Family Feud Host Richard Dawson Dies

By Tim Surette

Jun 03, 2012

The mouth that kissed thousands of cheeks took its last breath this weekend as Richard Dawson passed away at the age of 79. Dawson was best known as the host of Family Feud in the '70s and '80s, where he coined the show's famous phrase, "Survey says?" The Emmy winner had been battling esophageal cancer and passed away in Los Angeles Saturday evening.

British-born Dawson was a hoot as the host of Family Feud, effortlessly engaging in banter and wisecracks. He made a trademark out of puckering up and planting one on the cheeks of many female contestants. Family Feud producer Howard Felsher estimates that Dawson kissed around 20,000 ladies as part of his job.

Dawson was also known for playing Newkirk in CBS's Hogan's Heroes, and made a memorable turn as the host of a more morose game show in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick The Running Man.

It's not easy dealing with stupid people day in and day out, but Dawson made it look easy. He was one of the best at the shtick of game-show host, and will be missed.

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • Acrobit Jun 05, 2012

    I have to admit, I didn't know his name. I thought it was the guy from Home Improvement...

    BUT, I do know him from The Running Man, and he was badass. I had no idea he hosted Family Feud. Talented guy.

  • JT_Kirk Jun 05, 2012

    Sad. He was a great personality on TV when I was a kid, very unique and sharp and funny. I'll miss hearing him yell "SURVEY SAYS" but I'll never forget it.

  • Waggytoon Jun 04, 2012

    Expect GSN to air blocks of "Match Game 70s" and 'Family Feud' 70s and 80s as tributes to Richard Dawson sometime this week. But who airs reruns of "Hogan's Heroes'? Would that be Retro TV?

  • GCCHumanBeing Jun 05, 2012

    They used to play them every weekday on TV Land, I would watch after school everyday. Newkirk was by far my favorite character. RIP Richard Dawson.

  • MetalFan150 Jun 04, 2012

    RIP Richard Dawson. You were an awesome host and panelist.

  • qbe_64 Jun 04, 2012


  • bonjovichick Jun 04, 2012

    Not one of the stories I have seen mention Match Game. Family Feud was not really my thing and I could never ever get into Hogan Hero's. However I LOVED Richard Dawson on Match Game. I was a kid when it was on but it was must watch in our house!

  • smithinjapan Jun 04, 2012

    I loved Family Feud as a kid -- until about eight years old or so, then I opted for better shows. Still, the guy was as classic a game show host as Barker and Trebek (almost, anyway). RIP.

  • whatever120 Jun 04, 2012

    We didn't get FF over here in the UK, of course, but I do remember him from HH all those years ago.

    I can't find any memorial piece for Kathryn Jootsen on the site. Surely you haven't forgotten her?

  • Amazon_Hollow Jun 04, 2012

    Wow! Rumors Has It all this time... I thought he have died awhile back ago during the early 90's or so. And The Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger was his last appearance ever took. Wow! What a Surpire he has been living this whole time. But cut his creadit appearance down from early 90's after The Running Man. And now he is actually gone into 2000's or 2010's. He will be missed as the best game host for sure....

  • drudager Jun 05, 2012

    You're not thinking of the late Ray Combs, are you? He died in 1996.

  • terminaltrip421 Jun 04, 2012

    based solely on the youtube sensation "stupid game show answers" i thought he was one heck of an enjoyable individual. nice looking and pleasant. funny and seemingly sincere. rest in peace and may you have brought joy to many a folks.

    nothing but love, a fan.

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