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He went into television in 1962 as an announcer and sidekick on "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show," and stepped into the national spotlight once he joined "The Dating Game." He would go on to host more game shows, including "0,000 Name That Tune" and "The New Newlywed Game." After television, he moved back into radio as a DJ in Los Angeles and San Francisco before retiring in 2005.

TV may have made him nationally famous, but Lange's heart truly was in radio. Plus, you don't have to wear makeup and you don't have to shave." He is survived by his sister, five children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

Before he died of natural causes earlier this week, Chuck Barris expressed the fear “The Gong Show” would be his legacy.

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"Jim Lange was one of the great show hosts of television.

Always in control, but with a soft enough hand to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable," "Charles in Charge" star Willie Aames, who appeared on "The Dating Game" in 1978, told TODAY.

When they saw 'The Gong Show' and I would come out, they all thought I was whacked out of my mind. Barris often provided conflicting details about his family life and his early years are somewhat shrouded in mystery.

I had a daughter who was a druggie who I could see as an example.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Lange, the first host of the popular game show "The Dating Game," has died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Though Lange had a successful career in radio, he is best known for his television role on ABC's "The Dating Game," which debuted in 1965 and on which he appeared for more than a decade, charming audiences with his mellifluous voice and wide, easygoing grin. Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, appeared as contestants.

As he told the Bay Area Radio Museum, "Radio is the theater of the mind. You don't have to worry about lighting directors and cameramen or script writers and all that.

“I was never on drugs, but everybody thought I was. And I had no use for drugs at all.”“It was good, [the release of the film 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'], because it sold books and reminded people that I now see myself, first and foremost, as a writer. Promotion, in general, really isn't me anymore.”Chuck Barris is believed to have been born on June 3, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"He loved doing local radio, especially before it was computerized." Lange himself once told the Bay Area Radio Digest that he loved the medium because "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 said, "It always will be.


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