TV

Celebrating 40 Years of 'Family Feud': From Richard Dawson to Steve Harvey and Every Host in Between

by Raphael Chestang 1:01 PM PDT, July 14, 2016
Playing Celebrating 40 Years of 'Family Feud': From Richard Dawson to Steve Harvey and Every Host in Between

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Family Feud and ET cameras have been there with every host over the years.

The popular game show debuted in 1976 with host Richard Dawson.

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"I really like people, so it's very easy for me to have fun," Dawson told ET in 1984.

His fun paid off in 1978 when he took home the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host. It paid off again in 1991 when he married Gretchen Johnson, a contestant he met on the show in 1981. The marriage lasted until Dawson's death in 2012 at age 79.

"I was in college when Richard Dawson started the show," Richard Karn told ET in 2003. "I remember myself being much younger."

The Home Improvement star took over hosting duties in 2002, but prior to that, Ray Combs stood at the podium from 1988 to1993. In 1994, Dawson returned to the show for one season before it was canceled.

Tragedy struck the Feud family while the show was off the air when Combs committed suicide in 1996. Plagued by marital and financial struggles, the former host hanged himself inside a psychiatric ward.

When Feud returned in 1999, it was hosted by comedian Louie Anderson until Karn stepped in.

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"I never thought I'd do a game show, honestly," Anderson told ET in 1999. "But then, I don't know, it felt right. It's like having your own little comedy club."

Part of the show's magic comes from the families involved, which must fit specific criteria.

"We are trying to put on people who we would like to see at home -- we as viewers would like to watch," a producer told us in 1983. "Something different. Something unique."

With current host Steve Harvey, who joined in 2010, the show is more successful than ever.

"We took that show that had been on the air for 20 years and it is now the top-rated game show in the country," Harvey told ET.

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The show has earned Harvey two Daytime Emmys.

Fans can watch their favorite stars compete in primetime on Celebrity Family Feud, which airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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