She may be the daughter of “Let’s Make a Deal” (1963) game show host Monty Hall (ne Maurice Halperin), but talented Joanna Gleason has never had to worry about being overshadowed by her father’s looming TV star. Born Joanna Hall on June 2, 1950 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (her father and mother (Marilyn Plotell Hall) were wed in Winnipeg, Manitoba), her father was working for the Canadian Wheat Board at the time and breaking into the radio business. As such, by the time Joanna was born, her father had already changed his name to the easier, amiable-sounding Monty Hall for entertainment purposes.
The family moved to New York in May of 1956 when Joanna was 5 going on 6. In the early 1960s the family relocated again to Los Angeles where Monty found work hosting such game shows as “Video Village” and, of course, “Let’s Make a Deal”. Joanna sought out school productions while attending Beverly Hills High and worked with acting teacher-cum-character actor John Ingle before graduating… read more
She was a regular on the McLean Stevenson punchline, “Hello Larry”. And really that should have been the epitaph on her career, except that she could always go back to the theater, which she did, getting acclaim and a gazillion nominations, and, finally, winning the Tony for Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” in 1988. She is someone who knows how to move on, a trait she inherited from a Canadian father who changed careers mid-stream to become “Monty Hall” the longtime host of “Let’s Make A Deal”. From New York, she made enough Woody Allen films (two of his best- “Hannah And Her Sisters” and “Crimes And Misdemeanors”) and did more theatre (another potential epitaph- the notorious musical flop “Nick And Nora”), until she was thought of as a “New York actress” (when you see her in “Sex And The City- The Movie” you think, “Oh, of course…”). And yet, she was also in one of the most quintessential and trenchant takes on the San Fernando Valley, as Mark Wahlberg’s emotionally abusive mother in “Boogie Nights”. Maybe the character was so upset because she was from New York? And just wanted to move away from the land of the right-turn on red?