Vital Facts About Richard Dawson

Richard Dawson, host of Family Feud and arguably the osculating Caligula of the late 20th century game show scene, passed away on Saturday in Los Angeles. Here are a number of facts about Richard Dawson, presented to aid others in etching Dawson’s legacy into the grand volume of American history.

1. It is estimated that Richard Dawson kissed about 20,000 women during his run on Family Feud. He regretted nothing. In response to the kissing criticisms, Richard Dawson replied, “I kissed them all for luck and love, that’s all.” (Source: The Associated Press, May 17, 1985)

2. Erma Bombeck offered a more reliable metric for Richard Dawson’s kissing quota. She watched a 30-minute episode of Family Feud, noting that Richard Dawson dispensed 23 kisses. (Source: The Milwaukee Journal, January 18, 1981)

3. Richard Dawson was fearless about contracting disease from kissing all those women. Dawson did not fear mono. He did not fear herpes. He did not fear any disease that stood in his path. “That has never crossed my mind,” said Dawson in 1984. His associate added, “He makes two million a year, and two million buys a lot of salve.” It is unknown if Dawson vigorously washed himself after a hot day of taping. (Source: The Durant Daily Democrat, May 27, 1984)

4. Fran Lebowitz had a lifelong dream to appear on Family Feud. Lebowitz called the show “relaxing…the minute I hear the theme, I perk up.” In 1985, Lebowitz’s agent Mort Janklow received a call from Cathy, Richard Dawson’s husband. The plan was to dedicate the March 4, 1985 episode entirely to Lebowitz, because Lebowitz had said many nice things about the program. Unfortunately, Lebowitz’s mother refused to do it. (Source: The Deseret News, March 8, 1985)

5. Richard Dawson did not shy away from politics. He marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama and campaigned on behalf of George McGovern. When co-hosting a local television show, he was branded “a far-out liberal.” Yet Dawson remained against Communism, maintaining an unabated faith in Western democracy. As he told an interviewer in 1973: “You tell the midwestern housewife that for the good of the state she’ll have to give up her washing machine and dryer and dishwasher and her electric conveniences and take to scrubbing clothes against a rock in a stream and she will have none of it. No one is going to take away her washing machine, least of all for the good of the state.” When asked about becoming a U.S. citizen, Richard Dawson said that he was felt incapable of assuming the responsibilities of casting a ballot. (He would eventually become an American citizen in 1984.) (Source: The Phoenix, July 20, 1973)

6. ABC once offered Richard Dawson a situation comedy involving two priests in a ghetto. Dawson replied, “There’s a lot of humor there, counseling young girls about abortions and heroin.” The conversation ended quickly and the offer was rescinded. (Source: The Pittsburgh Press, June 4, 1978)

7. Richard Dawson was a night person and felt the happiest when the sun was setting. He would stay up writing or reading, and read about five books a week. It remains unknown whether he practiced vampiric tendencies. (Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, August 18, 1979)

8. As a young man in the merchant marine, Richard Dawson started out as a laundry boy and worked his way up to waiter. But this was not enough income for the young strapping Englishman. So he started boxing his mates on ship to bring in some extra cash. But Richard Dawson’s hustling didn’t stop there. When he transferred to the Cunard line, he slipped the maitre’d some cash to make sure he was waiting on the high-tipping tables. (Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, August 18, 1979)

9. Dawson nabbed his first role by making up Shakespeare quotes on the spot. (Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, August 18, 1979)

10. Dawson also secured employment in London by claiming to be a famous Canadian comic on vacation, looking for a few weeks work. A year later, Dawson was playing the Palladium. (Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, August 18, 1979)

11. Richard Dawson had perforated eardrums. (Source: The Phoenix, July 20, 1973)

12. When it came to exercise, Richard Dawson was a real man. In 1966, he went for a brisk 15-minute daily walk. He also managed to get in a swim six days a week in weather foul and fair. (Source: Universal Press Syndicate, July 17, 1966)

