Chuck Barris

A Short Bio


Last Update  April 27, 2003

Born Charles H. Barris in Philadelphia on June 3, 1929. The son of a Dentist.
Barris later married Lyn Levy daughter of one of the founders of CBS. This promptly made her family disinherit her.

Chuck had been working as a management trainee at NBC in New York selling teleprompters. Although Chuck never sold any, the couple managed to live off his travel expense account, and they saved his salary. Finally the couple had enough saved to go off to Europe where Chuck would write the great American novel. He never did.

After a not so successful attempt at fight promotion, Chuck landed a job with ABC.
This was the time of the great payola scandal, and Chuck was sent off to Philly to be ABC's watch dog on Dick Clarks show American Bandstand.

Sitting around the set, he wrote a song called "Palisades Park". Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon recorded the song and it became a big hit, Chuck got in trouble for it and ABC told him not to do that anymore, because it didn't look nice. Chuck soon became restless and unhappy at ABC and wanted out.

In 1963 Chuck finally persuaded ABC to send him to Los Angeles as a director of daytime programming. This was a non-existent job since ABC was doing nothing on the coast at that time. A few months later armed with his new title and and having new baby daughter Della, he quit ABC.

Chuck then borrowed $20,000 dollars from his step father and started "The Dating Game". At first ABC rejected the show, then changed it's mind. The show least to say was a fabulous hit, it was then followed by "The Newlywed Game which was also a tremendous hit.

Chuck and Lyn eventually divorced, and Della went to live with her father, and when she got older started appearing on her dad's ever so popular "Gong Show". She also had a role in his later movie entitled "The Gong Show Movie" along with the rest of the cast and crew from "The Gong Show". Della passed away in 1998 from a drug overdose.

Back in the 70's, Chuck Barris Productions was one of the biggest and most prosperous company's in Hollywood.

Chuck went on to write several books after his first novel "You And Me Babe" which was based on his relationship with his first wife Lyn.

After numerous TV shows, some that were hits and some that just couldn't get off the ground plus a four year run with the "Gong Show", Chuck finally threw in the towel. But he had one last project up his sleeve. He made "The Gong Show Movie". The movie was roughly based on a day in the life of Chuck Barris and The Gong Show. Panned by critics, it was a box office flop.

He then packed it in and moved to France with his beautiful new wife Robin "Red" Altman whom he met during the run of the Gong Show.

In 1985 Chuck made one more special for Television. "Anything For A Laugh" was a compilation of all his game shows. The last time Chuck made an appearance on television was in 1993 when he was promoting his new book "Game Show King". He then had a small cameo appearance in his best friend Robert Downey's movie "Hugo Pool" in 1997.

Chuck Barris Productions has since folded and is now Chuck Barris Company with offices in Los Angeles and New York.

Chuck was on the New York Police Dept. board of trustees. The Chuck Barris Foundation was donor to this organization. The Chuck Barris Foundation has since disbanded.

Sadly in 1999, Chuck and Robin divorced and sold their beautiful home in St. Tropez France.

But on the lighter side, after surviving lung cancer, and getting married again to Mary, whom Chuck describes as his "soul mate". 
A movie based on one of his bestselling books "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind",  which was released  December 27, 2002,  and another  new book  soon to be released in 2003. 
So things are looking brighter for him these days, and we all wish him well.