Jim Lange, the first host of the popular game show "The Dating Game," has died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told The Associated Press Wednesday.
Barris was the creator of The Gong Show and two other popular TV game shows, The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game.
He claimed in his autobiography that his game show antics had been a cover for his work as a CIA operative, working as an assassin during the 1960s and 70s.
The questions were designed by the show's writers to elicit sexy answers. "They wanted a boy and a girl," he said in a 1992 interview with the Bay Area Radio Digest.
"They wanted the boy to do sports and the girl to do the dances and stuff that was going on in the Twin Cities -- very sexist -- and play music once a week." He hosted that show for two years before attending the University of Minnesota and doing a three-year stint in the Marines, according to the Bay Area Radio Museum.
After graduating from the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1953, he took a series of jobs, including book salesman and fight promoter.
After being dropped from a low-level job at NBC, he found work at ABC, where he persuaded his bosses to let him open a Hollywood office, from which he launched his game-show empire. He wrote the 1962 hit record 'Palisades Park,' which was recorded by Freddy Cannon.
Jim Lange, the original host of the long-running game show "The Dating Game" died Tuesday in Mill Valley, Calif., after suffering a heart attack, his wife, Nancy, told TODAY. He appeared as the host of the ABC show after spending his early career in radio, and hosted the program during its on-and-off runs from 1965 to 1980.
The show usually featured a bachelorette asking questions of three bachelors she couldn't see, and ultimately choosing one to go on a date.
One example was the late country musician Box Car Willie, who was a 1977 'Gong Show' winner.
He called himself 'The King of Daytime Television,' but to critics he was 'The King of Schlock' or 'The Baron of Bad Taste.' As 'The Gong Show' and Barris' other series were slipping, he sold his company for a reported 0 million in 1980 and decided to go into films.
Yet the book, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, was turned into a 2002 movie starring Sam Rockwell and directed by George Clooney.