Jim Lange Original 'Dating Game' Host Dead

2/27/2014 7:20 AM PST

Jim Lange Dead -- Original 'Dating Game' Host Dies at 81

Breaking News

Jim Lange
-- host of "The Dating Game" -- one of the biggest game-type shows in the history of TV -- is dead.

Lange was a huge presence on the show ... which pitted 3 bachelors against each other to impress a girl ... and the end game was a date. Lange was spectacularly charming and very funny.

Among the bachelors who appeared on the show -- Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  And get this ... Farrah Fawcett was one of the girls who had to choose, and she was introed as "an accomplished artist and sculptress."

The MJ show is hysterical.  Michael -- who was a teenager -- says, "I've never been out on a date before.  What do two kids like us do on a date?"

Lange died from a heart attack.  He was 81.

And get this ... One of the most notorious serial killers ever -- Rodney Alcala, was not only a contestant on "The Dating Game," he won.