13. Richard Dawson spent much of his time shooting pool. In the 1960s, he converted one of his five bedrooms into an antique poolroom, with the table acquired from Tommy Noonan. (Source: Universal Press Syndicate, July 17, 1966)

14. In the early 1980s, TV Guide wished to profile the top six game show hosts in the country. Richard Dawson was not profiled. The reason? He would only agree to an interview if he, and he alone, appeared on the cover. It is unclear whether Richard Dawson continued to make such bold editorial demands for the remainder of his life. (Source: The Leader-Post, February 1, 1985)


  1. RICHARD DAWSSON was known throughout Hollywood for being an Egomaniac. His former Match Game panelists had nothing kind to say about his behavior on the set for all those years. Dawson actually QUIT Match Game when they added the Star Wheel because he was going to have to share the Super Match bonus round with the other celebrities equally, due to it being the luck of the spin that would decide who the contestant would play with. Dawson had gotten so used to being the only one called on that when the wheel was brought in to make things “more fair” to all… He quit in a huff… He even REFUSED years later to agree to sign the release which would allow Mark Goodsen to use his picture on the cover of “The Best Of Match Game” dvd set, so they had to make the cover with everyone except him. This was his thanks to Goodsen who made him A Star with both Match Game and Family Feud.. Dawson was a horrible person and most Hollywood insiders knew it 🙁

  2. I’m prepared to contradict Mr. Scott’s comment above. What you have gotten right. 1. Dawson being an egomaniac. Yes. 2. He disliked the Star Wheel. Yes. However, some of your facts are eschewed. 1. He QUIT Match Game. Depends who you ask. Some sources say he was fired. 2. He refused to have his image on the Best of Match Game cover. FALSE! His face IS on the cover, albeit on the back and also is pictured inside the booklet that accompanies it! I would know, I own a copy! If you watch Richard’s interview with EmmyTVLegends you will get a whole different view of him! He spoke fondly of almost everyone he ever worked with, including Mark Goodson! For someone who’s been criticized by many he certainly isnt the type to backtalk anyone else! Now there are many stories of him being difficult behind the scenes and I’m willing to believe them. You definitely get the sense of arrogance when watching FF and MG. But keep in mind who he had to work with. Howard Felsher was the producer on FF who Dawson at one point barred from the set due to their difficulties. Felsher numerous times afterwards, even years later, bashing Dawson in interviews. However, lets not forget Felsher was involved in the quiz show scandals and also supposedly has spoke negatively of many other hosts he’s worked with. One of Dawson’s difficulties with Felsher was Dawson felt Felsher’s calling with some of the answers was wrong. One of the charming things about Richard that also caused difficulties behind the scenes was he TRULY cared about the contestants, both on FF and MG! There’s an episode of MG on YouTube where a contestant responded with ‘bag’. A couple celebrity panelists responded with ‘paper bag/sack’ and were deemed matches. Dawson responds with ‘plastic baggie’ and gets buzzed. Dawson was somewhat angered by this, not so much out of ego but ’cause he knew it affected the contestant. There were other moments on MG where things to this effect occurred. Check out the infamous School Riot episode! I think this was also what really upset Richard about the Star wheel. Not so much he cant be picked anymore, because there were even moments in pre-SW episodes of MG where he tried encouraging contestants to not choose him, but because he felt it was a blow to the contestants chance of winning the big money. Yes the wheel added fairness but whats the fun if you gotta match panelists like Patti Deutsch, Scoey Mitchell, or Dick Martin who many times cant match anyone to save their lives! However, many people dont factor out that MG’s ratings by that point had been declining ever since the show’s time slot was moved in ’77, and by now FF was the number rated daytime game show. Richard wanted to move on. Call it ego if you will but he had bigger fish to fry. My point is despite the beef this guy has gotten form others, he was an entertaining host and truly cared for people! I choose to remember him the way he wished to be remembered in his final interview, ‘fondly’.

