Those of us of a certain age have very fond memories of Richard Dawson. Born Colin Lionel Emm, the one-time TV actor (known for his work on Hogan’s Heroes) became an icon when he hosted the popular game show The Family Feud from 1976 to 1985. He was a quick-witted host who was known for a penchant for kissing all the female players, which earned him the nickname The Kissing Bandit. He explained his reason for doing so was “for love and luck,” and which was something his mother did when Dawson himself was a child.
But the game, sadly, is over for Mr. Dawson, who passed away at the age of 79. What happened?
His son announced that Richard Dawson died from complications due to esophageal cancer.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to 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…”
Dawson leaves behind wife Gretchen Johnson, whom he actually met when she was a contestant on the Family Feud. The two had a daughter in 1990 named Shannon and wed in 1991. Prior to that, he was married to actress and sex symbol Diana Dors, with whom he had two sons, Mark Dawson and Gary Dawson.
Our condolences to Richard Dawson’s friends, family and fans.
Check out this sweet YouTube tribute to Richard Dawson right here:
Image via Love & Stratagem