Howie Mandel Says Meghan Markle Was “Slightly Duchess-y” on ‘Deal or No Deal’

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Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images
Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images

These days, Meghan Markle is the Duchess of Sussex, carrying out royal duties with her husband, Prince Harry.

But years ago, she was a struggling actress trying to make it work as a “briefcase girl” on the game show Deal or No Deal. Now, that show is returning to television on CNBC, and its host, Howie Mandel, is speaking out about the show’s breakout star.

Fox News reports Mandel joked about the Duchess of Sussex during the Television Critics Association press tour this week. “She was slightly duchessy,” he joked, to laughs from the room. He and executive producer Scott St. John weighed in on Markle as they promoted the show’s comeback after 9 years off the air.

Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images
Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images

“She was not involved in many episodes, but I did remember her. She was a very nice person,” St. John said. “I can’t say that I saw anything—I actually think all the women on our show are special.”

Mandel’s real point was that the women who held briefcases on Deal or No Deal were all unique and had their own lives going on off-camera. “Not everybody will have the opportunity to meet royalty, but these are all accomplished people that have something substantial—they’re not just standing there holding a case,” he said. "They have careers, they have hobbies, they have families, they’re entrepreneurial—they’re all people. So, when somebody like Harry meets somebody who just happened to be on our show, there’s a lot to offer.”

Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images

Markle has spoken out in the past about working on the show, and how jarring it was coming straight from a more serious gig abroad. “I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. It's run the gamut,” she told Esquire in 2013. “Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.”

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