Karen Valentine, known for her role in Room 222, recounts negative encounter she had while appearing on The Dating Game

Karen Valentine reminisces about the challenging journey that ultimately led her to her acclaimed role as a student-turned-teacher in the popular TV series Room 222.

The series, which aired almost 50 years ago and catapulted her to stardom, remains a cherished part of her life, unlike her appearance on The Dating Game, an experience she describes as “awful” and lacking in any positive sentiment.

Before achieving fame, numerous celebrities, including Suzanne Somers, Tom Selleck, Leif Garrett, and Farrah Fawcett, appeared on The Dating Game, the pioneering dating reality show that not only inspired countless similar programs but also served as a launching pad for emerging actors.

Karen Valentine, herself a former teen beauty queen, was among these stars. Following her appearance on Chuck Barris’ TV series Dream Girl of 1967, she was invited to participate in The Dating Game, another creation of Barris.

Valentine, initially anticipating harmless fun, found the experience regrettable due to the expectations of her chosen date. She reflects on the surreal nature of the situation, where her date mistakenly believed their interaction to be serious, despite the show’s lighthearted premise.

Moving past this regrettable experience, Valentine’s career gained momentum with roles in projects like the TV movie Gidget Grows Up (1969), which ultimately led to her starring role in Room 222 (1969 to 1974). This groundbreaking series, created by James L. Brooks and produced by Gene Reynolds, centered on a black high school teacher striving to instill tolerance in his students.

Room 222 received critical acclaim and earned several accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards. Valentine reflects on the surreal nature of her early success and the honor of meeting legendary figures like Carol Burnett and Gregory Peck.

Despite Room 222’s cancellation after its fourth season, Valentine continued to pursue her acting career, starring in her own show Karen (1975) before appearing in various television programs and Broadway productions.

Valentine fondly recalls her time on Room 222, acknowledging the lasting impact it had on her career and cherishing the memories of working alongside talented individuals. Though subsequent projects may not have reached the same level of success, Valentine remains grateful for the opportunities afforded to her and the enjoyable experiences she encountered along the way.