Richard Dawson (born November 20, 1932) is an English actor, comedian, game show panelist, and host. He is best known for his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes, and as the original host of the Family Feud game show from 1976–1985 and from 1994 to 1995. Dawson also appeared as a panelist on the 1970s version of Match Game on CBS from 1973 to 1978. He is also famous for his final film role, that of Damon Killian, the host of "The Running Man" in the hit 1987 film, The Running Man.
Dawson was born as Colin Lionel Emm in Gosport, Hampshire, England, to an American father and English mother. At the age of 14, he ran away from home to join the Merchant Marine, where he pursued a boxing career. After his discharge, he pursued a comedy career, using the stage name Dickie Dawson; when he reached adulthood, he revised this to become Richard Dawson. This name he would later officially legalize. In the course of his career in comedy, Dawson is known to have played the London Palladium, a theater in London.
Having married British sex symbol Diana Dors, Dawson moved to Los Angeles, California, where he gained fame in the hit television show Hogan's Heroes as Cpl. Peter Newkirk. The war-related sitcom was one of the highest-rated shows on television during its six-year run from 1965 to 1971. Earlier, in 1963, a svelte, dapper young Dawson had appeared in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show in the role of Brit entertainer "Racy Tracy" Rattigan. In 1965, Dawson had a small role at the end of the film King Rat, starring George Segal, playing a 1st recon paratrooper, Capt. Weaver, sent to liberate allied POW's in a Japanese prison.