Sunday, June 3, 2012

Richard Dawson (1932-2012)

He first made his mark with American audiences as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes (1965-71), and then reinvented himself as a game show icon, starting with a stint as a regular panelist on the revivals of I've Got a Secret (1972-3) and Match Game (1973-78) before achieving iconic status as the original host of Family Feud (1976-85, 1994-5). Today, game show fans and all of Hollywood are mourning the passing of Richard Dawson at 79 from throat cancer.

Dawson wasn't content with limiting himself to comedy. He also did some dramatic work, appearing in the movies, "The Devil's Brigade" & "The Running Man", the latter with Arnold Schwarzenegger & Jesse Ventura in 1987, and in an episode of McCloud during the 70's. He also appeared in "Munster Go Home", the 2nd theatrical spinoff from The Munsters. His other television credits include guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The New Dick Van Dyke Show. Dawson's first MC gig was another revival, Masquerade Party, in 1974, but that series, like the revival of Secret, lasted one year.

Dawson is known to cartoon fans for a brief stint in the 70's with Hanna-Barbera, having guested on Hong Kong Phooey in 1974, and before that had worked on the studio's adaptation of Oliver Twist, Oliver & The Artful Dodger, for The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.

Let's go back to the beginning of Family Feud with the first episode from 1976:

Rest in peace, Richard.


magicdog said...

I was so saddened to hear of Dawson's passing!

I grew up knowing him from his Family Feud run. It wasn't until later that I had seen him on Hogan's Heroes, but adored him just the same!

He was also devastatingly good in "The Running Man"! He was spot on in every way and full of as much menace as any villian!

hobbyfan said...

Dawson's role of Damian Killian was designed as a sendup of his persona as a ladies man as host of "Feud". I believe it was his last movie role, and if that was the case, he went out in a blaze of glory.

They're probably playing Match Game up in Heaven now, as Richard has joined Gene, Brett, & Charles, not to mention McLean Stevenson & Dick Martin, two of the guys who alternated filling Dawson's chair after he left Match Game.