The son of a baptist minister Arsenio Hall showed a talent for entertainment early. He became involved in The Cleveland Playhouse and did stand-up routines whilst studying at Kent State University.
In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago and his stand-up routine was spotted by jazz singer, Nancy Wilson. It proved to be a major breakthrough. In the ensuing years he opened for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder.
In 1987, Arsenio Hall was approached to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series 'The Late Show'. Based on his performance as temporary host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures. Arsenio Hall has referred, in an interview on PBS, to the importance of his negotiations at this stage and his insistence on his rights to own the show.
This approach secured Arsenio Hall the chance to co-write and co-star with Eddie Murphy in "Coming to America" (1987). Similarly on the advice of Quincy Jones, Hall wrote his own theme song "Hall or Nothing" and still gets paid whenever its played.
On January 3, 1989, 'The Arsenio Hall Show' made its debut. The late-night talk-show quickly proved a ratings success. In 1990, TV Guide made Arsenio Hall the magazine's first "TV Person of the Year."
As well as giving exposure to those not in the media mainstream, he was also able to draw big names, including getting Bill Clinton to play the sax on the show.
In 1994 the show finished. In 1997 Hall starred in the ABC sitcom Arsenio and, a year later, he joined the CBS show, "Martial Law". From 2004 he hosted another CBS show "Star Search".
Arsenio Hall regards one of his worst mistakes as turning down working with Martin Lawrence on Bad Boys.
Arsenio Hall's Scores