Before They Were Stars: Future Celebrities (and a Serial Killer!) on “The Dating Game”

Awhile back, I posted a clip of a young John Ritter appearing as a contestant on The Dating Game when he was only nineteen years old. Well, it turns out an awful lot of celebrities were contestants on that show before they became famous. In the preceding clip, you can see that Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Somers made appearances before they found stardom, Arnold Schwarzenneger was a contestant back when the only credit on his filmography was Hercules in New York, and even though he was already an established star at the time, Michael Jackson appeared on a special teenage-themed episode when he was only 14! Isn’t it a weird coincidence how two of those Dating Game celebrities wound up dying on the exact same day? Anyway, other future stars who were contestants on the show include Burt Reynolds, Phil Hartman, Tom Selleck, Bob Saget and Steve Martin.

However, the most infamous person who appeared on The Dating Game is undoubtedly serial killer Rodney Alcala, who is currently sitting on death row in California for multiple murders. In 1978, Alcala was somehow selected as a contestant on the show despite the fact that he had served time in prison for raping an eight-year old girl and was a registered sex offender! I guess The Dating Game never did background checks back then! Anyway, the bachelorette, Cheryl Bradshaw, wound up choosing Alcala, but then refused to go out with him once she realized how creepy he was. Considering that his appearance on the show took place during the midst of his killing spree, that definitely turned out to be the best decision of her life!

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