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Richard Dawson

Dead at 79

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

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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.

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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"

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

135 COMMENTS

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16.

Kelly    

His death will leave a blank in all our hearts.

789 days ago
17.

rosebud    

Always fun to watch, Rest in peace.

789 days ago
18.

w    

man he was so awesome, I loved watching him as a kid on family feud, then on the game show networks old game shows he was the best!!, he was on some of the roasts I believe as well, not sure though someone please confirm please
he was so cool man, had a swagger about him that no one could duplicate.:-)

R.I.P. Richard Dawson

789 days ago
19.

BeaWetherwax    

The character name was Corporal Peter Newkirk, not Captain. Check your sources and info better.

Aside from that - very entertaining chap and
quite enjoyable in his Match Game and Family
Feud times; incredibly quick wit, which cannot be taught. It is a gift.

789 days ago
20.

BeaWetherwax    

He was CORPORAL Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes, not Captain. The only "officer" in troupe of allied prisoners was Bob Crane's character of Colonel Robert Hogan. You may want to double check your sources or your facts better.

Aside from that, Mr. Dawson had a great gift - incredibly quick wit and comedic timing. Neither can be taught and are both quite rare. He was very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Rest in peace, Mr. Dawson.

789 days ago
21.

Truth    

GOOD HOSTS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. RICHARD WAS ONE OF THE FEW. THE REST OF SMUCKS THESE DAYS ARE LOSERS WITH LITTLE CLASS. RIP. #TRUTH!!

789 days ago
22.

bjay    

Wasn't a big Hogan Heros fan, but loved him on Family Fued. Back then, there was only only 7 channels to choose from and almost everyone watched his show. RIP Richard.

789 days ago
23.

bjay    

I totally forgot that he was on Match Game. Contestants always picked Richard because he always knew the answers and was sure to help them win the game. And he was blessed with a dry wit that made him a fan favorite.

789 days ago
24.

Jdawg    

Man I hate this ,,,He was great at everything. I espicially liked him on Hogans Heroes. RIP Richard !

789 days ago
25.

scoopie    

He was funny, and good on all he did.

789 days ago
26.

JeffTheFan    

That still illustrating the article was priceless. IIRC, it came from the first "All-Star Family Feud" special aired in primetime, and early on in that episode, Dick Van Patten of "Eight Is Enough" gave a really stupid tossup answer, to wit:
RD: Name a place a woman is most likely to apply perfume.
DVP: On her teeth.
(And we all remember the expression Dawson would have on his face whenever anyone gave a dumb answer...)

789 days ago
27.

Spencer B in MD    

Richard Dawson also introduced Bob Crane (Hogan of Hogan's Heroes) to John Carpenter. John Carpenter was the man who most likely ended up killing Bob Crane. The Arizona PD royally screwed up Crane's murder investigation. Some of Crane's brain matter was found in Carpenter's rental car but the AZ PD lost it. Carpenter was found Not Guilty - but so was OJ Simpson...

789 days ago
28.

Cheryl A.    

Rest in Peace, Richard. You were wonderful to watch on Match Game and Family Feud.

789 days ago
29.

vixis    

Sad to hear this, always loved his character on Hogan's Hero's.

789 days ago
30.

Ray    

Richard, was one of my very favorite's, not only extremely talented,but had such a winsome personality as well. He'll be missed,I'll be praying for Richard's family and may He Rest In Peace!!

789 days ago
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