Richard Dawson, ‘Family Feud’ host dies at 79
Richard Dawson, the witty British entertainer who was among the schemers in the 1960s TV comedy “Hogan’s Heroes” and a decade later began kissing thousands of women contestants as host of the game show “Family Feud” has died at the age of 79. Dawson died on Saturday night from complications related to esophageal cancer at Ronald Reagan Memorial Hospital, according to his son Gary.
The game show, which originally ran from 1976 to 1985, pitted families who tried to guess the most popular answers to poll questions such as “What do people give up when they go on a diet?” Dawson received a daytime Emmy Award in 1978 as best TV game show host. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called Dawson “the fastest, brightest and most beguilingly caustic interlocutor since the late great Groucho bantered and parried on ‘You Bet Your Life.’” Dawson was known for kissing each woman contestant on a show that was so popular it was released as both daytime and syndicated evening versions. During the time, Dawson said, “I kissed them for luck and love, that’s all.” On his last “Family Feud” episode in 1985, the studio audience honored him with a standing ovation and Dawson responded, “Please sit down. I have to do at least 30 minutes of fun and laughter and you make me want to cry.” He told the audience, “I never dreamed I would have a job in which so many people could touch me and I could touch them.”