  3. I believe that Richard was imperfect…just like everyone else who is human….it is evident that Richard had just issues…u pay close attention to his eyes as he scans guests(female) walking off stage … you Could read the message in his eyes, I also believe he chose to stand for fairness,

    May the Lord bless him, he awaits his meeting with the Lord,his personal judgement let’s all hope he’s made good with the Lord …

  4. He was on password and started crying when he won the game so he could give $25,000 to his favorite charity. I think its true that he really did care for people. Yes, he had an ego, but every famous person does. He had a heart of gold.

  5. I cannot stand him on re-runs of Match Game. It drives me crazy how he is always puckering up his mouth…..or looking pouty. I do not watch the show because of that!

  6. Richard was this, Richard was that……REALLY!? Name one celeb who is NOT SPOILED??? He was just a man. Period. I will miss seeing Richard on any platform.

  7. I had a crush on Richard Dawson from the time I first saw him on TV when I was a little girl! He was wonderful to watch on every show he did. I miss him and I hope I meet him in heaven one day.

  8. I think the world has lost a very caring human , he was handsome a little pouty and laid back, may he rest forever with our Lord.

  9. There is something so endearing about Richard Dawson in 2017. Very few men are man enough to kiss a woman anymore for fear of her crying sexual harassment, don’t assume my gender, and all other PC garbage we have let infiltrate into society. I would love to go back to a day where men were men and women were women. I don’t think there was anything sexual or perverse in his kissing routine, I believe he loved women! All women, old, young, fat skinny, black, white, whatever. He knew that all women are beautiful in there own way and wanted to make them feel as such.

  10. Show me anyone who does not have an ego, ( another word for believing in yourself) and I’ll show you a loser or mediocre person. Dawson was good at what he did on FF and MG…….especially MG. Ever notice how Brett Sommers couldn’t shut up trying to steal every scene and when chosen to give a match word for the money, had to steal someone else’s idea, or Joyce Bulifant who gave credence to the term “dumb blonde”? Neither one, plus a host of others, could care less about the players and never matched Dawson’s ability to select the right match. Its true he was disinterested the last year of being on MG. Its because he was appearing there and hosting FF. He was getting burned out and to listen to the whiners who couldn’t handle contestants not selecting them. You want to talk about ego, talk about some of the washed up hasbeens around him.

  11. I loved that suave, handsome Brit since the first day I laid eyes on him. He oozed confidence, (?ego), sexiness, kindness, charm & a genuine caring for everyone he met…he had a big heart, much bigger than any ego. I still watch him on reruns & I still love him…I miss him so…sending a kiss 💋 to heaven..Kate

  12. I think that Richard Dawson was a disgusting pervert. I would gross out every time he kissed so many women on any given show. Many times I would see those women’s faces and you can tell that they were reluctant when they had to kiss his nasty mouth. If he were to do that today, he’d be fired. Weinstein and many others have lost their jobs today for being disgusting sexual predators. I hope that Richard was reincarnated as a female and was forced to kiss a thousand men on a daily basis. PIG

  13. RICHARD was a cool dude.? who cares if he kissed women or was the only one called on Match Game. If I were a contestant I’d go with the person that gave me the best chance at the cash!!!! You people who talk against him have no lives! He was NEVER INVOLVED IN ANY SEX SCANDAL! Ever! You should worry more about Bill Cosby, KEVIN Spacey, MATT Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bill Clinton & the dozens of other sex perverts on Hollywood! R.I.P. RICHrd! SAY HELLO TO COLONEL HOGAN FOR ME!!

  14. I was a big fan of Match Game. Usually I had no complaints about their celebrity guests. Gene was an amazing host, with his wit and knowledge.
    But if I were a guest on that show there is no doubt my pick would be
    Richard Dawson.
    To me he lacked some warmth, but made up for it in so many of great traits.
    I found him to be a bit intimidating, but loved him all the same. Yes, he added so much for the continued success of MG as did Gene. Thanks for the happy memories. God Bless.

