1:00 PM EDT, June 4, 2012
The late Richard Dawson's daughter, Shannon and his son, Gary are grieving the loss of their dad, the beloved host of Family Feud, who died Saturday night of complications due to Esophageal Cancer. He was 79.
Gary said, "He kind of went around to everyone standing there and said, 'I love you so much.' "
His children were with him when he passed away at UCLA Medical Center.
America first fell in love with Dawson on Hogan's Heroes, the 60's sit-com where the actor played a prisoner of war. He went on to become one of the best -known TV personalities of the 70's and 80's as host of the popular game show Family Feud.
Dawson's first wife was actress Diana Dors, known as the Marilyn Monroe of England. Gary is Dawson's son from that marriage. Shannon's mother was Dawson's second wife, and you won't believe how he and Gretchen Johnson met. She was one of the twenty thousand women his kissed on Family Feud.
Shannon said, "He says right when he met her it was love at first sight. He had a special feeling for her."
Dawson stopped kissing women after Shannon was born.
Dawson said on the show, "This is the reason I won't kiss women anymore. I met a woman on the show and this is our little girl Shannon."
Shannon said, "She didn't tell him not to kiss other people. He was like, 'I promised my wife, I am not going to kiss anymore.' She was not really strict about it, he was just being respectful."
Dawson's final years were spent in quiet retirement in California. He gave a rare interview last July for Archive of American Television and looked in poor health. But his humor was still evident, especially when he talked about that moment he met his second wife on the show.
Dawson said, "I knew there was just something about this young lady and myself. They were about to leave the stage and I went over to her and said, 'Can I call you?' "