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Richard Dawson Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Nov 20, 1932
  • Died: Jun 2, 2012

Trained in British repertory, actor Richard Dawson achieved prominence in the late '50s as a cabaret and TV comedian. Arriving in the U.S. in 1961, Dawson made the variety-show rounds with an act consisting largely of quickie celebrity impressions. One of his first acting assignment was as Peter Sellers' takeoff Racy Tracy Rattigan in a 1963 episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. A solid dramatic role as a military prisoner in King Rat led to a longer stint as resourceful cockney POW Peter Newkirk on the popular sitcom Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971). After appearing as a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Dawson settled into his true niche as a wisecracking game-show host. From 1976 through 1985, he emceed TV's The Family Feud, winning an Emmy Award for his troubles (he later resumed his Family Feud hosting chores in the 1994 syndicated version). Fittingly enough, Richard Dawson's first feature-film role after Feud was as the smarmy host of a futuristic life-or-death quiz program in Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Running Man (1989). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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