Birth Date: March 20, 1918
Birth Place: Lindenhurst, New York, USA
Date of Death: May 4, 1984 / Age: 66
Location of Death: New York, New York, USA
Cause of Death: heart attack
Biography: Jack Barry (March 20, 1918-May 2, 1984) was an American television game show host and producer.
Barry was born in Lindenhurst, New York. In the 1940s he began on radio, where he met his partner Dan Enright. Once television broadcasting began, Barry and Enright would get involved in local programming, and eventually national programs thanks in part to the success of early Jack Barry-hits such as the children's show Winky Dink and You as well as Juvenile Jury and Life Begins at 80. In the 1950s, Barry and Enright got involved in game shows, with Barry hosting The Big Surprise. He was eventually dismissed from his hosting duties and was replaced by Mike Wallace, thus making Barry decide to host his own game shows.
In 1956, Barry and Enright debuted Twenty One, which was sponsored by Geritol, and Tic Tac Dough. Both game shows were hosted by Barry. In 1958, on one episode of Twenty One, a game between contestants Charles Van Doren and Herb Stempel was found to have been rigged. The 1994 movie Quiz Show was based on this incident. This promoted the cancellation of Twenty One as well as Tic Tac Dough. Barry returned to the air with a new game show he created with Enright and Robert Noah; Concentration, but was dismissed four weeks later in wake of the quiz show scandals, which forced Barry and Enright to sell their production company to NBC.
Enright had left for Canada after the quiz show scandals while Barry headed out west to California. He purchased a radio station in the Los Angeles area, and appeared on a few local game shows in L.A. during this time (mostly on KTLA). In the late 1960s, after appearaning as a newsman on the TV series Batman, Barry found work again on ABC, hosting The Generation Gap. In 1969, Barry produced a pilot for a new show, The Joker's Wild, hosted by Allen Ludden. CBS held off on picking up the series at first, because the format did not impress them. Barry would go on to rework the format, and he put a local version on KTLA in 1971 before the show debuted nationwide on CBS in 1972. He hosted and produced Joker under Jack Barry Productions until CBS canceled the show in 1975. Barry also produced Hollywood's Talking, Geoff Edwards' first game show, and Blank Check, hosted by Art James.
Prior to debuting Joker, Barry had shown he still had the skills to produce and host simulaneously, with The Reel Game and the 1970s revival of Juvenile Jury.
Barry brought Enright back as executive producer of The Joker's Wild during its network run (Barry mentions Enright at the end of the last CBS episode) They became partners full-time again in 1976. They produced Break the Bank, hosted by Tom Kennedy on ABC, then later Barry in syndication.
That fall, Barry would sell reruns of the final season of the network run of The Joker's Wild to several stations, including WOR-TV in New York City and KTLA in Los Angeles. After an entire year of reruns with high ratings, new episodes of The Joker's Wild were produced for first-run syndication, once again hosted by Barry, in the fall of 1977. Production of The New Joker's Wild was held at the KCOP studios, known as the Chris Craft Studios.
The new episodes were so successful that Barry and Enright went on to revive Tic Tac Dough, with new host Wink Martindale, a year later. Other Barry and Enright productions of the late 1970s and early 1980s included Bullseye, Play the Percentages, Hot Potato, and Hollywood Connection. They also produced several unsold pilots such as Decisions, Decisions and an attempted Twenty One revival. Eventually, the production company would be involved in motion pictures and television series, as well as operating local cable outlets in the Los Angeles area.
After the seventh syndicated season of Joker, Jack Barry died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 66 while jogging through Central Park in New York (following a trip to Europe to visit his daughter). He is buried in Glendale, California. Bill Cullen was selected by Dan Enright to host Joker, which lasted for two more years. Prior to his death, Barry had planned to retire and give the hosting reigns to Jim Peck, who had subbed for Barry on many occasions beginning in 1981.
Both Joker and Tic Tac Dough had short-lived revivals in 1990. Ironically, the shows were produced by different entities. During the years when Barry and Enright had revived their partnership, Joker remained owned by Barry himself, even though it carried the Barry and Enright logo (note the Jack Barry Productions Inc. copyright in the closing credits of the syndie version). So the new Joker was produced by former B&E staffer Richard Kline under the Kline & Friends banner (with Jack's sons Jon and Douglas Barry serving as co-executive producers). Enright served as executive producer of the Tic Tac Dough revival under the Barry & Enright moniker.
The reunited Barry & Enright Productions (and prior to that Jack Barry Productions) were based in the Century City district of Los Angeles.
Sony Pictures Entertainment now owns the rights to the Barry & Enright and Jack Barry (solo) programs, and reruns of their shows have aired on GSN.