He graduated from high school in 1967 and received a 4-F deferment from the military draft after failing the psychological portion of the test.
Early on, Kaufman embraced the practice of transcendental meditation, which became an important fixture in his life and helped him gain the courage to perform.
Barris quickly sold three more shows: , and at NBC's insistence, he hosted it himself.
Critics argued that the show demeaned its contestants, with its emphasis on showcasing outlandish and wacky acts for a panel of three celeb judges (including the likes of Phyllis Diller and David Letterman) who had the option of hitting a big gong to end a performance. In his book, Barris claimed to have been a CIA assassin in the 1960s and 1970s, assertions that the CIA itself has refuted and which various media entities have implied should be taken with a grain of salt. Della passed away in 1998 at the age of 36 from a drug overdose.
His later stand-up routine was unorthodox, but it caught the attention of Hollywood, and he was soon appearing on TV, including on a new show called .
After he was unemployed for a year, ABC offered Barris the post of looking after Dick Clark, who at the time was caught up in a payola scandal that landed him in Washington, D. It was a formula he exploited for years and in game shows to come, and although they were critically panned, Barris's shows were undeniably popular with audiences.
He eventually graduated from Drexel Institute of Technology in 1953 and held several odd jobs before moving to New York.
In 1962, Barris wrote "Palisades Park,” a popular song inspired by the New Jersey amusement park, which was performed by Freddy Cannon.
I had a daughter who was a druggie who I could see as an example.
His father, who died of a stroke, was reportedly a dentist and/or worked in textiles, and Barris yearned to take a different career path.