If you ask different people where they first saw Arsenio Hall, you'd probably get a number of different answers. But, it was the success of his Emmy Award-winning late night talk show "The Arsenio Hall Show" that made him a household name. The versatile actor, comedian and producer first became involved in the arts at The Cleveland Playhouse and continued to hone his craft through his Kent State University years.
In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago, Illinois, where he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and was discovered by jazz singer Nancy Wilson. In the following few years Hall toured, opening for 20 major headliners including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Stevie Wonder. A short time later, Hall diversified his career by making numerous appearances on television shows such as "Solid Gold" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and made his first film cameo in "Amazon Women on the Moon," directed by John Landis.
In 1987, Hall was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series "The Late Show." On the strength of his work as interim host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures, which subsequently led to the opportunity to co-write and co-star in the hit comedy "Coming to America."
On January 3, 1989, "The Arsenio Hall Show" made its debut. Virtually overnight, Hall changed the face of late night television by captivating young viewers across the country. During his successful five-year run as executive producer, Hall provided a forum for cutting-edge comedy, politics and the television debut of such pop superstars as Mariah Carey, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Boyz II Men, and countless others. In 1994, Hall was again ready to grow and diversify. He resigned from the late night gabfest to pursue other personal and professional interests.
In 1998, Hall joined the cast of the CBS' "Martial Law," playing Terrell Parker, a streetwise LAPD detective, for two years. He followed this up with a two-season stint as host of the new "Star Search," and then, taking on his most challenging task to date, he returned to stand-up comedy and toured for the first time in over a decade.
Hall was featured as the comical Carl Cristall in Exodus Films' animated feature "Igor," starring John Cusack, and again returned to television in 2008 as host of the popular weekly series "World's Funniest Moments" on MyNetwork TV. He also hosted the fascinating five-hour special "The Blacklist: 100 Greatest Power Moves," which chronicled the unforgettable moments, cultural movements and personal achievement that have advanced the black race and helped change the course of American history over the past century. In addition, Hall was featured in the HBO Sports Documentary "Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals," as well as the A&E two-hour documentary special "The Battle For Late-Night."
Hall appeared in a memorable cameo in the highly touted 2009 feature comedy "Black Dynamite," an homage to classic blaxploitation films. He will reprise his role as Tasty Freeze in the upcoming animated version, set to debut on Adult Swim in 2012.
Most recently, Hall was a guest mentor on OWN Network's "Your OWN Show," and served as guest co-host on the daily talk show "Access Hollywood LIVE."