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Richard Dawson dies from esophageal cancer at 79

Sara Hall

Richard Dawson hosted game show "Family Feud."

Dawson was best known for his role as flirtatious host of Family Feud

Richard Dawson, the British actor and game show host with a knack for pushing the boundaries, all while charming American audiences, has died at the age of 79.
Gary Dawson announced in a Facebook post that his father passed away from complications of 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,” Gary Dawson said in the Facebook statement.

Richard Dawson garnered his fame for his acting roles and hosting talents on game shows. His career in the television industry helped him grow to become beloved by audiences.

Richard Dawson played British prisoner of war Corporal Newkirk on the television show “Hogan’s Heroes.” The show ran from 1965 until 1971 and received top ratings even in its first season.

However, Richard Dawson’s most well-known role was undoubtedly that of a game show host. He began as the host of the innuendo-filled show “Match Point.”

He then worked his way over to his most famous role as the outgoing, flirtatious host of “Family Feud,” a game show, in which two families compete against each other in a battle of guessing results from surveyed Americans.

Richard Dawson was known to provide every female contestant who participated on “Family Feud” with a good-luck kiss.

Dawson hosted “Family Feud” from 1976 to 1985 and then from 1988 to 1995. He won an Emmy for his time on the show in 1978.

Executive producer Howard Felsher has been quoted as having said Dawson kissed somewhere around 20,000 women during his time as host.

Richard Dawson ultimately married one of the contestants on “Family Feud,” Gretchen Johnson, in 1991. He also previously married starlet Diana Dors.

Richard Dawson is survived by a daughter, Shannon, from his marriage to Johnson and two sons, Gary and Mark, from his marriage to Dors.

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