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Celebrity Obituaries

Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:23 pm


George Michael has died aged 53, he rose to fame with Wham! before becoming an international pop star

George Michael has died aged 53, he rose to fame with Wham! before becoming an international pop star

George Michael was born in East Finchley, London, on June 25, 1963.

He was the son of Greek Cypriot restaurateur Kyriacos Panayiotou, who moved to England in the 1950s.

Michael first attended Kingsbury High School in north London. His mother, Lesley Angold, was an English dancer.

When he was a teenager, his family moved to Hertfordshire, an affluent village called Radlett just north east of Watford.

It was there where he met Wham! partner and guitarist Andrew Ridgeley after he joined Bushey Meads School in Bushey.

As their relationship grew, it was clear that the pair wanted to be famous musicians and Michael starting busking on the London Underground.

He would sing songs, including Queen's '39' and then he started working as a DJ.

The singer went on to perform at small venues in Watford, Stanmore and Bushey.

He then formed the ska band, The Executive with Ridgeley and Ridgeley's brother Paul, Andrew Leaver and David Mortimer.

Michael then started Wham! with Ridgeley in 1981 and their debut album, Fantastic, reached number one in the UK two years later.

Their second album, Make It Big – which included 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-GO' - reached number one in the US.

He sang on the original Band Air recording of 'Do They Know It's Christmas' – which later became the UK Christmas number one.

In 1986, Wham! separated.

Just one year later he launched his own solo career and kicked it off with a duet with star Aretha Franklin.

He went on to release seven solo albums – from Faith in 1987 to Symphonica in 2014.

Elton John has lead the tributes to the star on social media by posting a heartfelt message along with a picture of the pair together, on his Instagram page.
He wrote: 'I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans. @GeorgeMichael #RIP'
Ricky Gervais, who cast Michael in an episode of his sitcom Extras, wrote: 'Unbelievable. RIP George Michael.'
While Gary Lineker posted: 'No, not George Michael as well. Another musical great leaves us this year. 2016 can just sod off. #RIPGeorge'
Electro-pop star Gary Numan tweeted: 'Oh no. George Michael RIP.'
The official account of eighties pop group Duran Duran also paid their respects by tweeting: '2016 - loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael's family.'
Hit producer Mark Ronson called Michael a 'phenomenon' on Twitter.

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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:59 am

'Star Wars' actress Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

Actress Carrie Fisher in a scene from (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) film, Photo Date: 1980

By Associated Press | Posted: Tue 1:21 PM, Dec 27, 2016 | Updated: Tue 2:39 PM, Dec 27, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) Actress Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars," has died. She was 60.

Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, released a statement through her spokesman saying Fisher died Tuesday just before 9 a.m PST. Lourd said her mother was "loved by the word and she will be missed profoundly."

Fisher had been hospitalized since Friday when she suffered a medical emergency on board a flight to Los Angeles.

She made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit "Shampoo" and was also an accomplished author who detailed her experiences with addiction and mental illness in several best-selling books. Besides her daughter, Fisher is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds. ... 18655.html
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby bdcbbq » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:21 pm

William Christopher AKA Father Mulcahy on M.A.S.H. died December 31, 2016.

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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:48 am

bdcbbq wrote:William Christopher AKA Father Mulcahy on M.A.S.H. died December 31, 2016.

William Christopher, Father Mulcahy on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 84



William Christopher as Father Francis Mulcahy on the hit 1970s-1980s sitcom “M*A*S*H.” Credit 20th Century Fox, via Everett Collection
William Christopher, the actor best known for his role as Father Francis Mulcahy on the hit 1970s-1980s sitcom “M*A*S*H,” died on Saturday at his home in Pasadena, Calif. He was 84.

The cause was cancer, his agent, Robert Malcolm, said. He added that Mr. Christopher had received the diagnosis a year and a half ago and had responded well to treatment until recently.

Mr. Christopher began his acting career in Broadway and Off Broadway productions in New York before pursuing television work in Los Angeles. He appeared on a number of popular shows, including “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Patty Duke Show,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Love Boat.”

