Thursday, February 27, 2014

In Memory of Jim Lange (1932-2014)

Famed The Dating Game host Jim Lange died at his home in Mill Valley, CA at the age of 81. Aside from his lengthy career as a radio broadcaster, which lasted for 45 years from 1960-2005, Lange was most famously known as being the frontrunner and long-time host of The Dating Game -- one of the most popular and iconic dating game shows of all time. According to his wife Nancy, Lange passed away Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack. Nancy broke the sad news to the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Lange's television career began in San Francisco in 1962 with The Ford Show. In his network television debut, he was the announcer and sidekick for the show's host, Tennessee Ernie Ford. About three years later, he began his 15-year stint of hosting one of Chuck Barris' successful productions: The Dating Game. Lange later extended his game show emceeing career by hosting several other widely known and short-lived shows including Bullseye, $100,000 Name That Tune, Triple Threat and Spin-Off, partially shown in the clip below.

He has also made guest appearances on other television shows including Bewitched, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (believe it or not), Moesha and as a panelist during "Game Show Week" on Hollywood Squares in 2002. Later in his life, Lange returned to work full-time in radio in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early 1990s. To Lange, his true passion was working in radio. He once told the Bay Area Radio Museum, "Radio is the theater of the mind. You're on your own. 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." the end of his broadcasting career, Lange lived in Marin County, CA with his wife former Miss America Nancy Fleming, whom he had married in 1978.

Despite his extensive and memorable game show hosting career, he is perhaps one of the more underrated emcees among the game show veterans including Bob Barker, Bob Eubanks and the late Gene Rayburn. His solid hosting style, enthusiasm and excellent composure made the shows he hosted enjoyable to watch. To close, check out this classic moment from  The Dating Game in 1978 when comedian Andy Kaufman drops by the set of the show to mess with Lange for a bit.

Source: Today

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