Richard Dawson, an actor and TV host best known for his work on the game show “Family Feud” and sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” has died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 79.
The British-born actor died on Saturday at Ronald Reagan Memorial hospital in Los Angeles, his son Gary Dawson said on Sunday.
Dawson appeared on numerous TV shows in the 1960s, but it was his job as the emcee of “Family Feud” where his wit and charm served him best as he helped make the program a big hit of the 1970s.
“Feud,” which debuted in 1976 with members of two different families competing against each other by trying to guess the results of survey questions, became a No. 1 U.S. daytime TV show for a time.
His role as a military prisoner in the 1965 film “King Rat” led to TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes,” about a band of allied POWs in a German camp who were constantly fooling their captors. Dawson portrayed Briton Peter Newkirk, who possessed a clever mind and a quick wit in the hit show that ran from 1965 to 1971.
When the program went off the air, Dawson began appearing as a celebrity panelist on a number of TV game shows, including the popular “Match Game,” and those appearances eventually led to his hosting duties on “Family Feud.”
Beyond TV, Dawson appeared in movies, including a co-starring role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Stephen King sci-fi film “The Running Man.” In 2000, Dawson retired.
RIP Richard Dawson 1932-2012