Richard Dawson's Final Years after His Time on 'Match Game' and 'Family Feud'

Richard Dawson was notable as a regular panelist on "Match Game" (1973–1978) and as the first host of "Family Feud" (1976–1985 and 1994–1995).

The legendary actor, who began his career in England as a comedian known as Dickie Dawson, was also well-known for playing Corporal Peter Newkirk in "Hogan's Heroes."

In June 2012, Dawson died from complications of esophageal cancer in Los Angeles, California, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 79, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Publicity photo of actor Richard Dawson, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Publicity photo of actor Richard Dawson, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"The way he was on the game show was the way he was in real life," said Gary, the son of Dawson from his first marriage to actress Diana Dors. He added:

"He was always rooting for people — he not only wanted people to win, but to have a comfortable, great experience."

Dawson became remarkable for his consistent kissing of the female contestants of "Family Feud" on the lips, according to Find A Grave. In fact, in 1991, he would go onto wed a former contestant named Gretchen Johnson. 

Photo of Richard Dawson as Newkirk with Ulla Stromstedt from the television program "Hogan's Heroes," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Richard Dawson as Newkirk with Ulla Stromstedt from the television program "Hogan's Heroes," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In an interview, Dawson once said that his trademark move began early on in the show's run when he noticed a lady shaking as she struggled to come up with the name of a green vegetable, CNN reported.

In November 1932, Dawson was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England, as Colin Lionel Emm. Before starting his career as a stand-up comedian in London, he joined the Merchant Marines for three years. He was only 14 at the time.

In June 2012, GSN aired a four-hour marathon of Dawson's most significant moments on "Match Game" and "Family Feud."

Photo of Richard Dawson and contestants from the television game show "Family Feud," circa 1970s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Richard Dawson and contestants from the television game show "Family Feud," circa 1970s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

He showed up on several television shows, including "Steve Allen" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," in the early 1960s.

However, it was his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk, a cockney prisoner of war, on the CBS sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," that introduced him to American audiences.

Dawson then became a regular on the game shows "Match Game" and "Match Game PM." He was additionally enlisted to host his first game show, "Masquerade Party." However, in 1976, he was hired as the host of "Family Feud."

In June 2012, GSN aired a four-hour marathon of Dawson's most significant moments on "Match Game" and "Family Feud."

Dawson is survived by his two sons with Dors, Mark and Gary, along with his wife Johnson, their daughter Shannon and four grandchildren.

The actor, who used to smoke almost four packs of cigarettes per day, was interred in Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles.

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