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'Dating Game' host 'Gentleman' Jim Lange dead at 81

Jim Lange in 1971
Jim Lange in 1971
Wikimedia Commons

Jim Lange, host of the popular show “The Dating Game” and also a fixture in radio in San Francisco, has died at the age of 81, reported ABC News Feb. 26. Lange died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told the Associated Press.

Lange was host of “The Dating Game,” which ran on ABC originally from 1965 to 1986, according to IMDB.com. In the show, created by Chuck Barris, a woman (or man) would have a choice of three unmarried members of the opposite six of whom they would ask questions of as they sat behind a curtain. They would then choose which one to go on a date with.

The show featured many celebrity bachelors or bachelorettes, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin, Michael Jackson, Karen Carpenter, Suzanne Somers, Phyllis Diller, Farrah Fawcett, John Ritter, Vincent Price and Tom Selleck.

He told the Bay Area Radio Digest there he took away great memories of hosting "The Dating Game."

"The best memories are working with the wonderful people who were on the show. Over the years we had, 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."

Lange also worked as a disc jockey in Los Angeles and San Francisco and was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2006. Gary Mora, a friend and former co-worker of Lange's in the Bay Area, told TV on DVD Examiner, “Jim was another very special friend. We spent countless hours working together at KSFO. He was known on air as 'Gentleman Jim Lange' and believe me, he earned that name. He was always upbeat, and always had a sparkle in his eyes. Although he was a national celebrity because of his many years on television, he was a very down to earth, humble person who loved life. He will be missed.”