There is some sad news breaking across the internet Sunday morning. Richard Dawson — the former “Hogan’s Heroes” star who later became known for his stint on “Match Game” and as the host of “Family Feud” — passed away late Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. The news was confirmed by his son Gary, who wrote the following message on Facebook:
“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 hosted the “Feud” from 1976 until 1985, and in that time the show was in its heyday. He was well known for kissing all of the contestants that asked for one upon meeting him, but he actually stopped this habit upon his return in 1994 (which only lasted for a year) after marrying a former contestant in Gretchen Johnson three years earlier.
As for an eerie coincidence, Dawson passed away sixteen years to the day after his replacement on the game show in Ray Combs died after he hanged himself in the closet of a psychiatric ward. (Since Combs and Dawson, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O’Hurley, and Steve Harvey have all hosted what is now a syndicated show.)
Dawson will be missed not just as a TV icon, but as a person. Thoughts go out to his friends and family.