Chuck Barris Biography (Personal Life, Career)

Born in 3rd of June, 1929, Charles Hirsch Barris is a TV presenter, stand-up comedian, TV producer, author and songwriter. He is well known for different shows and games he presented, especially for The Gong Show (1976-1980) and Dating Show.

Personal Life

The stand-up comedian Chuck Barrs was born in Oakland, New Jersey to a Jewish family. His father was a dentist. He attended Drexel Institute of Technology University where he was a columnist at the student newspaper The Triangle. The stand-up comedian graduated in 1953. After graduating, the comedian held several odd jobs before moving to New York.

In 1957, the stand-up comedian married Lyn Levy, daughter of one of the founders of CBS. This promptly made her family disinherit her. Their marriage lasted until 1976. They had a girl Della who passed away in 1998 at the age of 36, from a drug overdose.

He remarried "Red" Robin Altman in 1980 with whom he moved to France in 1986. Sadly in 1999, the stand-up comedian and Robin divorced and sold their beautiful home in St. Tropez France. He got married again in 2000 to Mary, whom Chuck describes as his "soul mate". The comedian is a survivor of a lung cancer. He also claims to have worked for the CIA. They currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chuck Barris' biggest regret is that he didn’t object when his daughter Della decided at the age of 16 to move out on her own.


The stand up comedian Barris had a very difficult start in his career. He was offered by NBC the post of watchdog for Dick Clark who was performing in American Brandstand. During the time spend on this set, Barris and Clark became friends, and the comedian eventually got a full-time job in daytime television at ABC in Los Angeles (1963). Few months later, the stand-up comedian quit ABC.

Soon after quitting ABC, the stand up comedian borrowed $20,000 from his stepfather, developed The Dating Game and sold the pilot to ABC. The show made its debut and become a fabulous hit. In 1966, Barris followed up his success with The Newlywed Game witch is the longest lasting show of any developed by his company, running for 19 full years. Interviewed in 2009, the stand-up comedian said that the Newlywed Game was the easiest program he had developed. "All I needed was four couples, eight questions, and a washer-dryer.

The comedian quickly sold three more comedy shows: The Family Game, Dream Girl and How's Your Mother-in-Law? The comedian launched Barris Industries in 1968, one of the biggest and most prosperous company's in Hollywood.

In 1976, the stand-up comedian made a comeback with The Gong Show at NBC's insistence. It’s now when the comedian became a public figure because he hosted the show himself. The show found its television audience and it was very popular. But four years later The Gong Show was eventually canceled because of the bad ratings.At the middle of 1970, ABC cancelled the Dating and Newlywed games. This left the stand-up comedian with only one show, his weekly syndicated effort The New Treasure Hunt. He also added the $1.98 Beauty Show and The Chuck Barris Rah-Rah Show to his syndication empire.

Another creation of the stand-up comedian’s industry was Three's A Crowd (1979-1980), (in which three sets of wives and secretaries competed to see who knew more about their husbands/bosses). This show provoked protests from enraged feminist and socially conservative who charged that the show deliberately exploited adultery.

During the winter of 1980, Barris tried to come up with an original game, Camouflage but the show lasted only a short time in syndication. By September 1980, for the first time in his company's history, the stand-up comedian had no shows in production. After a year's inactivity, the comedian revived Treasure Hunt again in 1981 but the game lasted only one year. In 1985 the stand up comedian made one more special for Television "Anything For A Laugh". The comedy show was a compilation of all his game shows.

The stand up comedian was also a very talented songwriter. Soon, he became not only a well known stand up comedian, but a music industry figure. He produced pop music on records and TV, but his most successful venture was writing "Palisades Park” recorded by Freddy Cannon. The comedian also co-wrote or wrote some of the music that appeared on his game shows.

The comedian wrote his autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He published his second autobiography, The Game Show King, in 1993 when he had his last appearance on TV as a stand up comedian. In 2003, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was made into a film directed by George Clooney and released in December 27, 2002. The film explores one of the book's most controversial story lines (the stand-up comedian claims that he was a CIA officer in the 1960s).

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