Former hosts of the dating game

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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.

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.

Though Lange had a successful career in radio, he is best known for his television role on ABC’s , which debuted in 1965 and on which he appeared for more than a decade, playing host to many celebrity guests.

He died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told the Associated Press Wednesday.

, died Tuesday of a heart attack in his Mill Valley, CA home. Lange hosted the game show for more than a decade after it debuted in 1965, and over those years played host to contestants including Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, Farrah Fawcett and Arnold Schwarzenegger competing for the right to win a date by answering questions that were intended to illicit PG-13 responses well before there was such a thing as PG-13.

Jim Lange, the original host of the long-running game show "The Dating Game" died Tuesday in Mill Valley, Calif., after suffering a heart attack, his wife, Nancy, told TODAY. He appeared as the host of the ABC show after spending his early career in radio, and hosted the program during its on-and-off runs from 1965 to 1980.

Any of the three judges (a roster that included Jaye P.

Morgan, Rex Reed, Rip Taylor, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson and David Letterman) could send the bad performers packing by striking a large gong.

When original host John Barbour didn't work out after about a year, NBC execs insisted that the cuddly, curly-haired Barris come on as his replacement, so he donned a tuxedo and a floppy hat and introduced the acts.

"The end of the show came because of me," he said in the TV Archive chat.

"I had a small nervous breakdown out there, doing strange things.

The show’s format: a young man or woman questions three members of the opposite sex, hidden from her view, to determine which one would be the best date. ” a teenage Michael Jackson asked one of his potential dates on a 1972 episode of the show. “We’d go out to dinner, and then I’d go over to your house.” Lange was born on Aug. Paul, Minn., where as a young man he discovered a passion for local radio.

The questions were designed by the show’s writers to elicit sexy answers. He worked as a disc jockey for decades, and upon his retirement from broadcasting in 2005, he was the morning DJ for KABL-FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, which specializes in playing classics from the Big Band era to the 1970s.Hosted by San Francisco radio personality Jim Lange, the program featured a bachelor or bachelorette asking three members of the opposite sex suggestive questions, then choosing one for a date.

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