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Chuck Barris dead at 87 | chuck berry | chuck barris net worth | US News | New News

Chuck Barris dead at 87 | chuck berry | chuck barris net worth | US News | New News
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Chuck Barris, host of ‘The Gong Show’ who wildly claimed to be a CIA assassin, dead at 87
From his boundary-pushing game shows to his strange claims of being a CIA assassin, Chuck Barris lived large.

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.Y., his publicist announced.

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.

Hosted by Jim Lange, the show’s premise was simple. A divider separated a three men from a woman. Without being able to see the eligible bachelors, she would ask each a few questions. At the end of the show, she chose her date based solely on their answers. Sometimes a man asked three women questions.

It ran for 11 of the next 15 years, during which young celebrities such as Farrah Fawcett, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jackson and Suzanne Somers appeared as contestants.
One of the show’s primary draws was the sexual innuendo that often cropped up in the dialogue. The phrase “make whoopie” was commonplace.

In one exchange, for example, Schwarzenegger mentioned he was new to the United States and didn’t understand some phrases, specifically “hanky-panky.” A blushing female contestant asked he if understood “playing around.”

“Playing around with what?” Schwarzenegger knowingly responded with a smile, to which the blushing woman said, “My goodness. We might have to take a little time with you.”

The show’s impact can still be felt in dating shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”

Fueled by its success, Barris created several more of the genre we now call reality shows, most ending in the word “Game.” Among them were “The Newlywed Game,” “The Parent Game,” “The Family Game” and “The Game Game.”
“Everything was dealing with people, and no right and wrong answers, and no scripts,” Barris told the A.V. Club.

The shows performed well, but critics often derided Barris, giving him nicknames like “The King of Schlock,” “The Baron of Bad Taste” and “The Ayatollah of Trasherola.”

That didn’t slow his output. At one point his televised concoctions accounted for 27 hours of network time each week, according to the Associated Press. Which is ironic, considering Barris told the A.V. Club, “I don’t particularly like game shows.”

From 1976 to 1980, he became not just a household name but a recognizable face as the host of his magnum opus of lowbrow entertainment, “The Gong Show.”

It was ostensibly a talent show, but Barris was careful to often invite guests who lacked any discernible talents. When a guest proved inept, Barris would strike an enormous gong. Meanwhile, he and a panel of judges — which often included such David Letterman, Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan and Phyllis Diller — lobbed insults at them.

It, too, pushed boundaries. One act, which called itself “Have You Got a Nickel,” simply featured two young girls sitting cross-legged on the studio floor and suggestively slurping on ice pops.

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. “When they saw ‘The Gong Show,’ and I would come out, they all thought I was whacked out of my mind. But I never did drugs. I had a public company.”

Barris’s most outlandish moment, though, came in 1982 when he wrote an autobiography announcing he had served as a contract CIA assassin during his time working in television.
Chuck Barris dead at 87 | chuck berry | chuck barris net worth | US News | New News
By that year, his shows had all begun to wind down. “The Gong Show Movie,” which he directed and starred in, only stayed in theaters for one week, the Associated Press reported.

He was infuriated.

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Britney Shephards
Britney Shephards

I have a very loud laugh ( so *they* said) and a penchant for cocktail rings (the bigger, the better). It would be wise not to test me on Sex and the City trivia. Funnel muffins are the way to my heart.

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    May 12, 2017 9:07 pm

    Chuck Barris dead at 87 | chuck berry | chuck barris net worth | US News | New News

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