Chuck Barris, Producer of The Gong Show, Dead at 87

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Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Chuck Barris, the prolific game-show producer, creator, and host, died Tuesday in his home in Palisades, New York, at the age of 87. Perhaps best known as the host of The Gong Show, Barris got his start in television at ABC, finding his first success with 1965’s The Dating Game, followed closely by 1966’s The Newlywed Game. Barris also wrote the 1962 Freddy Cannon hit “Palisades Park,” in addition to music for his various programs. In 1976, Barris became a household name as the exuberant host of NBC’s amateur variety competition series The Gong Show, which aired for two years and subsequently went into syndication. After the multihyphenate Barris retreated from the spotlight in the ’80s, he became an author, publishing seven books, including what he claimed to be a memoir, 1984’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. In Confessions, Barris alleges he worked undercover as a CIA assassin during the ’60s and ’70s, an assertion the Central Intelligence Agency denied. Sam Rockwell portrayed Barris in the film version of his work in 2002. In the clip below, Barris dances with Gong Show stagehand, fan favorite, and repeat contestant Eugene Patton, also known as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine.

Gong Show Creator Chuck Barris Dead at 87