BARRIS, CHUCK (Charles; 1929– ) U.S. television producer. Barris is known for his role as the producer of popular TV game shows, including some of the earliest forms of "reality television." Barris was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended the Drexel Institute of Technology. After graduating, he moved to New York, where he began his career in the television industry with a low-level job at NBC. Laid off a year later, Barris was unemployed for a year before being hired by ABC, where he worked with Dick Clark, the host of American Bandstand. Barris later sold the pilot of his own show, The Dating Game, to ABC. The Dating Game was an immediate hit, moving to primetime in 1966 and paving the way for Barris' popular The Newlywed Game. Barris continued to utilize the same formula in three more shows, The Family Game, Dream Girl of 1968, and How's Your Mother-in-Law? In 1968, he founded his own company, Barris Industries, which would produce television programs such as The Game Game and Operation Entertainment. The Newlywed Show was canceled in 1974, and Barris struggled to find a new niche in the television market until 1976, when he made his first appearance as the host of the talent competition The Gong Show. Barris' antics as the host of The Gong Show transformed the producer into a celebrity during the show's four-year run. Barris wrote his autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in 1986, which made the controversial claims that he had lived a double-life during the 1960s, working both as a TV producer and as an international CIA assassin. Barris also published a second autobiography, The Game Show King (1993), which made no reference to his alleged involvement with the CIA. In 2002, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was made into a feature film of the same title directed by George Clooney. (Walter Driver (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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