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~*~Richard Dawson Biography~*~

Richard Dawson Biography
Richard on Family Feud in 1994
Richard & Diana in 1958 in London Variety Show Richard & Diana in 1959 Diana & Richard On Honeymoon Diana & Richard: 2 Days Before Wedding, 10 April 1959
Richard, Gretchen & Shannon Richard as Thanksgiving Feud Marathon Host in 1995
(Click for larger photos.)


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Richard Dawson was born Colin Emm in Gosport, England on the 20th of November, 1932. When he was 14, he joined the Merchant Marines and served for three years. During that time he made money boxing. He had to lie about his age, and remain tough so the older guys wouldn't hassle him.

In the late 1950's, Richard met a British actress by the name of Diana Dors. On the 12th of April, 1959, while in New York for an appearance on the Steve Allen Show, the two were married. Richard and Diana had a son, Mark, in 1960 and a second son, Gary, in 1962. They seperated in 1964 and eventually divorced in 1967.

When he moved to the states, he began acting on the well-known series "Hogan's Heroes" in 1965. He played the loveable British Corporal Peter Newkirk. The show ended in 1971.

Not long after that, in 1973, he became a panelist on "Match Game" and remained there until 1978. While still on "Match Game," he hosted his own show, which he is most remembered by, called "Family Feud." His trademark 'kissing all the female contestants' was one of the things that made the show a warm and friendly program, along with his quick wit, subtle jokes, and ability to make people feel at ease with being on camera.

In 1984, Richard became a U.S. citizen and took the time to show his passport and photo to everyone during the intro to a Family Feud episode. America couldn't have asked for a better addition to it's country.

In 1987, Richard co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie "The Running Man." Richard played an egotistical gameshow host, Damon Killian, whom many say was a mirror image of himself at one time or another, during his real-life career.

When Richard was 62, he hosted the third incarnation of "Family Feud" in 1994, but had only a short run.

On the 6th of April, 1981, the Johnson family appeared on Family Feud and Richard was introduced to 27 year old Gretchen. They had a daughter, Shannon Nicole, in 1990, and were married in 1991. They are still married and reside in Beverly Hills, California. Richard is semi-retired and his recent Tv 'appearance' was when he narrated "Tv's Funniest Gameshow Moments" on FOX in early 2000. On Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, 2000 he hosted a Family Feud marathon which was filmed in 1995.

Some people hear the name 'Richard Dawson' and may not know who you're talking about. But say his name followed by his famous quote "Survey said," or mention 'Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes,"' and they're sure to know who you mean. Richard gave us so much through the years, and he won't be easily forgotten.

We love you Richard.


-Richard IS alive.

-Regular on "Laugh-In" for it's last two years after "Hogan's Heroes" ended.

-Frequent panelist on "I've Got A Secret."

-Hosted "Masquerade Party" in 1974.

-Parents were Arthur (moving van driver) & Josephine (munitions factory labourer).

-Older brother, John/Jack.

-Chopped wood when he was a kid and sold it door to door for pocket money.

-Won a Saturn Award (Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films, USA)in 1988 for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Damon Killian in The Running Man (1987).

-Worked as a waiter.

-Worked as a bus conductor.

-During Family Feud, his salary was $5,000 per daytime episode. The show was taped 4 days a week, every other week, 2 daytime day episodes and 2 nighttime day episodes. He made $50,000 for the daytime episodes.

-For the nighttime episodes, he made $100,000 an episode. He did 5 nighttime episodes in a day making a total of $50,000. Total for one week was $150,000. He taped two weeks in a month and made $300,000. He taped eleven months in a year and made an annual sum of $3.5 million and up.

-For Primetime Specials on Family Feud, he made $100,000 per show for the first 2 specials, $125,000 the third, and $150,000 for each special after that.

-Devoted his off time to moonlighting scripts including one where "I'd play a detective hampered by his own humanity."

-Match Game was taped 4 days a week, every other week. Two days of daytime shows and two days of nighttime shows. He made $2,500 per daytime show and did five shows on one taping day for a total of $12,500. In two days, he made $25,000. He made $5,000 per nighttime show and did five shows on one taping day for a total of $25,000. In two days he made $50,000. In all four days, he made a total of $75,000. This was done two times a month for a total of $150,000. Over a period of twelve months, with one month paid vacation, he made a total of $1.8 million a year.

-During Diana's 36-hour delivery of Mark, Richard became a women's libber.

-When boxing, he always went for the stomach.

-During a boxing match, Richard's mother came to see him fight. He got knocked out and his nose was broken. It was the first time his mom came to see him fight, and it turned out to be his last match.

-Richard and Diana were married in singer Fran Warren's New York apartment.

-During Family Feud, Richard outfitted himself with many gadgets including video recorders, a Jacuzzi and a Hobie 16 sailboat.

-Richard played tennis ion Dick Martin's court up the street from his own house.

-Diana left Richard and the kids and ended up with a younger man, and while people looked down at Diana for leaving Richard with the kids, Richard claims he couldn't have got through his 14-month funk without them. He still continued to send her flowers for her every birthday and kept photos on his walls.

-When he was 14, he looked around and saw the people who had families young and who never left town and he realized he wanted more.

-At a London audition, Richard passed himself off as a famous Canadian comedian until he fell head-long into the footlights. Eleven months later he was writing his own material for the Palladium.

-Of Diana, Richard says she was a "vulnerable, sweet, frightened girl" who he "fell madly, hopelessly in love" with.

-Richard marched with Martin Luther King Jr. at Selma and is a self-discribed "bleeding-heart liberal" and a PTA radical.

-Gave a lot of the gifts he recieved to charities to raise money.

-Lived at 1 Durley Road Gosport.

-Richard often took the time on various shows to express his political views and give people something to think about.

-Played soccer in the 1950's.

-Parents were married for 51 years.

-Broke his arm in nine places, in 1989, after falling off his boat.

-When he was a young man, Richard worked as a fish monger, on a neighborhood fish cart, cutting, cleaning and selling fish.

-Richard smoked Marlboro Lights 100's and Benson & Hedges Ultra Lights 100's.

-The unpainted interiors of those frames (the ones the families pose in) are covered with friendly graffiti scrawled by anxiously waiting players. Toward the bottom of one, there is a reminder from a staff member to look straight into the camera. It says: 'Why are you looking down here? Nervous?'

-The Family Feud set is smaller than it appears, being closer in size to a small living-room.

-At Richard's podium on Family Feud, there is an outline of a hand on each side so the contestants know exactly where to rest their hand.

-A woman from one of the Family Feud families described a pleasant moment: "I was dying for my kiss from Richard. And it was wonderful. He has such soft lips!"

-Richard won the Celebrity Password Grand Master title in 1975. He appeared with Mark and Gary on the Celebrities And Their Children episodes of Celebrity Password in 1973 and 1974. They won.

The Richard Dawson Experience

~*~Richard Dawson Links~*~

Richard Dawson Webring (Join!)
Richard Dawson Links Page
Richard Dawson Filmography
Where Is He Now?

Note: Errors may be present.

Last Updated: 09 November 2001.