Mr. Christopher’s character on “M*A*S*H,” Father Mulcahy was a soft-spoken Roman Catholic chaplain assigned to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The series ran from 1972 to 1983 on CBS.

He reprised the role of Father Mulcahy in “After M*A*S*H,” a spinoff that aired from 1983 to 1985 and followed some of the show’s main characters as they resumed civilian life after the war’s end.

“He became TV’s quintessential padre,” Loretta Swit — who co-starred on “M*A*S*H” as the nurse Margaret Houlihan, better known as Hot Lips — said in a statement. “It was the most perfect casting ever known. He was probably responsible for more people coming back to the church.”

Alan Alda ✔ @alanalda
His pals from #MASH miss Bill powerfully. His kind strength, his grace and gentle humor weren't acted. They were Bill. ❤️#WilliamChristopher
1:20 PM - 1 Jan 2017
1,974 1,974 Retweets 7,607 7,607 likes
Alan Alda, who portrayed Capt. Benjamin Pierce, called Hawkeye, on the show, said on Twitter that Mr. Christopher’s “kind strength, his grace and gentle humor weren’t acted.” He added, “They were Bill.”

In the 1990s, Mr. Christopher appeared in a touring production of “The Odd Couple” with another “M*A*S*H” cast member, Jamie Farr.

Mr. Christopher devoted much of his life offscreen to caring for his autistic son, Ned, and to championing for the developmentally disabled and their families. In 1985 he and his wife, Barbara, wrote a book, “Mixed Blessings,” about the challenges they faced as the parents of an autistic child.

“There is no magic cure for autism,” the couple told People magazine in 1989. “Parents should know that it’s a lifelong fight to get what your child needs. They should make sure to save time for themselves, and they should allow themselves to cry.”

William Christopher was born Oct. 20, 1932, in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in the city’s northern suburbs, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., with a bachelor’s degree in drama.

Survivors include his wife and two sons, John and Ned, Mr. Malcolm said. ... .html?_r=0
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:54 pm

She Turned The World On With Her Smile: Mary Tyler Moore Dies At 80

January 25, 20173:09 PM ET

Actors Mary Tyler Moore and Ted Knight laugh in a still from The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1976.
20th Century Fox Television/Fotos International/Getty Images
Mary Tyler Moore played the girl who could turn the world on with her smile. The actress is beloved for two TV roles: the single young professional Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and before that, the earnest homemaker Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, her longtime representative told NPR.

"Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine," Mara Buxbaum said in an email. "A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."

In 1995, 25 years after The Mary Tyler Moore Show first aired, the actress clearly recalled shooting the scenes for its memorable opening credits. "It was freezing cold," she told WHYY's Fresh Air. "It was in Minneapolis in January, I think. We didn't know what we were doing — we were just there to grab a lot of footage that shows a young woman's exuberance [over] being in a new city."

The final opening credits showed Moore's character tossing her hat in the air. With it, she's tossing out all the baggage of her last life and starting over in the newsroom of Minneapolis' WJM-TV. Moore plays Richards as young, polite and very determined. In the first episode, when crotchety news director Lou Grant, played by Ed Asner, asks Richards about her age and relationship status during a job interview, she challenges his line of questioning. "You've been asking a lot of very personal questions that don't have a thing to do with my qualifications for this job," she says.

"It was the most powerful moment in theater I've had, because she played it so beautifully," Asner told NPR in 2001. "The audience was going 'oh-goo-goo' at that moment."

From 1961 to 1966, Moore played opposite Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show. In 2011, Van Dyke told NPR he thought they had a bit of a crush on each other while filming the show.
CBS via Getty Images
By the time Moore appeared in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she was already an experienced comedic actor and producer. Her production company MTM Enterprises (formed with her second husband, Grant Tinker) was also responsible for the sitcoms Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show and WKRP in Cincinnati.

Moore had learned her craft while playing homemaker Laura Petrie for five seasons on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Her chemistry with her on-screen husband, played by Dick Van Dyke, was so electric that CBS insisted her character had to be a single woman on her later show — the network didn't want viewers to think they had divorced.

