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Family Feud Host Richard Dawson Dead At 79

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I was a pretty big fan of Family Feud growing up. It was one of those game shows where it was more fun to guess the survey results than actually watching the families get things wrong in hilarious fashion. Part of the appeal of Family Feud was the fantastic host Richard Dawson whom I remember most from reruns and his hosting of the 1994 season. It’s unfortunate then that Dawson passed away yesterday from esophageal cancer.

TMZ is reporting that Dawson’s son, Gary Dawson, posted the news of his father’s death this morning on Facebook. The message, according to TMZ, read:

“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…”

While many people know Dawson the most from his stint on hosting Family Feud, he started his TV career on the The Dick Van Dyke show in 1963. He also released a single in 1967 featuring the songs “His Children’s Parade” and “Apples & Oranges.” It was during 1973 that Dawson signed on as a regular in the famous Match Game. After a two-year stint on the show, he was offered the chance to host what soon became Family Feud.

In 1976, the first episode of Family Feud aired on ABC with Dawson as host. He continued to host the show until 1985 when the game show was canceled. He came back to the show’s second run in 1994 and hosted it until the show’s second cancellation in 1995.

From that point on, Dawson retired to Beverly Hills to live with his wife, Gretchen Johnson, whom he met when she was a contestant on Family Feud. He is survived by his wife; one daughter, Shannon Nicole Dawson; two sons, Mark and Gary Dawson; and five grandchildren.

Here’s some great moments from Dawson’s time as host of Family Feud:

The Twitterverse was quick to offer condolences to Dawson’s family and reminisce on the host’s long career:

Former Family Feud host Richard Dawson has died. I will kiss every woman I see today on the lips in his honor. #RIPRichard
14 minutes ago via Echofon · powered by @socialditto
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I shared many laughs with family and friends because of Richard Dawson. RIP. The Survey Says……God Bless
37 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto
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RIP Family Feud host Richard Dawson, who must hold the record for the man who kissed the most women on the cheek.
1 hour ago via Tweetbot for iOS · powered by @socialditto
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SURVEY SAYS…wonder how many angels are lined up at the Pearly Gates waiting for a kiss on the lips from Richard Dawson! RIP Richard Dawson
2 hours ago via Twitter for Android · powered by @socialditto
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Very sad indeed to hear of the death of Richard Dawson. In a class of his own, as far as I’m concerned.
1 minute ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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RIP Richard Dawson. The BEST Family Feud host ever and the best Match Game panelist! You will be missed.
1 minute ago via UberSocial for Android · powered by @socialditto
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RIP Richard Dawson. You made 70s afterschool TV so much fun. I would have chosen you every time on Match Game!
2 minutes ago via Twitter for Android · powered by @socialditto
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Family Feud Host Richard Dawson Dead At 79
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