What's that they say? You can take the boy out of Toronto but you can't take the Toronto winter out of the boy? Comedian, actor and Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel may live in sunny Los Angeles these days (where he has a Hollywood Walk of Fame star) but his first thought when he heard he was receiving a Canada Walk of Fame star?
"I wondered if I'm personally responsible for shoveling the snow off my star in Canada," he quips. "The best thing about having a star is I think this entitles me to 10% off at the Bay. The worst thing is I am a germaphobe and my highest Canadian honor will
be constantly stepped on!"
And while he also jokes that at the beginning of his career he imagined he'd just be shoveling snow off somebody else's star, he clearly doesn't need to worry about either. Thirty years and counting, Mandel's career spans all facets of the entertainment spectrum from standup comedian to television actor to silver screen star and it shows no sign of slowing down.
In 2008, he won a coveted Emmy nomination for Outstanding Reality/Competition Host for his role at the helm of NBC's phenomenon Deal or No Deal (he also hosts a nationally-syndicated version of the show in Canada). Then last winter, the network unveiled his new show, Howie Do It based on his signature hidden camera bits on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, it's a show where nothing is quite as it seems and no situation is safe.
Mandel says the secret to his success was: "I showed up and I got really lucky." It's not entirely untrue. While Mandel had been doing some standup in Toronto, he jumpstarted his career in true Hollywood fairytale fashion on a dare during a trip to Los Angeles in 1979. He was at the legendary Comedy Store on amateur night and was coaxed by his friends to get up and try his luck. As fate would have it, there was a producer in the crowd who immediately hired him to appear on the comedy game show Make Me Laugh. This one gig then led to talk show appearances and stints as an opening act for Diana Ross.
In 1980, he won the lead role in the Canadian movie Gas, co-starring Susan Anspach and Donald Sutherland and he was one of the first veejays to appear on Nickelodeon's music video series, Pop Clips. That 1981 program would go on to provide the genesis of MTV. By 1982, Mandel had moved to the cast of the award-winning NBC series St. Elsewhere, where he spent six seasons as Dr. Wayne Fiscus.
Mandel's Emmy-nominated animated children series, Bobby's World, ran eight seasons on FOX. Today, it appears in syndication six days a week in sixty-five countries. As the series' creator and executive producer, he was closely involved in its writing, as well as providing the voice of Bobby, Bobby's dad and other characters. He attributes the show's success to drawing the story lines from real life Mandel has been with his wife Terry since high school in Toronto and they have three children.
Mandel has done countless comedy specials both on cable and network television and has also hosted his own syndicated talk show, The Howie Mandel Show. To this day, he is one of the first people that Regis Philbin calls to replace him when he takes a vacation from Live with Regis and Kelly. Mandel also continues to perform as many as two hundred concerts a year throughout the US and Canada, and has a autobiography, Here's the Deal; Don't Touch Me which will be out this November.
Mandel tours on the road over 200 days a year, taping Deal or No Deal. He met his wife Terry in high school, and they've been together since 1980. They have three children: daughters Jackie (b. 1984) and Riley (b. 1992), and son Alex (b. 1989).