Arsenio Hall is an American actor, comedian, and former talk show host. He is best known for his talk show The Arsenio Hall Show, which ran between 1989 and 1994, and his roles in the films Coming to America and Harlem Nights.
Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Anne and Fred Hall, a Baptist minister. Hall performed as a magician when he was a child. He attended Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. After he graduated, he attended Ohio University, where he was on the speech team with future actress Nancy Cartwright and future news anchor Leon Harris. He then transferred to Kent State University.
He later moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Hall was the original voice of Winston Zeddemore in the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters from 1986?1987. In 1988, he co-starred in the comedy film Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. In 1984, he was also the announcer/sidekick for Alan Thicke during the ill-fated talk show Thicke of the Night.
In 1986, the Fox network introduced The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, created to directly challenge The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After a moderate start, ratings for the show sagged. Behind-the-scenes relations between Rivers and network executives at Fox quickly eroded, and Rivers left in 1987. Renamed The Late Show, it featured several hosts including Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Richard Belzer, and Robert Townsend before it was cancelled in 1988. Hall was chosen to host the show in the fall of 1987, and proved to be immensely popular.