Jim Lange Dies: Host of 'The Dating Game' Was 81

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 01:24 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Jim Lange, the host of the popular former game show "The Dating Game," died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack at his home in Mill Valley, Calif., according to his wife Nancy. He was 81.

Lange was born on Aug. 15, 1932, in St. Paul, Minn., and had worked in radio as a disc jockey for years before joining the "The Dating Game," Reuters reported.

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Following his retirement from broadcasting in 2005, he became the morning DJ for KABL-FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, which plays classics from the Big Band era to the 1970s, the Associated Press noted.


"As much as he's known for his television work, his real love was radio," his wife said, the New York Daily News reported. "He loved doing local radio, especially before it was computerized."

In a 1992 interview with the Bay Area Radio Digest, Lange said his favorite aspect of radio was 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," he added. "It always will be. Plus, you don't have to wear makeup and you don't have to shave."

Despite his apparent love for radio, it was television for which he is most remembered.

Over the years, Lange interviewed numerous celebrities early on in their careers who appeared as guests on "The Dating Game," including Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I've never been out on a date before. What do two kids like us do on a date?" a teenage Michael Jackson asked one of his potential dates on a 1972 episode of the show, the AP reported.

"Well, we'd have fun," the girl answered. "We'd go out to dinner, and then I'd go over to your house."

The show, which featured a man or woman behind a shielded panel of three members of the opposite sex, was designed to elicit sexy answers from the panel to woo the guest and excite the audience. The show debuted in 1965 and ran for 21 years. Reruns of the show are still aired on cable television.

Lange is survived by his wife, a sister, five children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

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