Richard Dawson is dead

Richard Dawson

FORMER FAMILY FEUD HOST RICHARD DAWSON HAS DIED OF CANCER. By Greg Braxton

LOS ANGELES (LATimes.com) – Richard Dawson, the British actor who went from comedy co-star in the popular TV series “Hogan’s Heroes” to his best-known role as the charming host of the TV game show “Family Feud” with his trademark of kissing the female contestants on the lips, has died. He was 79.

Dawson died Saturday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from complications related to esophageal cancer. The actor, who had been living in Beverly Hills, was diagnosed with the disease about three weeks ago, said his son Gary.

“The way he was on the game show was the way he was in real life,” Gary Dawson said Sunday. “He was always rooting for people — he not only wanted people to win, but to have a comfortable, great experience.”

Dawson’s easy-going style topped with a Cockney accent were evident in his early films in the 1960s such as “King Rat,” “Munster Go Home” and “The Devil’s Brigade,” while his quick wit distinguished him both as a game show contestant in the 1970s on “Match Game” and “I’ve Got A Secret,” and as a performer on “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” where he was a regular cast member for two years.

The actor gained much of his popularity with American audiences from “Hogan’s Heroes,” the CBS series about a World War II prisoner-of-war camp that ran from 1965 to 1971. Dawson played Cpl. Peter Newkirk, an expert safecracker who was also adept at picking pockets.

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