Richard Dawson
Born Colin Emm, on Nov. 20, 1932 in Gosport, England.  (The date is sometimes incorrectly listed as 1934.)  Unhappy with his prospects in the poor coastal town of Gosport (he imagined himself  growing up to work on the docks or drive a moving van, as his father did), he ran away to sea at 14 (by lying about his age), made a brief try at  boxing, and then worked as a waiter.  At age 18, (on a dare from his older brother, John) he auditioned for a small theater company called the Barry O'Brien Players, and found that he loved the stage.  After two years as an actor, he conned his way into a stand-up comedy job, and  began a highly sucessful comedian/impressionist career, which included an  appearance at The Palladium.  Experimenting with different stage names, he finally settled on Richard "Dickie" Dawson, and had his name legally changed to that.

In the late '50s, he was hired to work in a stage show with British movie star Diana Dors, and "fell madly, hopelessly in love".  (She was separated from her first husband at the time.)  Richard and Diana were married on April 12, 1959. They had two sons, Mark and Gary, and then moved to the United States in 1962.  Diana left her husband and children in 1964 (returning to England), but they did not officially divorce until 1967.  Richard was given full custody of the children, whom he absolutely adored.  He continued to send Diana flowers each year on her birthday (even after she had remarried), and has always defended her.

Between 1962 and 1965, Richard's career was varied, to say the least.  He co-hosted an L.A. talk show; performed as a night club comedian; had roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Outer Limits, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; and appeared in the movie King Rat.  It was because of King Rat that he was asked to audition for Hogan's Heroes. (For the lead, actually.)  Unable to sound American enough for the role of Hogan, he was offered Newkirk instead.  While working on Hogan's Heroes, he also appeared in the films Munster Go Home and The Devil's Brigade, and made a try at script writing.  He reportedly slept only a few hours a night, but consumed vast quantities of coffee and cigarettes.

His post-Hogan's Heroes work included roles on Love American Style, The Odd Couple, McCloud, and McMillan and Wife; being a cast regular on Laugh-In, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, and Match Game; and hosting a short-lived game show called Masquerade Party; before his 1976 debut on Family Feud.  Family Feud became one of the most popular game shows of all time, and earned him an Emmy.  However, behind the scenes, his relationship with  executive producer Mark Goodson was less than friendly.

In 1981, Richard took a liking to a 27 year old Family Feud contestant named Gretchen Johnson, and decided to ask her out.  Richard and Gretchen are now married and have a daughter, Shanon Nichole.  (He became a U.S. citizen in 1984.)

He retired fron show business shortly after his outstanding 1987 appearance in The Running Man, but then returned (briefly) to host the 1994-95 edition of Family Feud.  Retirement has not prevented Richard's Career from taking yet another bizarre twist.  Thanks to reruns, he has attracted a whole new generation of fans.  Fan clubs and Web sites have sprung up, this one included. To quote a Dawson  phrase, "It's all part of life's rich pattern."
Richard Dawson
He's back, but "Only in a Rerun."
Reference Sources

TV Guide,  Dec. 23, 1967
Winnipeg Tribune, Aug., 1973
People Magazine,  Nov. 21, 1977
Daytime TV Magazine,  Dec., 1978
Newsweek,  June 25, 1979
Richard Dawson and Family Feud,
by Mary Ann Norbom, 1981  (book)
People Magazine,  Nov. 17,  1994
Richard Dawson Fan Domain members, please see the "Files" section of the club for many of these book and magazine excerpts.
Photo Sources

Richard Dawson Fan Domain

Hogan's Barracks
Hogan's Barracks Club
Hogan's Heroes Mailing List
TV Game Shows
Some Dawson Facts:

Date of Birth: Nov.  20, 1932
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Green-Hazel
Height:  5' 9"
Favorite Color:  Dark/Royal Blue
Lives Now:  Beverly Hills, Ca

Astrologial Sign: Scorpio (cusp Sagittarius)
                            Moon in Leo

Chinese Zodiac Sign: Monkey
For an autograph write to:   

Richard Dawson
1117 Angelo Drive
Beverly Hiils, CA  90210

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