Did the Host of Family Feud Marry One of the Contestants?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Richard Dawson married a contestant from the Family Feud.

Richard Dawson was the original host of the very popular game show, the Family Feud, where two teams (each team consisting of five family members) would compete against each other based on their knowledge of what 100 Family Feud audience members would respond to different questions, such as “Name a U.S. President” or “Name something you save up for.”

In a 1981 episode, there was a very special guest…Richard Dawson’s future wife!

Yep, in 1991, Richard Dawson ended up marrying one of the contestants that he first met when she appeared as a contestant on the Family Feud ten years earlier!!
Here is the introduction of Gretchen’s family…

She is on the far right.

Here she is when Richard kisses her for the first time…

and here she is when she plays for “Fast Money” at the end of the show (her family won the money)…

Isn’t that neat?

It’s a fun way to meet your future in-laws, at the very least (even if they didn’t know that at the time)!

Dawson and Gretchen (born Gretchen Johnson) remained married until he passed away in 2012 at the age of 79. They had a daughter together, Shannon Nicole Dawson, who was born in 1990.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

5 Responses to “Did the Host of Family Feud Marry One of the Contestants?”

  1. I looked out for this episode and saw it this week. Dawson was absolutely smitten with Gretchen and (in a later episode) even said he would visit her in her town later!

  2. Very cool, Gigi! I’ll try to keep an eye out for it myself. My local cable company just recently launched a SECOND game show channel and they have a lot of episodes of the Feud, so I’ll see when it loops around next.

  3. Hi Brian, The Buzzr channel is airing them again this week! Sorry, I wish I had known sooner to alert you. They’re airing the first one now on the West Coast. I hope you can see some of the rest of the episodes though. Happy Holidays!

  4. Thanks for thinking of me, Gigi! I’m sure it’ll loop around again and I’ll catch it some day! 🙂

  5. All the new family feud’s are on again with Richard Dawson on buzzr TV and it’s really interesting he was awesome I loved him he was a good person I feel. And I can watch that show over and over and over. Even with Ray Combs and the other ones who did the family feud it was really a great show really interesting I loved it!

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