Remember that category I have of celebrity passings where I thought they were already gone? This cat falls into that one. The only reason being that I could have sworn that I already seen the headline of "Hogan Heroes Star Dies". I did. But it was the sole brotha on the show. The headlines would have been been better served to mention this one for what he was most famous for.
Renown "Family Feud" host Richard Dawson passed away Saturday from complications of esophagel cancer. He was 79-years-old.
"Family Feud" was how I knew Dawson before I was up on "Hogan Heroes". He was the original host of the show. It came on during an era before cable when games shows garnered bigger ratings. All of us children of the 80s grew up on that joint. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who not-so-secretly wished that I would one day be one of the "100 people surveyed".
I clearly remember even as a kid thinking that Dawson sure did take some gracious liberties with his hosting duties. As in the gratuitous kissing he always did. Not once did one husband, boyfriend or brother seem to mind that he was tonguing down their female family member. But I will give him this...at least he did not discriminate. It didn't matter how homely they were, he'd still kiss them.
It wasn't until later that I would catch "Hogan's Heroes" reruns later on that I would realize Dawson was famous prior to "Family Feud". He was actually a pretty decent actor and comedian. Once I figured out the regular time slot for that "Heroes" syndicated broadcast I made sure to never miss a show. Between that and "Family Feud", Dawson was a staple among my television viewing.
I know I should be happy that "Family Feud" has a brotha hosting it now. Even if it is Steve Harvey. But to me that show will always belong to Dawson. He WAS Family Feud. No one can ever replace him. Yeah he was on "Hogan's Heroes"...yeah he also had a killer role in "Running Man" (very underrated flick, by the way), but he will always be the kissing game show host that made "Family Feud" one of my favorite game shows.
Rest in peace, Rich.