Arsenio Hall: Choosing Fatherhood Over Fame
At age 32, Arsenio Hall became the first African American to host a national late night talk show. Two decades later at age 61, after walking away from The Arsenio Hall Show, Arsenio made a comeback to prime time for another two years, had a resurgence in his career and says even though he’s older in age, he feels younger than ever and it’s because of his son.
“When I was a kid, I watched Johnny Carson and thought, ‘I want his job when I grow up,'” Aresnio shared. “I got my own talk show in 1989. For five years I was doing what I’d always dreamed of, but it was a constant battle — for ratings, against the network. When I left in 1994, it was out of a desire to have more meaningful personal relationships. Becoming a father was one thing I didn’t want to leave the earth without doing.”
Many didn’t know that Arsenio fathered a son while on hiatus, who he says is the highlight of his life. “My son just turned 15. I was there for every PTA meeting and Little League game. One day we were watching football, and I said, ‘Let’s grab some wings and watch another game.’ It hit me: He knows I’m successful, but he’s never seen me grind. I don’t want him to grow up thinking this is easy. That’s when I knew it was time to go back. My new work schedule takes me away from him a bit — but the relationship we’ve built carries us through.”
“When I decided to get back in the game, nobody thought it was a good idea. I had to keep searching until I found one executive who believed in the project. That’s another thing we need to teach our kids: If you really want it, keep knocking on doors until somebody says, ‘Come on in.'”
Arsenio was initially told by his doctor that it might not be physically possible for him to have children. The idea of…