Richard Dawson (born 1932) is a United Kingdom-born actor and game show host. He was born in Gosport, England under the name Colin Emm. At the age of 14, he ran away from home to join the Merchant Marines, where he pursued a boxing career. Having married the British sex symbol, Diana Dors, Richard moved to Los Angeles, California, where he gained fame in the hit show Hogan's Heroes, which aired from 1966 to 1971.
Richard and Diana eventually divorced, and Richard gained custody of both their children, Gary and Mark.
In 1971, Richard became a regular performer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. In addition, he appeared on many numerous game shows such as Celebrity Dating Game. In 1973, he was freed from contracts. Mark Goodson, a game show producer, immediately grabbed Richard to appear in the new revision of Match Game, entitled Match Game 73.
Richard soon became a regular, with such stars as Gene Rayburn, host, Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly. In 1976, Richard got to host his own show, Family Feud. Unlike his flop in 1974 with Masquerade Ball. Family Feud became a hit, soon surpassing his very own, number one daytime show, Match Game 77. In 1978, he left the Match Game. He continued hosting the Feud, until it was cancelled in 1985.
He co-starred in the movie The Running Man in 1987, playing an evil, egotistical, dark sided game show host. In 1994, Richard returned to Family Feud, however it lasted only one year. He currently resides in Beverly Hills, California, a father of daughter Shannon Nicole and a husband for 12 years (as of 2004) to Gretchen (Johnson) Dawson.