“Family Feud” host Richard Dawson has died at the age of 79.

Richard Dawson

His son Richard reported the news on a Facebook post this morning.

“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 is best remembered for hosting the game show “Family Feud” and fawning over the women contestants. During his second run as the show’s host he stopped kissing the ladies as a promise to his wife Gretchen who worked on the show. “Feud” executive producer Howard Felsher estimated that Dawson had kissed “somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000.”

Dawson won a daytime Emmy Award in 1978 as best game show host. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called him “the fastest, brightest and most beguilingly caustic interlocutor since the late great Groucho bantered and parried on `You Be Your Life.”‘ The show was so popular it was released as both daytime and syndicated evening versions.


His other best known role was that of Capt. Peter Newkirk on the 60′s comedy “Hogan’s Heroes.” He also appeared in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film “The Running Man.”

Watch some classic Family Feud moments:

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