Joined the Merchant Marines at 14 and stayed for 3 years.
Hosted Thanksgiving Day "Family Feud Marathon" in 1995, aired November 23rd, 2000.
Became a United States citizen in 1984 and showed his passport and photo to America during the intro to a Family Feud (1976) episode.
Met his second wife Gretchen when she was a contestant on Family Feud (1976) in 1981.
Hosted Family Feud (1976) for a total of ten years: nine consecutive years (1976-1985) and one non-consecutive year (the 1994-1995 season).
Has one brother. Father with second wife of actress Shannon Dawson.
During an interview early in the Family Feud (1976) run, he revealed that he enjoyed wearing and collecting T-shirts (a huge fad in the 1970s). Shortly after, the custom began of families on Feud presenting him a shirt early in the game, usually during the "introduce the family members" portion. As a result, he has one of the largest collections of unique and rare T-shirts in the world.
Picked up the nickname "The Kissing Bandit" during the initial run of Family Feud (1976) because he greeted every attractive female contestant with a kiss.
His second wife, Gretchen, has appeared as a contestant on Win Ben Stein's Money (1997).
Before Family Feud (1988) was revived in 1988, producer Mark Goodson, would not allow him to come back as host, because of conflicts with the producers. Instead, he wanted to restart the show with a new host, so he hired Ray Combs. After Goodson's death in December 1992, his son Jonathan M. Goodson took over the show's production company and, in a failed attempt to boost the declining ratings, replaced Combs with Dawson in 1994.
Before he was an actor, comedian and a game show host, he worked as a waiter.
After his divorce from Diana Dors, he continued to send flowers to his ex-wife on her birthday, every year, and always defended her.
Had five biggest winners in the 9 years of hosting the ABC version of Family Feud (1976), each of them were all 5x undefeated families: in first place, the Rizzo Family had won $33,000+ during the last season of the show, in second place, the McManus Family had won $30,204 in 1984, in third place, the Larkey Family had won $29,170 during the first season of the show, in fourth place, the Tack Family had won $29,197 in 1980, and in fifth place, the Panatonni Family had won $29,916 in 1981.
Originated the phrase "Survey says", for Family Feud (1976), which every host after him used as well.
Long before Kathy Najimy would become an actress, she would be one of his winning contestants on a family.
Enjoyed singing, golfing and spending time with his family.
While talking with a contestant on Family Feud who happened to be a member of the merchant marine, he mentioned that not only had he run away from home at 14 and joined the merchant marine; his first ship was the Atlantis.
Grandfather of Lauren, Lindsey Dors, Tyler Emm and Emma Rose Dawson.
When he went to Plymouth, England, to do rehearsals at a repertoire, he needed printed music for performances.
His father, Arthur Emm, who was born in America, was a furniture mover, and his mother, Josephine (Lindsay) Emm, who was born in England, was a housewife.
Friends with: Shirley Jones, Bob Barker, Bob Eubanks, Bill Cullen, Chuck Barris, Geoff Edwards, Wink Martindale, Pat Sajak, Jim Lange, Alex Trebek, Charles Nelson Reilly, Steve Allen, Julie London, Marla Gibbs, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Gavin MacLeod, Betty White, Vicki Lawrence, Larry Manetti, Carl Reiner, Bill Bixby, Dick Van Dyke, Patty Duke, Jim Perry, Bob Crane, Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Hagman, Mickey Rooney, Beverly Garland, Chuck Woolery and Dick Clark.
The youngest brother.
When he was growing up, he wanted to work at a dock yard in Portsmouth, England.
Once did an impression of Frankie Laine, upon arrival on a stage in Plymouth, England.
Was also longtime friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Suffered a stroke in 2008 and recovered from it.
Had lived in the same house between 1964 to 2012, which was 48 years to date.
Jack Benny was said to be his idol.
His brother was a ballroom dancer, who also won a lot of awards.
Interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Released a psychedelic 45rpm single including the songs "His Children's Parade" and "Apples & Oranges" on Carnation Records.
Ranked #14 on Life's 15 Best Game Show Hosts.
Ranked #5 as GSN's Top 10 Game Show Hosts of All Time.
After his role as host of Family Feud (1988), he retired from hosting game shows at 62.
Mentor of son Gary Dawson.
TV Guide was creating a "Game Show" cover in the 1980s to highlight the resurgence of game shows since their downfall in the 1950s scandals. All the current game show hosts were invited to do a group picture but Richard Dawson declined because he felt he rated his own cover. They continued and printed the cover without him.
Did a farewell speech on the final episode of the original Family Feud (1976).
Was going to star in a sitcom for ABC, that didn't sell in the late 1970s.
At age 31, Dawson moved to Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, in 1964, to pursue an a career, as an actor and a comedian.
In 1950, after his discharge from the Navy, Dawson started performing stand-up comedy, at age 17.
He changed his name from Colin Emm to Richard Dawson, to pursue an acting career.
His mother is 6 years, his father's junior.
