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 that television series.
Finding out anything about Della has been difficult; I have found surprisingly few details online about her, and 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 his daughter'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.
Della is remembered as very artistic and painted, selling the paintings to support herself after her father refused to give her any more money, which seemed to always go for the worst things. 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 reached out to her father and made contact, once more. 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 their confusion, sadness and frustration...toward the end of her life she was increasingly alone, and few acquaintances seem to know much about her final years.
This page is not to spill all of Della's missteps, nor judge 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.
I felt that Della deserved a memorial page on this site 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. This young woman 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'.
For more information on Della, her father's before mentioned 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 witnessed similar events 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. Chuck Barris, whom many consider the creator of reality-type game shows, died in March, 2017.
Della Barris died on July 28, 1998 in Brentwood, California; I have been unable to verify burial information, but will continue to research the matter.
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.