“Hogan’s Heroes” star and game show hostdied Saturday, June 2 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as a result of complications from esophageal cancer at the age of 79. Dawson’s son Gary said that his father was surrounded by family members at the time of his death. With the death of Dawson, Richard Clary, who played LeBeau, is the sole surviving member of Hogan’s rag tag clan of characters who were constantly making a fool of Sgt Schultz and Col. Klink.
He was born Colin Lionel Emm on November 30, 1932 in Hampshire, England; the son of an American father and a British mother. Before becoming an actor Dawson was a boxer and a member of the British Merchant Marines.
Dawson made his television debut in 1959 as a guest on “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show”. He went on to make numerous appearances on various chat and variety shows. Though known for his role as host, and kissing all the girls, on “Family Feud”; Dawson appeared as a panelist in 74 episodes of the game show “Match Game”. Dawson debuted as an actor in 1962 as a British soldier in “The Longest Day”; from there he went on to appear in “The Outer Limits”, “McCloud”, as Cpl. Peter Newkirk in 166 episodes of “Hogan’s Heroes”, three episodes of “Love, American Style”, voiced the role of a hippie in an episode of the animated show “Wait till Your Father Gets Home”, 73 episodes of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In”, nine episodes of “The New Dick Van Dyke Show”, an episode of “The Odd Couple”, “McMillan & Wife”, “Fantasy Island”, “The Love Boat”, played himself in an episode of “Mama’s Family”, and his final role as an evil game show host was in thefilm “The Running Man”.
Dawson won a Daytime Emmy Award as Best Game Show Host in 1978.
Dawson is survived by his second wife Gretchen whom he met on “Family Feud” when she appeared as a contestant, children Mark, Gary, and Shannon, and four grandchildren.