartment. Also in that same year, Hall was hired to host the Fox series “The Late Show” following the departure of the original host Joan River. Though he was on the show for a 13-week run, his stint proved to be a success. He then signed a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures.

In 1988, Hall was cast opposite his personal friend Eddie Murphy on Paramount's comedy film, “Coming to America,” directed by John Landis and scripted by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein based on a story originally created by Art Buchwald. The film earned a generally favorable reception by critics and was a financial box office success. It grossed $288,752,301 against a production budget of $39 million. Delivering a bright performance as Murphy's friend and personal aide, Semmi, Hall won a 1989 American Comedy for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and a 1990 Image for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. He then played Thomas Mikal Ford's brother  in the “Harlem Nights,” a comedy/drama film written and directed by and starring Eddie Murphy. The film was panned by critics but was a commercial success.  

Hall gained further victory with Paramount when was tapped to headline his own syndicated late-night talk show. “The Arsenio Hall Show,” which he also co-created and executive produced, premiered on January 3, 1989 and was an immediate success. Known for the audience's chant of “Roo! Roo! Roo!” while pumping their fists in a circular motion, the show remained popular into 1993 but as the year went on Hall and Paramount started having problems. This led to a declining in ratings and eventually the cancellation of the show, with the final episode broadcast on May 27, 1994. For his work on the show, Hall collected two Emmy nominations in the category of Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1989 and 1990) and an American Comedy nomination for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication (1990).

After the cancellation of his show, Hall spent most of time out of the limelight. He did not make a major return until March 1997 when he starred along with Vivica Fox on the short lived ABC sitcom “Arsenio,” which ended after seven episodes on April 5, 1997. There he played Michael Atwood, a cable network sportscaster in Atlanta. In February 1998, he made his first of a series of appearances in “ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Back in 1992, Hall started a rivalry with Leno after the latter was named host of “The Tonight Show,” replacing Hall's childhood idol, Johnny Carson. At that time, Hall said that he would “kick Jay's ass” in the ratings game.

In November 1998, Hall returned to series television as a regular when he was cast as Terrell Parker, a wisecracking ex-LAPD press affair who started helping out Sammo and the gang on cases on the CBS crime/drama series “Martial Law,” starring Sammo Hung as a Chinese law officer and martial arts expert who came to Los Angeles to look for a colleague and remains in the US. He remained with the show until it ended on May 13, 2000 after a two season run. In 2000, Hall made a guest appearance in an episode of “Norm” called “ Norm vs. the Kid.”

During 2002-2003, Hall appeared in several episodes of the game show “Hollywood Squares.” He next hosted the revival of “Star Search” from 2003 to 2004. In the latter program, he attempted to popularized the catch phrase “Hit me with the digits!” In 2004, he made a self appearance in “Chappelle's Show.” Hall provided the voice of Dr. Carver/ Bobby Proud in the animated made for television film “ The Proud Family Movie” (2005), directed by Bruce W. Smith. He went on to voice Captain Crothers in the direct to video release “Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!” (2006) and then Carl Cristall in the animated movie “Igor” (2008), helmed by Anthony Leondis.     

From 2008 to 2009, Hall hosted MyNetworkTV's comedic clip show “The World's Funniest Moments.” He was a correspondent on “The Jay Leno Show” from 2009 to 2010. He returned to the big screen with a notable turn as Tasty Freeze on “Black Dynamite” (2009), opposite Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson, Kevin Chapman and Tommy Davidson. In 2011, Hall was a guest host on “Access Hollywood Live.”

Along with other celebrities such as Clay Aiken, Tia Carrere and Adam Carolla, Hall was set to participate in “The Celebrity Apprentice 5,” which begins airing in February 2012. He has completed filming a documentary called “Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots” (2012), directed and written by Mark Ford.

It has been announced that Hall will play the character Brown on the upcoming animated film “The Hero of Color City” (2013). The film will also star the voices of Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez and David Kaye, among other actors.


People's Choice: Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host, 1990
Image: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, “Coming to America,” 1990
American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, “Coming to America,” 1989 Show Less
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