Van Dyke cheerfully admitted this to NPR in 2011: "Around the second season, we would try to rehearse and begin to giggle for no reason. And a psychiatrist said, 'You have a crush on each other.' And I realized that's true! And I think it showed on the screen. I think that's why people thought we were really married because we had a wonderful connection."

Laura Petrie also wasn't the typical 1960s housewife people were used to seeing on TV. "Laura actually had opinions of her own," Moore said. "And while she was asserting herself, she also didn't make Dick Van Dyke look like a dummy. I mean, society's expectations at that point still said, 'Hey, wait a minute, lady, you only go so far here.' But I think we broke new ground."

Moore accepts the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2012.
Mark J. Terrill/AP
The character also wore capri pants in a time when skirts and heels were the height of TV fashion. Moore proved she could wear what she wanted and also sometimes take the comic lead to Van Dyke's straight man. She said she had always been a fan of the comedian Nanette Fabray, and she channeled Fabray to conjure up those trademark comic tears. "There was definitely a cracking in the voice and an inability to maintain a tone and a certain amount of verbal yodeling that took place," Moore said.

The Women Who Inspired Other Women With 'Mary Tyler Moore'
In her real life, the actress was not the single, free-wheeling Mary Richards that America embraced. The real Mary was married by the time she was 18. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but she grew up in Los Angeles with a mother who battled alcoholism, a problem that later afflicted Moore and both her siblings.

"I probably never was really out-and-out drunk," Moore recalled. "And I certainly never drank during the daytime, but I wasted a lot of my time and I forgot a lot because I didn't remember much of what happened the night before."

Moore channeled some of that unhappiness for her role as a grieving mother in 1980's Ordinary People, a performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination. To this day, however, it's her comedy that endures. In downtown Minneapolis, there's a statue of her as Mary Richards twirling her cap — a moment of hope and promise, frozen in time. ... t=20170125
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:10 pm

Actor John Hurt of 'Elephant Man,' 'Midnight Express' and 'Alien' dies at 77
By Ralph Ellis, CNN
Updated 12:38 AM ET, Sat January 28, 2017
Remembering Oscar nominated John Hurt




(CNN)Actor John Hurt, the gravelly voiced British actor who garnered Oscar nominations for his roles in "Midnight Express" and "The Elephant Man," has died at the age of 77, publicist Charles McDonald said Friday.

McDonald offered no other details of Hurt's passing.
Known for playing tormented characters, Hurt memorably died on screen in the 1979 space adventure "Alien" when a creature exploded from his chest during lunch in the spacecraft mess hall. CNN's "The Screening Room" in 2007 ranked it among its Top 10 favorite movie deaths.

Hurt always stayed busy, working more than six decades in television, movies and voice work in England and the United States. He recently played a priest who counsels Jacqueline Kennedy in last year's biopic "Jackie," according to IMDb.
"I'm very much of the opinion that to work is better than not to work," he said, according to his IMDb bio. "There are others who'd say, 'No, wait around for the right thing' - and they will finish up a purer animal than me. ... Of course, I don't do everything by any means: I do turn lots of stuff down, because it's absolute crap. But I usually find something interesting enough to do."
Accolades poured in on social media.
Actor Kiefer Sutherland tweeted: "My deepest sympathies to John Hurt's family, friends and fans. He was a dear friend."
Kiefer Sutherland ✔ @RealKiefer
My deepest sympathies to John Hurt's family, friends and fans. He was a dear friend.
9:22 PM - 27 Jan 2017
550 550 Retweets 2,703 2,703 likes
Actor Elijah Wood tweeted: "Very sad to hear of John Hurt's passing. It was such an honor to have watched you work, sir."
Elijah Wood ✔ @elijahwood
Very sad to hear of John Hurt's passing. It was such an honor to have watched you work, sir.
8:53 PM - 27 Jan 2017
1,576 1,576 Retweets 5,380 5,380 likes
Hurt was born in Shirebrook, a coal mining village in Derbyshire, England, the son of an an engineer and one-time actress and an Anglican clergyman and mathematician, IMDb said.
He trained to become a painter but, after being accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, worked on the stage in the early 1960s.

