Richest BusinessProducers
Net Worth:
$160 Million
Jun 3, 1929 - Mar 21, 2017 (87 years old)
Songwriter, Presenter, Author, Television producer, Writer, Film Producer
United States of America
💰 Compare Chuck Barris' Net Worth

What was Chuck Barris' Net Worth?

Chuck Barris was an American game show creator, host and producer who had a net worth of $160 million at the time of his death in 2017. Chuck Barris was best known for creating "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game" and for hosting "The Gong Show." He also wrote songs, notably the hit Freddy Cannon tune "Palisades Park." Additionally, Barris penned several books, including an autobiography called "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" that was later adapted into a film that was directed by George Clooney and starred Sam Rockwell as Barris. The semi-autobiographical movie portrayed Barris as a one-time CIA assassin. The CIA was eventually forced to announce that they had no record of Barris ever being employed by the organization.

At the peak of his career, Chuck's shows provided 27 hours of network television each week.

In 1987, Chuck sold his production company for $100 million. That's the same as roughly $215 million in today's dollars.

Early Life and Education

Chuck Barris was born on June 3, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Jewish parents Edith and Nathaniel. As a young adult, he went to Drexel University, where he served as a columnist for the student newspaper "The Triangle."

Career Beginnings

Barris began his professional career as a television page, and later as a staffer, at NBC in New York City. Following this, he worked in standards and practices at ABC for the music program "American Bandstand." Around this time, Barris ventured into music producing and songwriting; his biggest hit in the latter category was the 1962 Freddy Cannon song "Palisades Park," which made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Eventually, Barris was promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC, making him responsible for deciding which game shows the network would air.

Game Show Breakthroughs

In 1965, Barris created his own production company, Chuck Barris Productions. Almost immediately, he had his first major success when he created "The Dating Game." Hosted by Jim Lange, the program featured a trio of contestants who competed to win a date with a person concealed from their view. "The Dating Game" became notorious for the raunchy banter of the contestants and for its flowery studio set. ABC eventually dropped the show in 1973, after which time it ran in syndication for a year. It was later revived three more times in different permutations, with the latest edition premiering in 2021.

Barris had another successful game show with "The Newlywed Game," which was originally created by E. Roger Muir and Nick Nicholson. He repackaged the show for ABC, where it was hosted by Bob Eubanks. "The Newlywed Game" became the longest-lasting program of any developed by Barris's company, ultimately airing for 19 years through 1985.

"The Gong Show"

Having rarely appeared on camera due to his shyness, Barris first gained widespread public recognition in 1976 when he began hosting the spoof television talent show "The Gong Show," which he also produced. Characterized by its absurdist humor and outlandish acts, it involved a competition of amateur performers with highly questionable talents. Barris essayed a bumbling, jocular persona as the host, known for his awkward hand-clapping and catchphrases. Although it only aired for two seasons on NBC and four more in syndication, "The Gong Show" acquired a notable cult following. In 1980, Barris both directed and starred in "The Gong Show Movie." The program was also revived a number of times, with the latest, which ran from 2017 to 2018, hosted by Tommy Maitland, a fictional character played by Mike Myers.

Chuck Barris Net Worth

Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Other Shows and Companies

Beyond his big hits, Barris had a myriad of other game shows over the years, many of them short-lived. Among his credits were the syndicated programs "The New Treasure Hunt," "$1.98 Beauty Show," and "Three's a Crowd." The latter, which featured three sets of wives and secretaries who competed to see who knew more about their husbands and bosses, was widely derided by both feminists and conservatives. Additionally, Barris hosted a short-lived primetime variety show on NBC called "The Chuck Barris Rah-Rah Show."

Barris attempted to rebuild his reputation in 1980 by reviving the game show "Camouflage"; however, it was not successful, leaving Barris with no shows in production for the first time in the history of his company. He came back in 1981 with a revival of "Treasure Hunt," which only lasted for a year. In 1984, Barris formed a new company called Barris Industries, and produced a new daily "Newlywed Game." Three years later, he sold his shares of his company to producer Burt Sugarman.

Career as Author

In addition to his career on television, Barris authored a number of books. His first, "You and Me, Babe," was published in 1974. He also wrote "The Game Show King," "The Big Question," "Who Killed Art Deco?," and "Della: A Memoir of My Daughter." Barris's most famous book is 1984's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," an autobiography in which he claims to have worked as an assassin for the CIA in the 60s and 70s. However, he admitted to fabricating the story shortly after the release of the book. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" was later turned into a 2002 film directed by George Clooney, and starring Sam Rockwell as Barris. In 2004, Barris wrote a sequel to the book entitled "Bad Grass Never Dies."

Personal Life and Death

In 1957, Barris wed his first wife, Lyn Levy, the niece of a CBS founder. The couple had a daughter named Della, and divorced in 1976. Della later passed away at the age of 36 from an alcohol and cocaine overdose. Barris's second wife was Robin Altman, to whom he was married from 1980 to 1999. Following their divorce, he got betrothed to Mary Clagett in 2000. Barris remained with Clagett until his death in March of 2017 at the age of 87.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction