A ‘Family Feud’ Host Had a Habit of Kissing Female Contestants on the Lips

Family Feud is one of the funniest and most beloved game shows in the history of American television. One of the few game shows that can compete with giants of the genre like Wheel of Fortune and JeopardyFamily Feud draws a large and loyal audience every night.

The show was created by Mark Goodson in 1976, and the original host of the program was Richard Dawson.

Dawson is remembered as a great host and for helping popularize Family Feudbut he also had a frequent habit with the female contestants on the show that caused some controversy.

What is ‘Family Feud’? 

Family Feud
Family Feud | Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Family Feud’ Host Steve Harvey Shares The Dumbest Answers on the Game Show

The first episode of Family Feud premiered on July 12, 1976. The game show was originally on the ABC network and was hosted by Dawson. The popular game show has been on the air since that first show in 1976 and can be seen nightly due to its popular syndication run.

On Family Feud, two teams of five family members compete for the chance to win $20,000 and sometimes a new car. To win, a family needs to reach a total of 300 points. To earn points contestants have to correctly guess the same answers that 100 polled people have given. Points during a round can also be stolen if the first family receives three strikes for guessing the wrong answers.

The game show’s current host is Steve Harvey, who has hosted since 2010. Harvey is known for his hilarious style of hosting, which includes gently ribbing the contestants for their more unique answers. The show is still producing new episodes and has been spun off into Celebrity Family Feudin which celebrities and their family members compete for charity. 

Who is Richard Dawson?

Born Colin Lionel Emm in Hampshire, England, the comedian and game show host got his start in the entertainment industry with appearances on English variety shows under the name Dickie Dawson. Then, after moving to America, Dawson appeared in a number of television shows, both scripted and of the game show variety, and went by the name Richard. Dawson was the first host of Family Feud and was succeeded by Ray Combs.

Dawson did return to the show for a sendoff year from 1994 to 1995 before his final retirement. Although he was mainly known as the host of Match Game and Family Feud, Dawson also had a successful acting career in both film and television appearing in Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, and The Running Man. Dawson’s long reign of hosting Family Feud was also marked by his strange habit of kissing women contestants on the show. 

What was Dawson’s strange habit involving women on the show? 

During his time as host on Family Feud, Dawson would kiss the female contestants when greeting them. Dawson has said he kissed women on the mouth in order to “calm” them from the shock of being on television.

On the final episode that he hosted, Dawson said that he kissed the women for “love and luck,” which was something that his mother did when Dawson was a child.

Even more strange is the fact that one of the women Dawson kissed later became his wife. This type of behavior certainly would not be acceptable now.