Tribute to actor and tv host Richard Dawson who died 2nd June 2012 aged 79.
Gosport born Actor and TV host, American household name.
Roger Black (sportsman)
Mike Hugg (Manfredd Mann)
Nat Gonella (Jazz performer)
Sean Boon (Me)
The list of famous people from Gosport isn’t exactly full of notable people of household names.
The name Richard Dawson may be unknown to you, but he’s possibly Gosport’s biggest and most successful export.
Richard Dawson was born Colin Lionel Emm on the 20th of November 1932 to an American father and English mother.
Aged 14 Richard ran away from home to join the merchant navy where he took up boxing. After his career in the merchant navy he decided to pursue a comedy career under the stage name of Dickie Dawson. Later legally changing it to Richard Dawson.
Richards quick wit stood him in good stead and he played the London Palladium at his peak.
Although, I use the word peak as if he rose to fame and faded. This isn’t true. This Gosport boys rise to fame never actually faltered.
Richard appeared on the Dick Van Dyke show then was catapulted into stardom with the hit American show Hogans Heroes even introducing the acclaimed cinematographer John Carpenter (Halloween) to video tape ! Influential doesn’t do Richard Dawson any justice!
Dawson had brief dalliances with the music scene during the 60s releasing a psychedelic single ‘ His Childrens parade’ and becoming a regular on Americas Match game (Blankety Blank to the UK) and returning to the New Dick Van Dyke Show.
During his time appearing on The Match game Richard was approached to host a new show, Family Feud. (Family Fortunes in the UK) Which he hosted successfully for over a decade.
It was during this success that Gosport lost their star forever as in 1974 he became a naturalized US citizen.
For me my favourite Richard Dawson moment is seeing him in the adaptation of Richard Bachmann aka Stephen Kings novel ‘ The Running Man’
This time on the big screen as a game show host. Typecast? Never! He also played an incredible evil genius.
Following his appearance in the 1987 movie, he returned to ‘Family feud’ to host nearly another decade of the gameshow. Receiving a 25 second standing ovation when he returned on the set !
Richard Dawson retired in the 90’s but was forever on our screens in re-runs and cinemas. His legend lives on.
Sadly, Gosports biggest star died June 2nd 2012 of Cancer.
He is survived by Mark and Gary Dawson from his marriage to Diana Dors. (Another Gosport connection which I’ll maybe tell you about another time.)
Rest In Peace Richard Dawson.
My words of tribute to you are your own words from ‘The Running Man’
“Who loves you? And who do you love?”
Donate to a Cancer charity today.