Jim Lange, famous for hosting the game show The Dating Game, has died in his home, aged 81. His wife, Nancy Fleming, told the Associated Press that he died on Tuesday morning of a heart attack.
Lange was the first host of The Dating Game, which saw contestants ask questions of 3 members of the opposite sex, all hidden behind screens, ultimately aiming to decide which of them to take on a date. Lange hosted the show for more than a decade from its 1965 debut, and during his tenure the show saw celebrity guests such as Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Lange himself was born on August 15, 1932, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He discovered his passion for show business, and particularly radio, after winning an audition to host his local radio station when he was 15. After attending the University of Minnesota and spending three years in the Marines he broke into TV in 1962 as an announcer on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. Over the years he also hosted Hollywood Connection, $100,000 Name That Tune and The New Newlywed Game along with extensive radio work in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He even appeared as himself on not only Bewitched, but also The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! – and even the movie Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He married his wife Nancy, a former Miss America, in 1978, and lived with her until he died.
Lange always preferred radio, despite his TV fame, explaining that “you don’t have to worry about lighting directors and cameramen or script writers and all that… Good radio is still the most fun, it always will be. Plus, you don’t have to wear makeup and you don’t have to shave.”
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