Two decades ago, producer Andrew Lazar acquired the rights to Chuck Barris' memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography.
Stranger than fiction, the 1984 book detailed The Gong Show host's hidden life as a CIA assassin in the 1960s and '70s.
'It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years', spokesman Tom Crispell joked.
'Chuck Barris has never been employed by the CIA and the allegation that he was a hired assassin is absurd.'The cunning Chuck was quick to hit back at the denial, posing the question: 'Have you ever heard the CIA acknowledge someone was an assassin?
But Lazar, who remained a close friend of Barris' and visited him just six weeks before his death on March 21, says the iconic TV personality never backed down from his story, even if the CIA emphatically denied that Barris worked for the spy agency.
Lazar points to Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen's upcoming book Phenomena: The Secret History of the U. Government's Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis as evidence that the CIA has embraced all kinds of outlandish ploys.
Lazar enlisted Charlie Kaufman to adapt the wild story, which would mark George Clooney's directing debut.
But by 1980, he realized his heyday was coming to an end and sold his production company for a reported 0 million.“It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years,” quipped CIA spokesman Tom Crispell.
The marriage produced Barris' only child, daughter Della, who died of a drug overdose in 1998 at age 36.
In 2010, he wrote about her substance-abuse struggles in .
During this period, Barris wrote the 1962 hit song , which premiered in 1966 and featured a young woman or man posing tongue-in-cheek risqué questions to three prospective dates who were hidden behind a screen.
Jim Lange served as the original host and Chuck Woolery emceed the show during its final years., repackaged vaudeville for TV, with assorted acts of varying talent levels auditioning on air.