‘Family Feud’ Host Richard Dawson Dead at 79

'Family Feud' Host Richard Dawson Dead at 79

The late British actor was also a regular on the TV show "Hogan's Heroes" and starred in "Running Man"

Richard Dawson, the host of "Family Feud" and a star on the TV show "Hogan's Heroes," has has died from complications due to esophageal cancer at the age of 79.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to esophageal cancer," his son Gary posted in a Facebook message. "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 did two stints as the host "Feud," from 1976-1985 and then from 1994-1995. He won the Emmy Award as best game show host in 1978. He was also a regular on "The Match Game."

He was known for kissing each woman contestan on the show, and in 1985 when the show ended, executive producer Howard Felsher estimated that Dawson had kissed "somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000."

He took his host persona and gave it a dark twist, when he appeared in the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic action film "The Running Man." 

Dawson also played the fast-talking Capt. Peter Newkirk on 1960s TV show "Hogan's Heroes."

Dawson was born Colin Lionel Emm in 1932 in Gosport, England. His first wife was actress Diana Dors.