  15. Richard was very a very nice man. I wish I could have met him I hope he has a great next life. Say hi to carter ,kinchlo , Hogan, Klink and Shultz for me. Love you…

  16. Richard Dawson was one of a kind.So, he had an ego who doesn’t 1way
    way or another. If I was a contestant he would have been the one for
    me to call on because he usually matched contestants and tried really
    hard to do so. I would never have called on Pattie Deutsch she rarely
    matched anyone as Joyce who was too silly. Brett, became obnoxious
    at times yet she matched occasionally. I loved Chuck’s humor.
    I really don’t think Dawson cared for Brett, he often spoke of her drinking ,his facial expression said a lot when she was stealing the show. R.I.P Richard I’ll miss you.🙏❤️🥰❤️❤️❤️

  17. Dawson made Match Game a hit. I remember the negative stories in TV Guide or other sources and view them all as a petty whisper campaign. How many of us at work have witnessed a similar sad display. Envious coworkers tearing down the star performer out of jealousy. It impossible for me to watch Match Game reruns and watch the slow deterioration of Dawson as years of back biting and program changes designed to diminish his role on the show began to take effect. He looked like a broken man by the end warming a chair waiting for the misery to end. Ira Skutch, Match Game producer, finally gave him his pardon and released him from the show. But not without making it appear as if it was Dawson’s behavior to blame rather than years of whispers, lies and disrespect. I used this example at work on how to identify a toxic work environment and get out.

  18. Sorry folks. Richard was a person that men can aspire to be like. Not perfect at all but respectful is all that I saw. funny , kindhearted and treated everyone the same. gods speed RD

  19. Given that Richard was married for several years to Diana Dors; and given what we’re told is true about Diana having held drugs- and alcohol-supplied **x parties in her home from the 1950’s all the way into the 80’s, where up-and-coming starlets would agree to spend the evening being filmed in bed with various men; you can bet that Richard too was a sleazy perv. Sweet moral people don’t marry and have children with degenerates. And just look at him in seasons 4+ of Match Game. He looked like absolute hell—even with the services of a professional makeup artist!—like he had always spent the nights before taping drinking and smoking heavily, with literally no sleep. He clearly didn’t care one bit about his panelist job.

  20. Dickie was da man!! He all dat and mo!! Shucks we’d no longer gits to see his lovable face and kissin all Dem womens!!

  21. One of the last times I saw Richard Dawson was on Family Feud. He favored a black family over a white family. I found it offensive because a game show host should be neutral. He let his emotions get in the way of professionalism. I also noticed that because of WWII. He didn’t get much of an education. And that made him self conscious. So I can see why he read books a lot. He felt insecure. Unfortunately, he got snobby about it and demeaned some of the contestants who weren’t well educated. Years ago, I was “smitten” by him. But then you grow up and see him as just a man. A man with some bad and good in him.

  22. Richard Dawson is in HELL!!!
    Because he murdered both Bob Crane and Ray Combs!!!
    He was a very obnoxious, deceitful moron!!!
    The truth about him will come very soon.
    Stay tuned, America, and get ready for the shock of your lives!!
    Jealousy is a VERY sick way to achieve success.

  23. Everyone thought that Richard Dawson was kind, compassionate and sweet.
    NO WAY, JOSE!!!
    In reality, he was a COLD, CALCULATING, DECEITFUL SOB
    who only thought of himself and no one else!!
    I personally did research on this character and guess what?
    Richard Dawson ‘s astrological sign was Scorpio the Scorpion,
    which is the sign of secrecy and death.
    In his youth, Richard Dawson was a boxer. His first wife, Diana Dors, left him and later divorced him because Richard threatened to beat her.
    It will be amazing if he never did it to his second wife, now his widow, Gretchen Johnson.
    She probably NEVER knew that when she dated him, was engaged to him, or was married to him for twenty years!!!
    Well, Gretchen, guess what??? BE PREPARED for the GREATEST SHOCK OF YOUR LIFE because
    Is it any wonder why Richard Dawson loved night time???
    Is it any wonder, why he constantly stayed up, supposedly reading a book or writing some papers for whatever reason???
    No, I’m not saying this to be spiteful; I’m saying this because… IT’S THE TRUTH!!!
    Why??? It’s because whatever I say something, it comes out EXACTLY as I say it!!!!!!!!!

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