His first film role came in the "angry young man" drama "Young and Willing" in 1962 and his first major role in "A Man for All Seasons" in 1966, IMDb said.
His big break came when he portrayed the gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in the mid-1970s television play "The Naked Civil Servant," which was adapted from Crisp's autobiography, IMDb said.
The good roles kept coming. He went on to play a Turkish prison inmate in "Midnight Express" in 1978 and the gentle, disfigured John Merrick in "The Elephant Man" in 1980. Those roles earned him Oscar nominations and he won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in "Midnight Express."
He usually played characters with problems, and IMDb said he died 47 times on screen. But Hurt also also had comic roles, such as Jesus in Mel Brooks' "History of the World: Part I" in 1981, which he took on because he'd just done two serious roles and wanted to have some fun, IMDb said.

Hurt appeared in the first two Harry Potter movies, playing wand maker Garrick Ollivander, and did voice work and narration in movies like "Watership Down," "The Plague Dogs," and "Thumbelina."
Some of his top television roles included Caligula in "I, Claudius" in 1976, General Woundwort in "Watership Down" and the War Doctor in "Doctor Who."
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Drama.
Hurt was married four times and was married to Anwen Rees-Myers when he died. Hurt was an alcoholic for years but said he quit drinking in 2005, according to IMDb.
A grand scheme never guided his life, he said.
"I've just been whipped along by the waves I'm sitting in," he said, according to IMDb. "I don't make plans at all. Plans are what make God laugh. You can make plans, you can make so many plans, but they never go right, do they?"
CNN's Dottie Evans contributed to this report ... hurt-obit/
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:32 pm

Actor Bill Paxton dead at 61
Published February 26, 2017


Actor Bill Paxton has died due to complications from surgery, People magazine reported.

He was 61.

“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” a family representative said in a statement. “A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Paxton, born in Forth Worth, Texas, had a long and accomplished
career in television and film. Memorable films include “Titanic,” “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Tombstone,” “Apollo 13” and “Twister.”

As a boy, Paxton was in the crowd that welcomed President John F. Kennedy in Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

He was also featured in many television shows, including the lead in
HBO’s “Big Love,” the “Hatfield & McCoys." He was most recently cast in the CBS drama "Training Day."

Paxton is survived by his second wife, Louise Newbury, a son, James, 22, and daughter, Lydia, 19. ... at-61.html
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:27 pm

Judge Wapner of 'People's Court' fame dead at 97
Published February 26, 2017 Associated Press


Oct. 13, 1989: Retired Judge Joseph A. Wapner of TV's 'The People's Court' congratulates his son, Judge Frederick N. Wapner, right, as he was enrobed as a Municipal Court judge in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
LOS ANGELES – Joseph Wapner, the retired Los Angeles judge who presided over "The People's Court" with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show, died Sunday at age 97.

Son David Wapner told The Associated Press that his father died at home in his sleep. Joseph Wapner was hospitalized a week ago with breathing problems and had been under home hospice care.

"The People's Court," on which Wapner decided real small-claims from 1981 to 1993, was one of the granddaddies of the syndicated reality shows of today. His affable, no-nonsense approach attracted many fans, putting "The People's Court" in the top five in syndication at its peak.

Before auditioning for the show, Wapner had spent more than 20 years on the bench in Los Angeles, first in Municipal Court and then in Superior Court. At one time he was presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the largest court in the United States. He retired as judge in November 1979, the day after his 60th birthday.

"Everything on the show is real," Wapner told the AP in a 1986 interview. "There's no script, no rehearsal, no retakes. Everything from beginning to end is like a real courtroom, and I personally consider each case as a trial."

"Sometimes I don't even deliberate," he added. "I just decide from the bench, it's so obvious. The beautiful part is that I have carte blanche."

