Howie Mandel is a zany stand-up comic who managed to curb his antics and become a popular television actor and game-show host.
Vividly etched in some minds as the man who would affix a rubber glove to his head and inflate it to look like a rooster comb, Mandel was a shocking choice to star in NBC's serious medical drama, "St. Elsewhere," which ran in the 1980s with an ensemble cast that included Denzel Washington and Mark Harmon. Mandel further demonstrated his versatility by doing game shows, most notably NBC's "Deal or No Deal."
Expelled from high school—supposedly for impersonating a school board member—Mandel toiled as a carpet salesman and did stand-up comedy at a club in his native Toronto, where he was born in 1955. His wild-man comedy routines moved audiences to hysterics. When people reacted uproariously to the inflated glove on his head, he would raise his palms innocently and demand, "What? What?"
During a trip to Los Angeles in 1979, Mandel took part in amateur night at the Comedy Store, where a producer recruited him to appear on the popular TV program "Make Me Laugh." That led to gigs on "Late Night With David Letterman."
Mandel's movie credits include the comedies "Walk Like a Man" and "Little Monsters." He currently performs stand-up at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. NBC recently announced that Mandel would replace David Hasselhoff on "America's Got Talent."
Irrationally fearful of germs, Mandel refuses to shake hands and even shaves his head to make himself feel cleaner.