WUZZ Line 1-800-397-9633

"Family Feud" host Richard Dawson dead at 79

Submitted Mon, 06/04/2012 - 6:49am by Andy Alm

Actor and original "Family Feud" host Richard Dawson has died.  The British-born personality hosted "Family Feud" from 1976 to 1985.  On the final episode of the "Feud's" first run, Dawson addressed the audience with an emotional farewell. 

 "I've got to do 30 minutes of fun and laughter, and you all are making me want to cry!"

 He returned to host the show in 1994, replacing his successor Ray Combs for what became the end of "Family Feud's" second run.  Dawson earned the nickname "The Kissing Bandit" on the show for his habit of greeting female contestants with a kiss.  Current "Family Feud" host Steve Harvey acknowledged Dawson's passing in a Twitter post Sunday.  Harvey said, "I have been Blessed because of Richard Dawson's work.... the birth of Family Feud.  God Bless You Sir - You Were the Best." 

 In addition to his work on "Family Feud," Dawson was also known for playing Captain Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes" in the 1960s.  He also parodied his TV persona in the 1987 movie "The Running Man," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Dawson's son Gary says his father died of complications related to esophageal cancer.  Richard Dawson ws 79.