The token Brit on Hogan's Heroes, Cpl. Peter Newkirk, Richard made his major film debut playing a small role in the World War II prison-camp drama King Rat (1965). But he is best known for kissing thousands of total strangers during his Emmy-winning stint as host of the TV game show Family Feud (1976-1985).
Born in Hampshire, England, in 1932, Richard spent much of his career on American game shows, sometimes as a regular panelist on shows like Match Game and I've Got a Secret, but usually as host. He emceed Lucky Pair (1969), Masquerade Party (1974-75) and, of course, Family Feud. The quintessential emcee, Dawson parodied himself as Damon Kilian, an oily game-show host, in the 1987 sci-fi Arnold Schwarzenegger feature, The Running Man. Outside of the game show genre, Dawson was seen on favorites like The Dick Van Dyke Show. Richard's most recent film appearance was as a tour guide in the Chevy Chase flop, Fletch Lives (1989). He returned to his role as host of a syndicated version of Family Feud in 1994-95.
Upon his retirement, Dawson took up residence in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife Gretchen (Johnson) Dawson, whom he met when she was a member of one of the contestant families on Family Feud in 1981. They have a daughter, Shannon Nicole Dawson (born in 1990). Richard also has three grandchildren: Lindsay Dors Dawson, Tyler Emm Dawson, and Emma Rose Dawson.
When Newkirk turns on that saucy British wit, you can be sure that women are swooning or German officers are being duped or both! Always up to a good scheme at his captor's expense, Newkirk cracks safes as expertly as wise remarks, and has the skills of a world class tailors. Be it setting up Schultzie in a poker game or swiping a German general's top-secret war plans, this Cockney corporal always has the last laugh.