Mostly Credited As: Richard Dawson
Birth Name: Colin Lionel Emm
Date Of Birth: November 20, 1932 (Age 79)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Gosport, Hampshire, England
Date Of Death: June 02, 2012
Cause Of Death: Esophageal Cancer
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Richard Dawson was born in Gosport, England on the November 20, 1932. When he was 14, he joined the Merchant Marines and served for three years. During that time he made money boxing. He had to lie about his age and remain tough so the older guys wouldn't hassle him. In the late 1950's, Richard met a British actress named Diana Dors. On April 12, 1959, while in New York for an appearance on "The Steve Allen Show" (1956), the two were married. Richard and Diana's first child, a son Mark was born in 1960 and a second son, Gary, was born in 1962. Richard and Diana separated in 1964 and eventually divorced in 1967.
When Richard moved to the United States, he began acting on the well-known series "Hogan's Heroes" (1965) in 1965. Richard played the lovable British Corporal Peter Newkirk. The show ended in 1971. Not long after that, in 1973, he became a panelist on "Match Game 73" (1973) and remained there until 1978. While still on "Match Game," he hosted his own show, which he is most remembered by, called "Family Feud" (1976) . His trademark, kissing all the female contestants, was one of the things that made the show a warm and friendly program, along with his quick wit, subtle jokes, and ability to make people feel at ease with being on camera. In 1987, Richard co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie The Running Man (1987). Richard played an egotistical game show host, Damon Killian, whom many say was a mirror image of himself at one time or another, during his real-life career.
When Richard was 62, he hosted the third incarnation of "Family Feud" in 1994, but had only a short run. On April 6, 1981, the Johnson family appeared on Family Feud and Richard was introduced to 27 year old Gretchen. They had a daughter, Shannon Nicole, in 1990, and were married in 1991. They are still married and reside in Beverly Hills, California. Richard is semi-retired. He narrated "TV's Funniest Gameshow Moments" on FOX in early 2000. On Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, 2000 he hosted a Family Feud marathon which was filmed in 1995. Some people hear the name "Richard Dawson" and may not know who you're talking about. But say his name followed by his famous quote "Survey said...!" or mention 'Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes,"' and they're sure to know who you mean.