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Celebrities You Won't Believe Were On 'The Dating Game' Before They Were Famous

Updated March 1, 2021 96.2k views16 items

The original The Dating Game ran on ABC from 1965-1974. Over the years, a plethora of famous people appeared on the show, which would be revived three more times over the next few decades. 

The popular Chuck Barris game show usually featured a bachelorette asking questions to three eligible bachelors, whom she could not see. The winning couple would win an all-expenses-paid trip for their date. 

It probably seems odd that young beautiful people like 1960s Farrah Fawcett and Tom Selleck would appear on The Dating Game. However, chances are that those modern-day Adonis-types were not looking for love when they went on national television; instead, they were probably hoping to get noticed

A lot of actors and actresses went on game shows in the hopes that some movie producer or Hollywood agent would see them on television. Additionally, comedians like Steve Martin and Bob Saget appeared on The Dating Game before they were famous in order to show the world just how funny they could be. 

Find out which celebrities on The Dating Game were selected and which ones got rejected. 

  • Photo: ABC

    Arnold Schwarzenegger had one Hollywood credit on his filmography, Hercules in New York, when he appeared on The Dating Game in 1973. The future Terminator/governor of California served as the bachelor during his appearance and had the opportunity to select from three eligible bachelorettes. Host Jim Lange introduced the Hulk-like Austrian with his long resume of bodybuilding awards, adding that he was "the current Mr. Olympia."

    During the contest, Schwarzenegger admitted that he was new to the United States and had trouble with some of the expressions. He shyly asked the contestants about the meaning of the term "hanky-panky." The Austrian selected Bachelorette No. 2. The pair won a trip to Hawaii. 

    Schwarzenegger worked in Hollywood throughout the 1970s. He scored his breakout role in 1982's Conan the Barbarian. Just two years later, he appeared in The Terminator, which proved to be the performance that would make him one of the biggest action movie stars of the 1980s. 

  • Photo: ABC

    Tom Selleck made two appearances on The Dating Game. One came in 1965 and the other in 1967. He was surprisingly a two-time loser. The hunky actor said of his experience on the game show, "I was so nervous and my mouth was so dry, my top lip was stuck to my gum." 

    Selleck worked steadily on the small screen throughout the 1970s. His big break came in 1980 when the actor played the titular private investigator on Magnum P.I. The series ran for eight seasons and made both Selleck and his signature mustache small-screen sensations. The actor became a television staple again in 2010 when he landed the role of the Reagan family patriarch and NYPD police commissioner on the long-running series Blue Bloods

  • Photo: ABC

    Famed comedy writer and producer Judd Apatow took to Twitter to remind everyone that he appeared on The All-New Dating Game in 1986. During an interview with Graham Bensinger, Apatow explained that he was an 18-year-old college student when he scored a trip to Acapulco after being selected. He was failing a film class at the time and opted to take the tropical trip and drop out of college instead of taking his final exam for the class. Unfortunately, Apatow revealed that he got so sunburned on his first day in Mexico that he had to stay in his room for the next two days. 

    It all worked out for Apatow. He has become a powerhouse in television, film, and stand-up comedy. The prolific director/writer/producer got his first taste of Hollywood success in the cult teen dramedy Freaks and Geeks. Just a few of his impressive film credits include Anchorman, Knocked Up, Superbad, and Bridesmaids.

  • Photo: ABC

    Mark Harmon made his The Dating Game appearance in 1972. When Jim Lange introduced Harmon, he said that his ambition was to be the starting quarterback at UCLA. Lange added that he had a good chance at it. Apparently, the game show host knew his collegiate sports. Harmon served as the signal-caller for the Bruins in 1972 and 1973. The bachelorette did not select the future Hollywood star. 

    After graduating cum laude from UCLA, Harmon decided to try his hand at acting. His first film role was in 1978's Comes a Horseman. His real breakout success came in 1983 when he appeared on the hit hospital drama St. Elsewhere. Harmon starred in a string of big-screen roles, including Stealing Home, Summer School, and The Presidio. The handsome leading man was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1986. 

    The actor is now most likely known for his role as Special Agent Leroy Gibbs on NCIS