Can the New ‘Celebrity Dating Game’ One Up the Original’s (Now) Famous Guest Stars?
Celebrities, they’re just like us — they need help finding love. ABC’s just announced The Celebrity Dating Game wants to give them a boost in that department with its dusting off of the classic The Dating Game show, which premiered in 1965 and went on to have several incarnations.
The new show, which does not yet have a premiere date, will be hosted by Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) and Grammy-winner crooner Michael Bolton, and we expect it to have some high-profile suitors choosing from the hidden panel of bachelors or bachelorettes (based on the answers they give to the a variety of questions) — maybe even some in the hot seats themselves.
But did you know that over the years, The Dating Game had its share of Hollywood heavyweights, albeit mostly in the infancy of their careers? Motivations may have been less about meeting their matches and more on using the platform for career exposure — or perhaps taking a luxurious trip to Hawaii. But all went on to fame if not fortune. Here, 9 familiar faces who gave us some memorable moments along the way.
Groucho Marx (1967)
Melinda Marx experienced a nightmare: Her (famous) dad interviewed potential dates and picked one out for her on the game show. (Hey ABC, we have a spinoff pitch for you!). This Father’s Day episode included his bon mot, “Just because a man wears pants doesn’t mean he’s a gentleman.” Melinda might not have liked who he chose, but hopefully she enjoyed the safari in Kenya. (This show was not fooling around.)
Steve Martin (1968 and 1970)
Steve Martin was on not once, but twice, as one of the three bachelors. The first was around the time the youngster was attending UCLA — which was when he won his first Emmy as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The 20something’s signature wit and charm earned him a date on his first outing with Dea n a Marti n, daughter of Dean Martin. Not a bad catch to spend time alongside in an Italian resort in Portofino.
Farrah Fawcett (1969)
Long before Charlie’s Angels and becoming America’s sweetheart, Farrah Fawcett was on The Dating Game with three bachelors fighting for her attention…literally. The men got into a physical tussle with punches thrown during the Q&A and after Fawcett made her decision for Bachelor #2. It turned out to be an April Fool’s Day episode (the joke was on her) with the bachelors played by stuntmen. Still, the choice was real, and she won an Austrian ski vacation with a bachelor named Joey.
Michael Jackson (1972)
Michael Jackson released his first solo album, Got to Be There, the year The Jackson 5 lead appeared on the show. The future “King of Pop” certainly looked sharp in his yellow suit, but the idea of pre-teens looking for love doesn’t age well today. Bachelor #1 was chosen to have dinner with Jackson and then see him and his family perform at Madison Square Garden.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (1973)
One of Austria’s greatest exports, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was looking for a women on the show to explain what “hanky panky” meant, among other things. The Mr. Olympia chose bachelorette #2 Kay because he found “her voice very sexy.” I’m not sure if they took the choppa, but they did fly to a dream vacay in Hawaii.
Suzanne Sommers (1974)
Several years before Three’s Company would air, fledgling actress Suzanne Sommers went on the show and revealed if she were a tree, it’d be a naughty pine. The actress selected Bachelor #2, who was actually actor B.G. Fisher of 48 Hours and Drug Runners fame. (Sommers was wooed by his poetry.) The two won a trip to the Bahamas. Her Three’s Company co-star John Ritter was a fellow alum of The Dating Game, appearing in 1967.
Bob Saget (1979 and 1980)
Bob Saget is another who showed up twice as a bachelor. He said on The Rich Eisen Show decades later that he didn’t go on the winning trip to Guatemala because they were embroiled in a civil war. Though his initial motivation for the then 22-year-old to go on in the first place was for medical coverage. The time he lost, his parting gift was turtle wax for his car.
Andy Kaufman (1978)
Andy Kaufman was known for his method acting, which was on full display in glorious fashion when he appeared on the show. The Taxi star, then one of three bachelors in the hot seats, went full “Foreign Man,” calling himself Baji Kimran. They supposedly found him on the street when they were looking for a replacement to be bachelor #3. The contestant chose bachelor #1. Needless to say Kaufman or Baji didn’t’ take it well, feeling he’d done well enough to win.
Judd Apatow (1986)
Judd Apatow was at a crossroads in his life when he went on as Bachelor #1. According to the contestant, it was the future comedy mogul’s intelligence that stood out in her eyes. Apatow wrote in the book, Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy,” that on his winning trip to Mexico he got sunburned so badly he had to stay in his room for the two days after. Bummer. Though things worked out pretty well for him in the end.
The Celebrity Dating Game, TBA, ABC