The host of “The Gong Show” and the creative force behind “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game” and many other game shows died Tuesday at 87 in Palisades, N. Barris loaded ’60s and ’70s television with game shows, and later made waves when in an autobiography he claimed to be an assassin for the CIA, which the agency flatly denied.
This book was adapted into a feature film “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” Barris began his career as a songwriter — his biggest hit was “Palisades Park” for Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon in 1962 — but he truly burst into show business in 1965 with the debut of his brainchild “The Dating Game,” an updated, televised version of a World War II radio show titled “Blind Date,” The Washington Post reported in 1965.
Both the show and Barris’s hosting style were manic to the point that some accused him of substance abuse.
“I was never on drugs, but everybody thought I was,” Barris said in an interview with the Archive of American Television.
The book was turned into a critically acclaimed film in 2003 directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell, and saw the character of Chuck embarking on missions to Mexico, Berlin and Finland, killing 33 people and even getting captured by the KGB.
Naturally, there has been a lot of dispute over the claims in the book and just how much of it was true.
But perhaps the thing that he is most famous for is his claim that he once worked as a hitman for the Central Intelligence Agency.