Arsenio Hall is an American comedian and actor who is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show from 1989 to 1994. He has also appeared in several comedic TV shows and movies, and won awards for his appearance with Eddie Murphy in the film Coming To America.
Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956. As a child, he performed magic, and joined the speech team at Ohio University before transferring to Kent State. Hall moved to Los Angeles soon after graduating to pursue his dream of becoming a professional comedian and began working in television in 1984, when he appeared as Alan Thicke’s sidekick on the talk show Thicke of the Night. Though the show was canceled quickly, Hall had made his mark, and appeared in the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters from 1986 to 1987.
In 1988, Hall co-starred in Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. Hall played Semmi, aide and confidante to Prince Jaffe (Murphy) who accompanies his friend out of Africa in a quest to find a suitable princess. Though the film was a critical failure, Hall won a 1988 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor and an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in 1989 for his role in the movie.
Hall was tapped by Paramount Pictures (who produced Coming to America) in 1989 to host a nationally syndicated late-night talk show. Called simply The Arsenio Hall Show, it became an overnight success among the younger demographics. Hall’s alternative to applause–an audience chant of “Roo! Roo!”–became a pop culture touchstone that was so ubiquitous it was referenced in mainstream comedies like Disney’s Aladdin and Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Hall’s contract expired in 1994.
Hall also had his own sitcom in 1997 called Arsenio and hosted the revival of Star Search in 2003, popularizing another catchphrase (“Hit me with the digits!”). After his son’s birth in 1999, however, Hall scaled down his acting to concentrate on raising the child. But in 2012, he reappeared as the winner of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice and hosted a second series of The Arsenio Hall Show in 2013.
Soul Train (1981)
Elvira’s Movie Macabre (1982)
The Real Ghostbusters (1986)
Coming to America (1988)
The Arsenio Hall Show (1989-1994)
Celebrity Apprentice (2012)
The Arsenio Hall Show (2013-present)