The first host of ABC's "The Dating Game" which debuted in 1965, Jim Lange, has passed away. He was 81. Lange died on Tuesday morning, February 25 at his home in Mill Valley, Calif., his wife Nancy told the Associated Press on Wednesday. He had a heart attack.
"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," said actor Willie Aames who appeared in an episode of the show in 1978, as quoted by TODAY.com.
The popular game show ran until 1980. It featured a man or woman asking three people from opposite sex some questions and later deciding which person who would be asked for a date. The three people were hidden from view. Many celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, Arnold Schwarzenegger and pre-"Charlie's Angels" Farrah Fawcett took part as the contestants.
"I've never been out on a date before. What do two kids like us do on a date?" Jackson asked one of the ladies during an episode in 1972. "Well, we'd have fun. We'd go out to dinner, and then I'd go over to your house," she answered.
Born on August 15, 1932, in St. Paul, Minn., Lange was a radio host before he took hosting gigs on TV. In addition to "The Dating Game", he appeared on other shows such as "Hollywood Connection", "$100,000 Name That Tune" and "The New Newlywed Game" as a host. Lange continued being a DJ in radio shows before retiring from broadcasting media in 2005.
Lange is survived by his wife, five children, two stepchildren, four grandchildren and a sister.