Family Feud host RICHARD DAWSON passed away Saturday night
by WAAF 97.7/107.3,posted Jun 4 2012 5:45AM
Former "Family Feud" host RICHARD DAWSON passed away Saturday night of cancer of the esophagus. He was 79. Richard played Corporal Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes" in the late '60s. In the mid-'70s he was a panelist on "Match Game" . . . and in 1987 he played an evil, slimy game show host in the ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER movie "The Running Man". But he's best known for becoming the original host of "Family Feud" in 1976. He continued kissing female contestants on the "Feud" up through 1985. He came back and did one more season in 1994, taking over for RAY COMBS . . . who had been HIS successor. Oddly enough, Ray committed suicide in 1996 . . . on June 2nd . . . and since Richard passed away on Saturday, that means they died on the SAME DAY.
When Richard first left the "Feud" in 1985, an executive producer estimated that he had kissed "somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 women. One of them was Gretchen Johnson, who came on with her family in 1981. They started dating soon after that, and got married in 1991. They had a daughter, and were still married at the time of his death.
(--Here's the second part of the episode. At the beginning of the clip, Richard asks her if she's married, and she says she's not. At the 10:20 mark, Gretchen comes out to do Fast Money, and he kisses her again.)