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Reported by April Taylor
With the recent cancellation of his late night comedy show The Arsenio Hall Show, Arsenio Hall is back in the headlines. After a nearly 20 year hiatus, the show had just completed its first season back in production, but audience numbers did not reach the critical threshold necessary to keep the show in production.
Here is a look back at 10 little known facts about Arsenio Hall’s life and career:
- Arsenio Hall is the son of a Cleveland Baptist minister. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, his parents are Fred and Anne Hall.
- Arsenio performed magic as a child.
- He competed on the speech team at The Ohio State University.
- Arsenio took over The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers in 1987, after the show was renamed upon Rivers’ departure to The Late Show. The cult following he won helped him land his own show. This made him the first black host of a late night comedy show.
- Arsenio’s use of the chant “Roo, Roo, Roo!” instead of an applause became a pop culture fad, eventually even appearing in scenes from the movies Pretty Woman, Aladdin, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, and The Hard Way.
- Arsenio filmed a public service announcement with Magic Johnson in the early 1990s to speak out against prejudice towards people with HIV/AIDS.
- He was the host of the MTV Video Music Awards from 1988 -1991.
- Arsenio competed on the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice on behalf of the Magic Johnson Foundation. He won the season, defeating singer Clay Aiken and earning $250,000 for the charitable organization. One of Arsenio’s cousins died of AIDS a matter of weeks before taping began for the show.
- Arsenio has recently admitted to dating Paula Abdul some 20 years ago.
- Arsenio has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Central State University which he received in 1992.