His 1984 memoir, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” was a sensation, and also a scandal.In the opening pages, he recalled accidentally killing his housekeeper, by drop-kicking a flowerpot onto her head. He later explained that after getting fired from NBC, he was recruited by the CIA, and went on to become a stone-cold killer, and personally dispatched 30 targets. Victims assumed he was the fun-loving guy in the tux, who winced when Jamie Farr hit the gong to end some execrable act. Maybe they should have watched the show, when he was always introduced as “your host, the delectably dangerous Mister Chuck Barris...” Many readers believed Barris. Nevertheless, the CIA still had to endlessly respond to the same question, with the same answer: “No one named Chuck Barris ever worked for the CIA...” (But then, don’t all CIA assassins go by assumed names? David Bianculli -- one of the sharpest critics of television in the long history of television -- instantly understood what was going on.In his now infamous unauthorized autobiography 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind', he wrote that he had been enlisted by a CIA agent to work as an assassin during his time hosting 'The Dating Game' and 'The Gong Show'.The book was turned into a critically acclaimed film in 2003 directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell, and saw the character of Chuck embarking on missions to Mexico, Berlin and Finland, killing 33 people and even getting captured by the KGB.Still, he has always staunchly refused to confirm or deny the truth behind his memoirs. And when you put that next to the publication's claim that he faked his NBC resume, it seems he had a history of making stuff up.
(Occasionally, a man asked questions of three women.) When The Dating Game premiered on ABC in December 1965 ("from Hollywood, the dating capital of the world"), critics called it a new low in television. (But then aren’t all CIA assassins, self-confessed or otherwise, “clandestine? The man of a dozen masks: Failed Tele Promp Ter salesman, creator of three surreally bad game shows (and elfin, manic host of one of them), best-selling author, self-proclaimed clandestine assassin for the CIA.As he explained in a story on Barris -- who corroborated the observation – the assassin business was just a metaphor.As Bianculli wrote, “The major theme of the book, (Barris) says, is that ‘you can be crucified for making people laugh, yet, extending that idea to extremes, can get a presidential citation for killing them.’” The joke’s on you, critics: There are actually worse things than making bad TV shows. George Clooney eventually made a movie based on the book.It's a sad week for Chuck fans all round because it has just been announced that the legendary daytime TV star Chuck Barris - the man who once claimed to be a CIA assassin and inspired the movie 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' - is dead at the age of 87.