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Closer Weekly

‘Family Feud’ Host Richard Dawson Was a Dad of 3: Meet Kids Mark, Gary and Shannon

By Samantha Agate,

Randy Rasmussen/AP/Shutterstock

Family Feud host Richard Dawson loved his children more than anything. The late game show personality was a dad to three kids, Mark, Gary and Shannon. Keep scrolling for details on his blended family.

Who Are Richard Dawson’s Kids?

Richard became a dad during his first marriage to Diana Dors when they welcomed their eldest son, Mark, in 1960. Gary was born in 1962. The Match Game panelist and the cabaret performer were married from 1959 to 1966.
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In 1981, Richard met his second wife, Gretchen Johnson, while hosting Family Feud. The pair got married 10 years later and welcomed their daughter, Shannon, in 1990. Though the TV icon worked well into his 60s before stepping away from show business, he was always the best father he could possibly be.

“If I could handpick all the qualities I wanted in a father, I could not have chosen anyone better,” Mark told Closer in July 2020. “He did all the normal father things, but he was also my best friend and my life coach.”

What Are Richard Dawson’s Kids’ Jobs?

Mark ventured into the entertainment business like his parents, however, he mostly opted to work behind the camera as a producer and an editorial assistant. The entertainment mogul revealed the important advice his father gave him before his death at age 79 in 2012 from esophageal cancer.

“He told me, ‘Go through life unscathed,’” Mark recalled. “He meant that life is too short. Be happy, have fun, make the best of it and go through life unscathed.”

Richard and Diana’s second child, Gary, earned one acting credit after appearing in a 1984 episode of Down to Earth. Like his older brother, he worked behind the scenes on a number of shows, including Family Feud, Card Sharks and Game Changers. Mark and Gary had a half-brother, Jason, from their mom’s marriage to Alan Lake. Jason died in September 2019 at age 50.

As for Shannon, she’s chosen to live a life mostly out of the spotlight. She did publicly reflect on her father’s health battle days after his death.

“There were no signs before. He just thought he had heartburn and then he found out he had stage four esophageal cancer,” she told Access Hollywood in June 2012 about her father’s sudden diagnosis.

The Hogan’s Heroes alum had his loved ones beside him during his final moments.

“He was surrounded by his family, his children, my mom… it was a peaceful moment,” Shannon revealed.

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