TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Richard Dawson

Dead at 79

6/3/2012 12:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
R.I.P.

0603_richard-dawson_getty
Richard Dawson, the legendary host of "Family Feud," has died from complications due to esophageal cancer ... this according to his son. 
 
Gary Dawson posted a Facebook message early this morning that read:

"It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his family. He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad, and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered..."

Dawson hosted "Feud" from 1976-1985, and then from 1994-1995. He was also famous for being a regular on "The Match Game" and for appearing in the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger action film "The Running Man."  One of his biggest roles -- Dawson played Capt. Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heros," a wildly popular show in the 60's.

0603_richard_dawson_running_man_sun

Dawson was married to Gretchen Johnson ... interesting fact -- he met her when she was part of a contestant family on The Feud and got hitched in 1991. Dawson was famous during the first run of the show for kissing all the female contestants -- he was known as "The Kissing Bandit."  But in the second run, he kissed no one -- a promise he made to Gretchen.

Prior to Gretchen, Dawson was married to Diana Dors, a sex symbol back in the day. They had 2 sons.

Steve Harvey, the current host of "Family Feud," tweeted today, "I have been Blessed because of Richard Dawson's work ...the birth of Family Feud. God Bless You Sir- You Were The Best"

0603_REMEMBERING-RICHARD-DAWSON_Small-Photo-Launch_2



Dawson in his final episode hosting "Family Feud" in 1985 (before returning 10 years later).

136 COMMENTS

No Avatar

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments
1.

Rotter    

And Hogans Heroes

687 days ago
2.

Kari    

He was awesome on that show. Rest in peace, Richard.

687 days ago
3.

Meggie24    

SURVEY SAYS: We're sad to see you go. RIP Richard.

687 days ago
4.

Jack    

One of a kind, R.I.P.

687 days ago
5.

Sloane    

seemed like a nice guy
so sad for the family
he always made us smile

687 days ago
6.

IceGypsy    

Used to watch him with my mom when I was a lil kid. Funny guy. He will be missed. RIP.

687 days ago
7.

Grandma Cracker    

Peace now, he will be missed.

687 days ago
8.

Denise    

He was great... he will be missed... And the survey says...... :(

687 days ago
9.

AnnieSH    

I had a crush on him ever since I saw him on Match Game. He was one of the few men who truly loved women and wasn't afraid to show it.

May he rest in peace.

687 days ago
10.

firebaby    

RIP one of the best hosts of family feud.... he's probably kissing all the ladies in heaven now

687 days ago
11.

moxie    

This is sad news, I really enjoyed him on TV. R.I.P. Richard.

687 days ago
12.

patty    

the feud was never the same after he left .. the best

687 days ago
13.

MrHarrybawls2010    

I remember turning on my TV and seeing Louie Anderson (of all people) hosting the Family Feud. I thought I had woken up in Hell. For weeks I had trouble sleeping and terrible nightmares. There were times I even questioned the meaning of life.

687 days ago
14.

static    

So long Newkirk we hardly knew ye.

687 days ago
15.

dierdre    

i totally loved Richard Dawson. He will be greatly missed. He was forever the gentleman. He loved the woman, and he was a very handsome, funny man, with great charisma. I used to love watching him on the first Family Fued show. he was always smiling, and to me, he seemed like he always enjoyed his life. may he R.I.P. you will be missed a lot my friend....love from one of your fans......

687 days ago
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web