The Dating Game was the first dating reality show, and it paved the way for a number of similar shows that followed. This one, on the other hand, fulfilled another purpose: it acted as a springboard for young actors such as Suzanne Somers, Tom Selleck, Leif Garret, and Karen Valentine.Valentine was a former beauty queen who was given the opportunity to interview three attractive suitors hiding behind a dividing wall before agreeing to be a part of the show.
However, because she thought the event would be enjoyable, her ‘choice’ ruined it.When asked about her experience on The Dating Game, the now 76-year-old actress told Closer Weekly, “That was awful, because the guy thought it was going to be a date, right?” Later on, the Dating Game became more serious, with players being sent on vacations.”
“I only got to go to the Ambassador Hotel to see a show, but the guy thought we were going to make out in the limo and it was like, ‘You know this is a first date, right?'” she continued. It was filthy. You’d go to dinner and then to a show, which was the reward I got, but the guy took it seriously. I wanted to cancel the date. “Save the money, who needs to go on a date?” Allow me to perform another show. ‘Give me a chance to perform or something.'”
Although it wasn’t a nice experience, the show did help her secure roles, particularly the one in Room 222, which rocketed her to stardom.Room 222 won Outstanding New Series and Valentine and Michael Constantine both won supporting roles at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1970. This was everything a young actress like Valentine could have wished for. It seemed odd that she had received such a prestigious award so early in her career.
“It was kind of mind-blowing to have that happen so soon, so quickly,” Valentine said of her first nomination and victory. “And meeting Carol Burnett and hearing her say, ‘Well, congratulations for this.'” It was as though she was saying, ‘Thank you.’ But Carol Burnett would recognize me? Simply fantastic. “I remember at the time, I was taking singing lessons, and I went to my singing class,” Valentine said. “Gregory Peck was also taking lessons…
I was at the teacher’s piano when he passed by, and he spotted me through the window and mimed, ‘You did it!’ ‘Oh my God,’ I thought. Gregory Peck is here!’ “How did I get the chance to meet these stars and talented people right away?”The series was a great smash, with incredible ratings and positive reviews, but interest waned during season four, and it was discontinued in the midst of the season.
“I have no idea why things changed,” Valentine said when the network informed the actors that the show would be cancelled. “But they did have the foresight to let us know what was going on, and it was sad… well, it’s always sad, but it’s especially sad when you feel you have a good product and a good show and it’s taken away.” However, the network ultimately decided to proceed in a different way. ‘We’ve decided to go in a different route,’ they always remark.
Valentine has appeared in a number of television shows and films, the most recent of which was Wedding Daze in 2004.The actor had only positive memories of her participation in Room 222. “Working with all of those people, and having that kind of first-time experience-the show just brings back the best and fondest memories in the world to me.”
“…It also kind of spoiled me because it raised the bar so high.” So when other things happen, you wonder, ‘What is this?’ It was unique, you know. But I was lucky to have content that was both entertaining and well-executed.” Valentine has had two marriages. She married her second and current husband, Gary Lewis Verna, in 1977.