Jim Lange Dies; The Dating Game Host Was 81

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Jim Lange, the host of the popular game show The Dating Game, died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He succumbed to a heart attack at age 81.

Jim Lange Pic

Though Lange had a successful career in radio, he is best known for the dating show he hosted for more than a decade, charming audiences nationwide.

He also played host to many celebrity guests. Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, appeared as contestants.

Even a pre-Charlie's Angels Farrah Fawcett appeared, billed as "an accomplished artist and sculptress" with a dream to open her own gallery.

The show's format: a young man or woman questions three members of the opposite sex, hidden from view, to determine which one would be the best date.

The questions were designed by the writers to elicit sexy answers.

"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 potential date on a 1972 episode.

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

Lange was born on Aug. 15, 1932, in St. Paul, Minn., where at 15 he discovered a passion for local radio after winning an audition at a local station.

He attended University of Minnesota and after a three-year stint in the Marines, pursued a radio career, which eventually led to his big break in TV.

Later, after The Dating Game, he also hosted the game shows Hollywood Connection, $100,000 Name That Tune and The New Newlywed Game.

Lang also worked as a disc jockey for decades in Los Angeles and the San Francisco area, which he was more passionate about than his claim to fame.

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

"Good radio is still the most fun," he once said, "It always will be."

"Plus, you don't have to wear makeup and don't have to shave."

Jim Lange is survived by his wife Nancy, who confirmed his passing to the media, one sister, five children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

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