|Birth: ||Dec. 24, 1962|
|Death: ||Jul. 28, 1998|
Los Angeles County
Della Barris was the only child of television producer/director/game show legend Chuck Barris. She herself was brought into the public eye as a pre-teen, appearing with her father on "The Gong Show"; she would also appear in the feature film made around the premise of "The Gong Show."
Finding out anything about Della has been difficult; for instance, one of the photos used on this memorial page is a public domain photo from an article which came out after Della's death. Her father did not write his own memoir on Della until 2010, over ten years after Della's passing; the book, "Della - A Memoir" is available through Amazon and other avenues, and addresses Mr. Barris' feelings of loss and guilt that he could not 'save' his daughter from her addictions and darknesses. (Mr. Barris also speaks eloquently about Della and her loss in the documentary about his own life and career, 'Life On the Edge", available on Youtube).
Della struggled with drug abuse from a very young age and throughout the remainder of her life; by the time she died, she had gone through her trust fund many times over. She had alienated many of the individuals that Mr. Barris speaks of in his book as trying to help her, but not 'knowing what to do', in the end result, and her death is still shrouded in mystery on some public discussion boards, as to whether it was or was not intentional suicide. Because Della had become so reclusive and for lack of a better word, unreachable, the truth may never be known. Mr. Barris refers to Della's passing as suicide in more than one interview, but others are just as quick to defend Della's death as accidental. Whatever happened, however, seems to have been inevitable.
This page is not to judge Della, nor her family and friends. Anyone who has had drug abuse or other addictions in their own family (my own family is included in that description) will tell you that no matter what you do to help the addicted individual, it is not enough, it's too much, it's the wrong thing, it's the right thing at the wrong time, it's - endless. Della, as stated above, seemed on an inevitable path toward self-destruction, and again - if I may personally comment from experience - when somebody is determined to live as they see their destiny, there may well be no way to 'save' that person.
Della is remembered as very artistic, and painted, selling the paintings to support herself after going through her trust fund and her family had stepped back from the situation. Again, Mr. Barris notes honestly that he and his daughter had not seen one another in years, due to her issues; it was only shortly before her death that she and her father began staying in contact, once more.
I decided that Della should have a page up on this site, not because of her show biz connections, nor because of the tabloid-like fodder that does show up now and then on the web. She deserves a memorial page because she was someone's daughter, someone's friend, and she struggled through her short life as best as she could, and she should be remembered. Della is a cautionary tale that all that glitters is not gold, and for all she was given as the child of an entertainment mogul, there were other things missed, skipped or perhaps purposely ignored. I watch old clips of her on Youtube now and simply find myself wondering when that smile, and that young girl, 'went away'.
Della remains somewhat of an enigma, as many who have tried to find out about her online will attest to: In this age of everything making it online, from what we had for breakfast to what we think of our bosses when they aren't within earshot, this young woman seems to have disappeared, in some ways...whether it was due to the life she lived, or perhaps a peculiar example of how our mentally ill, addicted and other disabled individuals 'fade away', it isn't right. While I wish that somebody who had known Della had placed this page online for her, I hope that I have done my best at a tribute, and I would love to hear from anybody with personal memories or thoughts about this young woman.
Della died on July 28, 1998 in Brentwood, California; I have been unable to verify burial information, but will continue to research the matter.
For more information on Della, her father's memoir is an interesting read - because I reviewed it, I would rather not get into what I liked or disliked about the book. Again, as having addiction deaths in my own family, I know that Mr. Barris can never tell 'the whole story', because, very possibly, he himself did not even know it. Mr. Barris' memoir of his daughter is exactly that - a father paying final respects to his child, and it is a very interesting and serious read for anybody who seeks it out.
While many media comments state that Della was 36 years old at the time of her death, her verified birthdate and deathdate, in fact, make her 35.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Cremated - location of ashes unknown
Created by: Rhonda C. Poynter & Frie...
Record added: Oct 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 98249657