Science & Technology

‘The Gong Show’ Host Chuck Barris Has Died at Age 87

After The Gong Show, Barris revived some of his other game shows: The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game (renamed The New Newlywed Game) both returned to TV in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s, though by then Barris had sold his shares in his production company and moved on.

During the “Gong Show,” a pennant from Flint’s one-time minor league hockey team, the Flint Generals, was displayed over the giant gong judges would use to eliminate performers competing on the talent show spoof.

Barris made game-show history with “The Dating Game”, beginning in 1966 and hosted by Jim Lange.

The book was finally adapted by George Clooney, making his directorial debut with a script written by wunderkind Charlie Kaufman; their 2002 film premiered to positive reviews and garnered a small smattering of awards, including two from the National Board of Review.

Barris was married three times, most recently to Mary Rudolph in 2000. “I wrote the book and that’s how I felt when I wrote it”, he said. “I’ve created hit TV shows”, he told The Times in 2002, “but nothing has been great”.

Robert Thompson, a pop culture and television professor at Syracuse University, said Barris’s “fingerprints” are all over more current shows like The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire and the Idol franchise. Responding to the appeal of that uncontrolled TV chaos, Barris would follow Newlywed with The Gong Show, a show where there was very little rail in the first place for the show to go off. The film is a fictional take on his time as host.

Whether you regarded the spectacle as cruel, amusing or a cynical combination of both, “The Gong Show” could make viewers feel as if they should have been the ones wearing the Unknown Comic’s paper-bag disguise, even when watching at home alone. Continuing to dominate the TV game show landscape, Barris next introduced “The Newlywed Game”, “The Game Game” and a Mama Cass special, among others.

“When I graduated college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do”, Chuck said. “These people don’t take participating on a game show as seriously as you think they do, Mike”.

The Gong Show did unearth some genuine talent, including Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman), sound effect maestro Michael Winslow of the Police Academy series and composer Danny Elfman, who appeared alongside his then-band the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. She died of a drug overdose in 1998.


In the book, which was widely criticized, he claimed to have been a Central Intelligence Agency assassin. (2009). He published Della: A Memoir of My Daughter in 2010. “I can just tell you that the No. 2 guy in the C.I.A. said, in answer to reporters asking that question, that I must have been standing too close to the gong when I say things like that”.

Chuck Barris the man behind TV’s “The Dating Game,” “The Gong Show” and other game shows

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