Karen Valentine, the star of Room 222, recalls an ‘awful’ experience she had on The Dating Game

Karen Valentine recalls the bumpy path that led her to her award-winning role as a student turned teacher in the hit TV series Room 222.

Catapulting her into stardom, the show, that last aired almost 50 years ago, is a love she still holds close, unlike her appearance on The Dating Game, that she admits was an “awful” experience, with no love lost.

Before they became famous, celebrities like Suzanne Somers, Tom Selleck, Leif Garret and Farrah Fawcett appeared on The Dating Game, the first ever dating reality show that not only spawned hundreds of similar concepts in the future, but also acted as a launchpad for new actors.

Karen Valentine was one of those stars, who after appearing on Chuck Barris’ TV series Dream Girl of 1967, was invited on the dating show, that was also created by Barris.

Valentine, a former teen beauty queen, was given the opportunity to interview three eligible bachelors who hidden behind a dividing wall.

Admitting that she thought the appearance would be “harmless fun,” she said her “choice” made it a terrible experience.

“That was awful, because the guy thought that this was really going to be a date, right? The Dating Game got more serious later where people would be sent on trips,” Valentine, now 76, told Closer Weekly. “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?’ It was so sleazy. You’d go to dinner and then to a show, which is the prize I won, but the guy thought this was serious. I wanted to get out of the date. You know, ‘Save the money, who needs to go on a date? Let me do another show. Give me a shot at acting or something.’”

Leaving that regret behind, Valentine was then cast in the TV movie Gidget Grows Up (1969), which transitioned into her starring role in the hit TV series, Room 222 (1969 to 1974). The avant-garde TV show centered around a black high school teacher–played by the award-winning Lloyd Haynes 1934 to 1987–who tried to teach students to be tolerant.

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