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Stefan Hatos; 'Let's Make a Deal' Producer

Obituaries

March 10, 1999|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Stefan Hatos, co-creator, writer and producer of the durable game show "Let's Make a Deal," has died at the age of 78.

Hatos, who produced a variety of other television shows and had a long history in radio, died March 2 in a Toluca Lake health club of heart problems. He had homes in Beverly Hills and Pebble Beach, Calif.

With Monty Hall, who was the show's on-air host for about 4,500 episodes, Hatos created the popular "Let's Make a Deal" for daytime television in 1963. It ran for 16 years on a daytime schedule and 10 years in prime time, with a final revival in the early 1990s.

Hatos, who was involved in more than 20,000 hours of network radio and television programming for all three major networks, also served as executive producer of the game series "Masquerade Party," "Three for the Money" and "It's Anybody's Guess."

In 1949, he created and produced one of television's first prime-time game shows, "Fun for the Money," which ran on 17 ABC stations.

Born in Aurora, Ill., Hatos studied creative writing, music, history and philosophy at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. He financed his education with a music scholarship and by playing oboe and English horn with the Detroit Civic Symphony and tenor and bass saxophone in dance bands.

Hatos began his career as staff announcer for Detroit radio station WJLB, and soon switched to the Blue Network (NBC) at that city's station WXYZ. Between announcing duties, he wrote episodes for the network's "The Lone Ranger," "The Green Hornet" and "Hermit's Cave."

Transferring to New York, Hatos wrote for Orson Welles' "Mercury Theater on the Air," "Nick Carter," "Counter-Spy," "Treasury Agent," "Inner Sanctum" and "David Harum."

His burgeoning career was interrupted by service in World War II. Hatos commanded a PT boat in the European and Pacific theaters.

After the war, Hatos produced the radio shows "Reader's Digest" and "The Wayne King Show," directed "Lucky Strike Hit Parade" and produced and directed "Welcome Travelers" and "Ladies Be Seated."

He moved into television in its infancy, creating and producing the Peabody Award-winning "Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe" and the children's show "Panhandle Pete and Jennifer."

Based in Los Angeles beginning in 1951, Hatos produced some of Bob Hope's early television shows and remained active in television and radio with such shows as "Beulah" and "Meet Corliss Archer." .

Hatos is survived by his wife of 37 years, Shirley; a daughter, Stefanie; a brother, Jim; and a sister, Marguerite Feke.

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