Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$100 Thousand
Nov 20, 1932 - Jun 2, 2012 (79 years old)
5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)
Comedian, Actor, Game Show Host
United States of America
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What was Richard Dawson's Net Worth and Salary?

Richard Dawson was an English-native American actor and comedian and game show host who had a net worth of $100 thousand at the time of his death in 2012.

Richard Dawson was best known for playing Corporal Peter Newkirk on the television sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" and for being the original host of the game show "Family Feud." He was also known for his long tenure as a panelist on the game show "Match Game" in the 1970s. On the big screen, Dawson appeared in such films as "King Rat," "The Devil's Brigade," and "The Running Man."

Early Life

Richard Dawson was born as Colin Lionel Emm on November 20, 1932 in Gosport, Hampshire, England to Josephine, who worked in a munitions factory, and Arthur, who drove a removal van. He had an older brother named John. As children, the boys were evacuated from South England with their family during World War II; this majorly impacted their school attendance. When Dawson was 14, he ran away from home to join the British Merchant Navy, where he became an amateur boxer.

Career Beginnings in Comedy

After being discharged from the merchant service, Dawson began his stand-up comedy career under the stage name Dickie Dawson. He eventually changed his alias to Richard Dawson, which he would later adopt as his legal name. In the 1950s, he made some appearances on BBC Radio and BBC TV.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Television Career

Dawson made his American television debut in 1961 as the host of the late-night talk show "The Mike Stokey Show" on Los Angeles's KCOP-TV. He went on to make guest appearances on "The Jack Benny Program," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Outer Limits," and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." Dawson had his career breakthrough in 1965 when he began playing Corporal Peter Newkirk on the CBS sitcom "Hogan's Heroes." The hit show, set at a POW camp in Nazi Germany, ran for six seasons until 1971. During that time, Dawson made guest appearances on the sitcom "Mr. Terrific" and the police drama "McCloud," and became a regular performer on the sketch comedy program "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." In 1971 and 1972, he acted in some episodes of the ABC anthology comedy series "Love, American Style."

From 1973 to 1978, Dawson was one of the regular panelists on the game show "Match Game," hosted by Gene Rayburn. He was joined by fellow regular panelists Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, and most often sat in the bottom-center seat. Dawson became so popular on "Match Game" that he decided he wanted to host his own game show. In 1976, he began doing just that as the host of the "Match Game" spinoff "Family Feud." The new show quickly became a massive success, originally running until 1985. On "Family Feud," Dawson was notorious for kissing all the female contestants, a practice that created substantial controversy. During his return as host of the show from 1994 to 1995, he refrained from kissing anyone due to a promise he made to his young daughter that he would only kiss her mother.

Film Career

Although mostly known for his work on television, Dawson appeared in some films over the years. In the early 1960s, he had uncredited parts in the epic war film "The Longest Day" and the sex comedy "Promises! Promises!" Dawson had his first credited film role in the 1965 war film "King Rat," appearing at the end of the picture as a paratrooper sent to liberate allied POWs from a Japanese prison. The year after that, he had a small role in Universal's comedy "Munster, Go Home!" In 1968, Dawson played Private Hugh MacDonald in the war film "The Devil's Brigade." His only subsequent big-screen credits were the 1973 animated adventure film "Treasure Island," in which he voiced Long John Silver, and the 1987 dystopian action film "The Running Man," in which he played Damon Killian, the host of the titular game show.

Personal Life and Death

Dawson married his first wife, actress and singer Diana Dors, in 1959. They had two sons, Mark and Gary, before divorcing in 1967. Dawson wed his second wife, Gretchen Johnson, in 1991; they had first met when Johnson was a contestant on "Family Feud" a decade earlier. The couple had a daughter named Shannon in 1990.

A longtime heavy smoker, Dawson passed away from complications of esophageal cancer in early June of 2012. He was 79 years of age. Dawson was buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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