Born Charles Hirsch Barris in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barris got his break on TV with NBC before working backstage on “American Bandstand.” He was then promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC in Los Angeles and went on to work on some of the most successful game shows of the ’60s and ’70s.
In 1980, he starred in and directed “The Gong Show Movie,” which was box office failure, and far less “zany” than the original series.
More than a decade after it last used waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, the CIA is still hounded by the legacy of a tactic that the U. government regarded as torture before the Bush administration authorized its use against terrorist suspects.
Chuck Barris, the beloved host of the zany 1970s amateur talent competition TV series “The Gong Show,” died Tuesday. Along with producing “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game,” Barris also wrote a hit autobiography titled “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” which went on to become a 2002 movie directed by George Clooney starring Sam Rockwell.
One spring morning, his phone rang and a voice said: ‘This is William Casey, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, calling from Langley, Virginia.’ Uri was wary. Casey described details of research done when Uri first arrived in the States — tests that were ostensibly commissioned by physicists at Stanford Research Institute in California, but were in fact secretly backed by the CIA.
Satisfied the call was authentic, Uri asked what Casey wanted.
Barris claimed to have worked as a CIA assassin in his memoir, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a claim that the intelligence agency denied.
The energetic host was also renowned for writing the pop song “Palisades Park,” a hit for Freddy Cannon, and follow-up books “Bad Grass Never Dies” and “Della: A Memoir of My Daughter,” about the death of his only child from drug abuse.
Just a day after the CIA chose to bypass a spy for their top position because of her waterboarding past, the name of the man they chose instead was leaked on Twitter despite his still being undercover.
The leak was likely related to a report Tuesday that the post would be filled by the head of the CIA's Latin American Division, a former station chief in Pakistan who former officials said once ran the covert action that helped remove Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic from power.
Uri Geller has told me this story several times, during the 20 years in which I have been investigating him and the inexplicable powers he appears to wield. Among them were details of experiments long kept under wraps.
But the story’s full significance became apparent only this week, with the release of millions of pages of classified U. The way Uri tells it is this: for nearly a decade, he had been world-famous for his ability to read minds and bend metal with a touch, and in 1981 he was living in America with his young family in Connecticut.
I was taught that the Soviets were the bad guys, and my family generally supported politicians from the Democratic Party.