"The People's Court" cases were tried without lawyers by the rules of Small Claims Court, which has a damage limit of $1,500. Researchers for the producer, Ralph Edwards Productions, checked claims filed in Southern California for interesting cases.

The plaintiff and defendant had to agree to have the case settled on the show and sign a binding arbitration agreement; the show paid for the settlements.

In some metropolitan counties, the number of small claims cases more than tripled during the 1980s; some cited Wapner as a cause.

Johnny Carson invited Wapner him to come on "The Tonight Show" and settle a dispute between himself and David Letterman. Carson wanted to do it as a skit, but Wapner said no and conducted it like a trial.

The dispute was over an old truck that Letterman kept parked by his property in Malibu. Carson said it was an eyesore and had it hauled away. When Letterman got it back, the headlights had been broken.

"I awarded Letterman $24.95," said Wapner.

By the time Wapner left the show, in 1993, interest in the genre had cooled, but trials such as the Simpson trial and the courtroom theatrics of "Judge Judy" revived the TV-court craze starting in 1997.

Wapner returned to "The People's Court" show in 2000 to help celebrate its 3,000th episode, judging the case of a man suing over a piece of sports memorabilia. He said he had seen snippets of Judge Judy's work, but generally never watched such shows.

"I never watched myself," he said. "Why should I watch them?"

He also had a series on the Animal Planet cable channel called "Judge Wapner's Animal Court."

Wapner was a Los Angeles native and received a law degree from the University of Southern California. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mickey, and by two sons, both of whom joined the legal profession. A daughter, Sarah, died in 2015.

During his days as presiding Superior Court judge, Wapner was credited with innovations aimed at saving time for trial participants. A 1971 Los Angeles Times article described his steps to streamline jury selection or even dispense with juries altogether by increasing the number of cases heard solely by a judge chosen to be acceptable to both sides in the case.

His courtroom was also used in 1971 in a brief test of a system to videotape trials to save on the cost of making a trial transcript.

Wapner said he was often amazed at the lengths people would go to to prove a point: "A woman bought a birthday cake for her daughter for $9. She said it was moldy, and the baker offered to refund only $4.50. She picketed the bakery for six hours, then filed the claim. I found against the baker for $9."

He generally turned down guest shots on other shows, saying, "I'm not an actor, I'm a judge." ... at-97.html
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:18 pm

Legendary musician Chuck Berry dead at 90


Legendary musician Chuck Berry dead at 90
PHOTO: Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry performs during the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on March 28, 2009. Eric Gaillard/Reuters
Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry performs during the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on March 28, 2009.
Chuck Berry, one of the creators of rock and roll, has died, according to police. He was 90.

St. Charles County, Missouri, police said they responded to a medical emergency on Buckner Road at approximately 12:40 p.m. Inside the home, first responders found an unresponsive man, but despite immediately administering lifesaving techniques, the 90-year-old man could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at 1:26 p.m., police said.,

The St. Charles County Police Department identified him as Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as Chuck Berry.

The rock legend had announced in October, on his 90th birthday that he was releasing a new album.


SLIDESHOW: Legendary Guitarist Chuck Berry Turns 90more +
The album, titled "Chuck," was to debut in 2017. It was his first new album in 38 years.
See: Legendary Guitarist Chuck Berry Turns 90
The "Johnny B. Goode" musician recorded the project in his native St. Louis with his longtime backing group, which includes his children Charles Berry Jr. and Ingrid Berry.

In a statement, Berry dedicated the album to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry, whom he refers to by her nickname, "Toddy."

"My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!" he said.

Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry popularized rock and roll with 1950s hits including "Rock and Roll Music," "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Maybellene," fusing blues, rockabilly and R&B into a sound that helped define the genre, coupled with guitar virtuosity and showmanship that was emulated by countless performers in the decades after.

He directly influenced the early music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Kinks. Not surprisingly, Berry was among the first group of performers inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Among his many other accolades, Berry received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 and was presented with Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize in 2014.

