Steven Pinker, the great thinker and Harvard professor recently published Rationality- a brilliant book about... you guessed it. Throughout the first third of the book, he writes about Monty Hall- and the three door theory. I took such delight in reading his complex ideas made simple- in part because he used Monty Hall as an example of his theory.
Full disclosure- I loved Marilyn and Monty Hall before I met them. When I was a kid, they appeared on Tattletales, the after school daytime program with Bert Convey, the man with the jet black hair and mile deep dimples. I didn’t know them then, of course, but thought Marilyn was chic and pretty, and was amused by Monty- who you know was the host of Let’s Make A Deal. When I met their baby girl, daughter Sharon, who was my first development director at the Ogiens/Kane Company, we became fast friends. She looked like her mother- fine-featured, red-haired- and beautiful. She lived in New York City- because Mike Ogiens worked on the west coast and Josh Kane on the East. Their offices were on Sixth Avenue, where the big Love sign rests on the sidewalk on the corner of 56th Street. Sharon was funny and warm- and soon engaged to Todd Kessler, a successful television executive who became a successful writer.
There was a store in Los Angeles called Adray- a discount close-out joint. My nickname is Adri, but Monty called me Adray. My dad was a garment manufacturer- his mill was making polyester blouses- which he insisted I gift to Sharon. Sharon was gracious when I gave them to her- and not surprised. There were similarities between our upbringings- not on the surface, but down deep- where you were taught to share your wares with people you cared about. We began to reference our work together through the lens of a sewing factory. Sharon called our television expos where shows were sold, The Bobbin Show- which was a real thing in the garment industry. My dad bought thread and buttons and fabric and schmoozed with other schmatta makers at the annual convention in places like Atlanta.
Geographically, Sharon had a completely different upbringing from me- she remembers the long lines of people in costumes to get on her dad’s show in Hollywood- and she actually knew Carol Merrill, who was, evidently, a fun lady. When it came time to throw the wedding shower- Sharon’s best girl friend, Janet, (who is the Grace character on Will and Grace- no kidding)- the real Janet is besties with Max Munchnick, while Sharon was close to David Kohan, who co-created the show with Max. Sharon’s friend Rema Hort was beautiful, gorgeous really- and a few years later passed on to the next level- which saddens us to this day.
Sharon knew everybody and knows everybody- and met Lucille Ball- which is its own special brand of perfection. Her sister is the great actor Joanna Gleason- she has a wonderful brother too- meeting them for the first time at the wedding reminded me how important it was to instill largesse and good manners in our children. The Halls were warm and inviting. The Kesslers mirrored them of course- I remember the two families came together seamlessly that day- a feat that rarely happens at the Italian version of the nuptials. Years later, when Joanna married Chris Sarandon, he folded into the tribe without a ripple. That’s how the Halls are- you are welcome, and unless you do something stupid- they love you like the Hall that brought you to the party in the first place.
Sharon sent me this photo from the wedding recently. I had just gotten my first television staff job at A Different World. I was living in a temporary rental apartment called The Oakwood Apartments on Barham Road. I had a rental car that took me to and from CBS Radford Studios. I had a view of the Warner Brothers lot- and could drive through T Lake where Bob Hope had lived. It was the cusp of 1990. It seems long ago when I do the math, but like yesterday when I’m with Sharon and Todd. Sometimes I think about those days and how important the start of anything is- whether it’s a job, your career or your life itself. It was all three for me- and I had the best possible companion to take me on the first steps. Sharon Hall is now a sought-after producer of television series, limited series and movies. She’s her father’s daughter, and her mother’s too.