His mother, Josephine Emm, died in 1973, she was age 70.
His father, Arthur Emm, died in 1975, he was age 78.
Long lives ran in the family.
Was also a heavy smoker.
Much to the winning contestants who selected him on Match Game 73 (1973), the producers of that show invented "The Star Wheel," at the end of the fifth season, which replaced the "Head-To-Head Match." While the show's top prize could potentially be doubled and the new feature allowed more celebrities the chance to participate in the end game, it also eliminated of what effectively was Richard Dawson's "spotlight" feature. Dawson, unhappy with the change and more focused on his role as host of Family Feud (1976), left the panel on Match Game 73 (1973), a few weeks later.
When Dawson began acting, one of his first impressions was Sheldon Leonard.
Was known to be a very, private person.
Was not a dancer.
Was one of the first guests of The Gong Show (1976).
Of English descent.
Close friend of Steve Allen.
Was a Republican.
His son Gary's godfather is Steve Allen.
Had wanted to become a game show host, because he was a popular panelist on game shows.
Dawson was astounded by some of the ridiculous answer given by contestants on Family Feud (1976).
Unlike his fellow game show host Bob Barker, Dawson kissed women on the cheek.
When he auditioned for the role as host on Family Feud (1976), not only the producers were impressed, but he also wanted to make a show his own.
During vacation in Hawaii, Dawson's manager called up Family Feud (1976) producer, Howard Felsher and telling him Dawson really wants to have his contract reopened and would be mentally incapable from coming back from Hawaii to continue with the show unless the contract would be reopened. Felsher advised Mark Goodson to not open the contract and if Dawson decides to quit the show, take the chance and let him quit because the show could stand on its own without him. However, the contract was reopened and Dawson received an enormous salary of over $2,000,000 a year. Big bucks for a game show host in the 1980s.
When he began hosting Family Feud (1976), his show wasn't an immediate hit, also, it was only supposed to be a short-lived game show. 6 months later, ABC executives made the change to move his show from afternoon to the morning, to give it another shot, and fortunately, it did, which lasted for the remainder of the 8 seasons.
The first comedian ever to host a game show.
Did not like to attend his co-star's or his friends' funerals.
His show Family Feud (1976) debuted only 8 days after the United States' Bi-Centennial date.
Had always behaved like a ladies' man to the young female contestants on the first incarnation of Family Feud (1976).
On Family Feud (1976), there were some objections to Dawson kissing strange women on National Television. ABC tried to influence the kissing to stop, but Dawson rebelled and said he was going to do it. Mark Goodson asked people to write in and say in favor of kissing or not, the responses were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the kissing on.
Dawson realized (of course) he'd said things and got away with it, because the first run of Family Feud (1976) had kept it on the air, long enough, and he did. Many of the things that he said were absolutely outrageous or politically incorrect.
He was very disappointed when Hogan's Heroes (1965) was canceled at the end of the sixth season, when it was caught up in the infamous "rural purge" of American television network programming (particularly on CBS). The "rural purge" was widespread series cancellations, beginning in 1969 and lasting until 1972, and due to the inclusion of new statistical demographics from television ratings agency Neilsen, and sponsors alarmed by the older, "more countrified" audiences for the shows canceled. Of the cancellations, almost all were still popular rural-themed shows with similarly skewed rural audiences, and took place at the end of the 1970-1971 television season. Included in the purge were all three of the country sitcoms: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Petticoat Junction (1963), and Green Acres (1965).
Before he was a successful actor, comedian and a game show host, he was Mike Stokey's co-host on his local talk show.
Dawson frequently took advantage of the original Family Feud (1976) producer, Howard Felsher off- the set, because he wanted to accept exact answers from contestants, Felsher didn't think any of them would be accepted. Dawson ditched Felsher, and his former daughter-in-law Cathy Hughart Dawson, replaced Felsher, and was promoted as the new producer of the show, from 1983 to 1985, at the same time, Felsher was also promoted to being executive producer.
Before each commercial break on Family Feud (1976), whenever the last answer is revealed, he would often make a comment about it.
Before 'Markie Post' would become a successful actress, she used to work on his show Family Feud (1976), as a writer.
Except for that one time, which (of course) was the very first episode of his return on Family Feud (1988), he did not kiss the female contestants, because of a commitment he made to his young daughter only to kiss his wife.
In early 1994, upon returning to Family Feud (1988), he was insisted that he lost weight, due to the excessive smoking. He didn't lost any, and as a result, he cameback. Another thing was he insisted that the "Bullseye Round," would be replaced with "Bankroll Round," because he hated the one thing during the Ray Combs version.
Just three weeks before his death, he also suffered a heart attack, before being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
Richard Dawson passed away on June 2, 2012, almost 6 months before the death of Larry Hagman. The most coincidental thing is they both used to live not too far away from each other near Los Angeles, California.
Was a longtime friend of Larry Hagman. Dawson used to visit Hagman, at his beach house, to play Frisbee, when he was living in Malibu, at the time.