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The truth was that back when he was the Jerry Springer of his day, he couldn’t stomach being attacked for doing something he considered harmless,” wrote Joel Stein in Time magazine.
The multi-talented game show creator was also a songwriter, writing songs such as “Palisades Park” as well as music for his game shows.
He claims to have moonlighted as a CIA assassin while pitching hit TV shows.
He started out as a singer and has occasionally dabbled in other entertainment roles including acting and talk show hosting.
The show was so popular it spawned a feature film, “The Gong Show Movie,” which failed to catch on the way the TV show had.
Among the other shows he created or produced were a revival of “Your Hit Parade,” “Three’s a Crowd,” which faced criticism as it seemed to promote adultery; “Camouflage,” and “Treasure Hunt.” In the 1980s after a period living in France, he formed Barris Industries and revived “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” before selling his shares in the company to Burt Sugarman.
Celebrities and future celebrities who appeared as contestants included Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Martin and a pre-“Charlie’s Angels” Farrah Fawcett, introduced as “an accomplished artist and sculptress” with a dream to open her own gallery.
Seeking escape from the Hollywood rat race, he moved to a villa in the south of France in the 1980s with his girlfriend and future second wife, Robin Altman, and made only infrequent returns to his old haunts over the next two decades.A Philadelphia native, Barris grew up in Bala Cynwyd and graduated from Lower Merion High School and Drexel University. Barris is certainly responsible for an outrageous form of television that led the TV man to dub himself “The King of Daytime Television.” Critics, however, were less kind, referring to Barris in his heyday as “The King of Schlock” and “The Baron of Bad Taste.” So, with that legacy in mind, we have rounded up some of the weirdest, most outrageous TV moments made possible by Barris.