NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Chuck Barris, a prolific television producer whose game shows were a staple of daytime television for years, has died. He was 87.
According to NBC News, publicist Paul Shefrin confirmed that Barris died of natural causes Tuesday afternoon at his home in Palisades, New York.
Barris, called the King of Daytime Television, or the King of Schlock, depending on who you asked, scored his first major hit in 1966 with "The Dating Game," hosted by Jim Lange. The show featured an easy-on-the-eyes female contest grilling three unseen male contestants with risque questions to determine which one she'd date.
Following the show's success, Barris developed additional projects, including "The Newlywed Game," ''The Parent Game," ''The Family Game" and even "The Game Game."
Barris also developed the live talent program "The Gong Show" which featured performers with unusual talents, or frankly no talents. They'd perform their bit with the risk of Barris striking an oversize gong, signaling that the performance had run its course. The performer was then subjected to merciless teasing and scoring by Barris and a cadre of b-list celebrities.
"When I started out I was trying to find good talent but all I found was bad talent … so I said let's do a show with bad talent," Barris said in a 2009 interview with the NPR show "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me." "I always thought the people who did my shows, the contestants, were having the time of their lives."
Despite Barris's success, his shows had detractors in the media, who claimed that he exploited contestants and that the programs were prurient and crude.
In the mid-to-late 1970s, the popularity of Barris's shows faded and he eventually sold his company for a reported $100 million in 1980. Subsequent attempts to launch new shows proved to be less than successful.
In Barris's autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, he claims to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as an assassin in the 1960s and the 1970s. However, Paul Nowack, a spokesman for the intelligence agency subsequently described Barris's assertion as "ridiculous" and "untrue," which, admittedly, is probably just what they'd say if it was true.
In addition to his work on television, Barris had a brief career as a songwriter, scoring a hit in 1962 with "Palisades Park," which was recorded by Freddy Cannon.