Berry's music even made it into outer space -- his 1958 hit "Johnny B. Goode" is the only rock and roll song included on the so-called "Golden Record" affixed to the Voyager spacecraft that was launched into the cosmos in 1977.

Speaking with ABC News a few years ago, Berry was asked to name the favorite songs he's written, but he said he couldn't choose one.

"Every one of them is tops with me," he said. "Every one of my children the same way."

ABC Radio's Chris Watson contributed to this report. ... d=46228597
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Re: Celebrity Obituaries

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:33 pm

Chuck Barris, 'The Gong Show' host and 'The Dating Game' creator, dies at 87


Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 6:02 AM
Chuck Barris, the daytime television mastermind of popular programs featuring newlyweds and singles, died Tuesday afternoon. He was 87.

Barris died of natural causes at his Palisades, N.Y., home, his publicist, Paul Shefrin, confirmed.

The Philly native found producing fame in the 1960s with "The Dating Game," the hit show that paired eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. Actors Steve Martin, Phil Hartman and Arnold Schwarzenegger were contestants before they were famous.

Barris' TV success inspired similar shows, such as “The Parent Game” and “The Newlywed Game,” where spouses quizzed each other.

Kooky 'Gong Show' host Chuck Barris had mysterious CIA connection
Viewers got to know Barris’ face, and his curly hair, as the emcee in the goofy “The Gong Show.”

Not Released (NR)
Game show host extraordinaire Chuck Barris died of natural causes at 87. (AMANDA EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES)
Barris would reward talentless contestants by banging his infamous gong during the bizarre amateur hour, which he hosted for four years until 1980.

Barris recovered from his first cinema failure — starring and directing “The Gong Show Movie” — by dabbling in the written word.

The lackluster 1980 film tanked at the box office, prompting Barris to hermit himself in a New York hotel and pen the comedic spy novel “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” — which he heralded as an autobiography. He claims to have moonlighted as a CIA assassin while pitching hit TV shows. His book became a hit flick starring George Clooney and Drew Barrymore in 2002.

Legendary Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin dead at 88
The CIA outright denied ever employing the wacky TV producer.

Chuck Barris, the mastermind behind popular game shows for newlyweds and singles, died Tuesday afternoon. He was 87.

"It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years," CIA spokesman Tom Crispell quipped in 2004. "Chuck Barris has never been employed by the CIA and the allegation that he was a hired assassin is absurd.”

Barris never offered concrete evidence of his top secret gig, besides what was detailed in his book.

"Have you ever heard the CIA acknowledge someone was an assassin?" he once asked.

Bill Webb, Mets TV director and broadcast Hall of Famer, dies
He also wrote the hit single “Palisades Park” for rock-and-roll artist Freddy Cannon in 1962.

Chuck Barris, host and executive producer of "The Gong Show."

He hustled ice-cold sodas during Phillies games at Shibe Park in 1950, in addition to selling books and promoting fights. He kickstarted his entertainment career as an NBC page in Manhattan. He headed west to produce daytime programming in Los Angeles before quitting to pursue his knack for game shows.

Barris launched “The Dating Game” in 1965 with host Jim Lange. The show continued on-and-off until 1999 with the original premise, a single woman or man whittling down three mystery contestants for a date.

Nobel prize-winning poet Sir Derek Walcott dies at 87
Barris retreated from the Hollywood spotlight in the 1980s to live a quiet life in a French villa with his girlfriend and future second wife, Robin Altman.

But tragedy struck in 1998. Barris’ daughter with ex-wife Lynn Levy, Della, died of a fatal cocktail of cocaine and vodka. She was 38.

Ahead of his cinema debut in 2002, Barris feared hosting "The Gong Show" would be his only contribution to history.

“I’ve never saved any lives. It’s just middle-of-the-road greatness,” Barris told the Associated Press. “So I know what my legacy will be. It’s ‘The Gong Show’ and that’s a shame.”

“It’s not the legacy I wanted to have.”

Barris is survived by his third wife of 16 years, Mary. ... -1.3005142
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