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Patti Stanger Biography

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Birth Name: Patti Stanger
Born: 05/31/1961
Birth Place: Short Hills, New Jersey, USA

Born May 31, 1961 in Short Hills, NJ, Patti Stanger was adopted into a Jewish family. A third-generation matchmaker, she learned her skills from her mother and grandmother, and made her first match when she paired up her best friend with a boy at a church dance. As a young woman, she idolized the movie studio mogul Sherry Lansing, and dreamed of being a high-powered Hollywood exec. Stanger graduated from the University of Miami and spent 10 years on the corporate side of the fashion industry in New York City. For five years, she served as Director of Marketing for Great Expectations, the largest dating service in the country at the time, and, as a lifelong fan of metaphysics and astrology, also ran the Kenny Kingston Psychic Network. Stanger also continued to add to her valuable life experience as a single professional woman in the dating trenches.

Los Angeles beckoned, and Stanger moved West with just $500 to her name in order to fulfill her dream of running a studio. To facilitate her entrée into Hollywood society, Stanger joined several dating services and quickly met a millionaire who proposed marriage. Since she had no interest in marrying him, Stanger instead gave her suitor some blunt advice on how to succeed with other women, and he was so impressed with her insight and candor he invested $10,000 for her to find him a willing wife. Thus, Stanger's top-tier matchmaking service, Millionaire's Club, was born in January 2000. Thanks to her skill and positive word of mouth, her business took off, with founder and CEO Stanger utilizing her innate matchmaking talents as well as her marketing expertise to reposition her dating service as the premier in its field.

Using a matchmaker herself paid off in 2003, when Stanger was connected with real-estate exec Andy Friedman, and the two dated quietly as Stanger's business continued to boom. She assembled a team of 35 trained matchmakers, a rigorous screening and selection processes for both members and a pool of 30,000 "beautiful and intelligent" potential female partners. Because Stanger enlisted a variety of stylists, interior decorators and other professionals to help groom her clients as well as her prospects, her services did not come cheap: male clients paid more than $25,000 for 14-month memberships, doubling that amount if they wanted Stanger to serve as their personal matchmaker. A combination of Stanger's success and her Simon Cowell-esque brutal honesty attracted TV industry interest. In 2008, she signed a deal to begin filming her own reality show.

"Millionaire Matchmaker" (Bravo, 2008- ) presented a streamlined version of Stanger's actual business practices, glossing over much of the background work her company used in favor of emphasizing its more glamorous aspects. On each hour-long episode, two millionaires (chosen by the network rather than going through Stanger's process) apply for Stanger's help. After grilling them on their likes and dislikes - and giving them a humorously harsh appraisal - she pulls together a group of women for a "VIP mixer," where the millionaires winnow down their choices for a session of mini-dates. Afterwards, the millionaires choose their "master dates," which are profiled on camera. Finally, Stanger debriefs both the millionaires and their dates, and then viewers receive an update on the success (or not) of each couple. Although the show at first only featured straight male millionaires, episodes eventually featured women and gay millionaires as well, to reflect services Stanger added to her real-life company.

An über-competent boss in the vein of "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006), Stanger's snappy chemistry with her employees - especially rockabilly couple Rachel Federoff and Destin Pfaff - and her painfully frank assessments of both the millionaires and the aspiring daters helped the show become a success. Although some complained that Stanger's rules of dating were antiquated when it came to gender roles, she achieved ample cultural cachet as a love and dating expert, earning her own call-in show "P.S. I Love You" for XM Satellite Radio and publishing her first book in 2009, Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate, which she dedicated to single women everywhere.

A frequent criticism of Stanger as a professional matchmaker concerned the fact that she herself had yet to marry, although she was still dating her long-term boyfriend Friedman. He proposed on her birthday in 2009, and Stanger did the media rounds, as well as incorporating her upgraded relationship status onto her show. In August of the following year, however, Stanger tweeted that the two had broken up over their conflicting thoughts on having children. Again, critics complained that Stanger had not followed her own strict relationship mandates. Shortly thereafter, the gossip outlet TMZ obtained a recording of Stanger shredding her friend/stylist Lauren Solomon over the clothes pulled for her appearance on the August 25 episode of "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ). While Stanger's choice of words was harsh, the sentiment of "professionalism above all else" reflected her well-known incredibly high standards, and the scandal had a minimal impact on her career.