Minnesota-born 'Dating Game' host Jim Lange dies


Minnesota native Jim Lange, the first host of the iconic game show "The Dating Game," has died, The Associated Press reports. He was 81.

Lange's wife, Nancy, says her husband died Tuesday at his home in Mill Valley, California, after suffering a heart attack.

The television personality, who was born on Aug. 15, 1932, in St. Paul, reportedly started his career in radio at age 15, after he won an audition at a local station.

In a 1992 interview with the Bay Area Radio Museum, Lange said the station wanted a male and female in gender-specific roles.

"They wanted the boy to do sports and the girl to do the dances and stuff that was going on in the Twin Cities – very sexist – and play music once a week," Lange told the museum.

Lange also told the museum that he was inspired by a legendary announcer at WCCO Radio.

"There's a broadcaster back in Minneapolis, a fellow named Steve Cannon, who I used to listen to when I was thinking about becoming a DJ," Lange said, noting that he went on to become close friends with Cannon.

According to the AP, Lange hosted the show for two years before attending the University of Minnesota. After that he served three years in the Marines. He got his break in network TV in 1962 as an announcer and sidekick on "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show."

Lange hosted "The Dating Game" for more than a decade, beginning in 1965. Among the celebrity guests appearing as contestants on the show were Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lange told the Bay Area Radio Museum that his best memories are working with all the wonderful people who passed through the show.

"I guess, almost every celebrity who was single, from Michael Jackson to Burt Reynolds to Tom Selleck. They all came through the show, even Groucho Marx. So I got to meet all those people – I think that was a great thrill, and also the fact that I got to see nine beautiful women everyday," he said a laugh.

The TV blog Zap2it says Lange also hosted pre-fame celebrities on the show, including Farrah Fawcett, Bob Saget, John Ritter and Phil Hartman.

The Internet Movie Database says Lange also hosted such game shows as ''$100,000 Name That Tune" and "The New Newlywed Game," and also appeared on "Card Sharks" and "The Hollywood Squares."

Talking about Lange's death Thursday, Josh Elliott of ABC's "Good Morning America" called the host "truly one of the giants of the golden age of the game show."

In addition to his TV work, Lange was a disc jockey for decades in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, the AP says.

ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News

Next Up


St. Cloud State blanked by UMass in national championship game

Minnesota had three teams in the Frozen Four but didn't claim the national title.

BLM mural in West St. Paul.

Minnesotan's fight to save his BLM mural gets international coverage

West St. Paul told Ryan Weyandt the art violates city code.

Alex Rodriguez

Reports: Alex Rodriguez part of group finalizing deal to buy Wolves, Lynx

The former MLB will become part-owner of the Wolves and Lynx.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Accumulating snow expected in parts of Minnesota on Monday

Far northwestern Minnesota stands the best chance for higher snow totals.

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.53.51 PM

Police looking for 'person of interest' in connection to woman's killing

The public is advised to avoid approaching him and to call 911.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, April 10

Cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Minnesota.

Gabe Kalscheur

Gabe Kalscheur announces he's transferring to Iowa State

The former Gopher guard entered the transfer portal last month.


Asked about restrictions, Walz says Minnesota is in a 'hold pattern'

Meanwhile, the governor of Michigan is urging people to stay home to slow the spread.

walz and zapko

Watch: Beloved MN sign language interpreter profiled on Today Show

Nic Zapka's work made her an internet celebrity last year.

White Bear Lake Area High School

White Bear Lake students hold walkout over racist social media comments

School officials are investigating the anonymous Instagram account.