Everything To Know About Gretchen Johnson, Late Richard Dawson’s Second Wife

By AtticusPublished on: June 25, 2024 Updated on: June 25, 2024
Table of Content Show

Gretchen Johnson gained widespread recognition in the ’70s and ’80s through her appearance on the hit game show Family Feud. However, it was her marriage to the show’s charismatic host, Richard Dawson, that truly catapulted her into the public eye.

Despite Richard’s high-profile career as an actor, comedian, and television host, Gretchen maintained a relatively low profile, preferring a life away from the media’s relentless spotlight. Their relationship, which blossomed over nearly a decade following their initial meeting on Family Feud, culminated in a marriage that lasted until Richard’s death in 2012.

In this article, we are uncovering some of the lesser-known aspects of Johnson’s life, offering a glimpse into the woman who stood beside one of television’s most beloved figures.

Johnson and Dawson Dated For A Decade Before Tying the Knot

Dawson’s encounter with Johnson on Family Feud in May 1981 was the beginning of a decade-long romance. Born on September 22, 1955, Gretchen appeared on the show alongside her parents, Bob and June Johnson, and her siblings, Wendy and Heidi Johnson.

Their family participated in four episodes, winning $6,858. Known for his charm and nicknamed “The Kissing Bandit,” Richard was immediately taken with Gretchen. At the end of the show, Richard discovered that Gretchen lived two hours south of Los Angeles in Escondido.

He asked for her phone number, but initially received no response due to Gretchen’s recovery from a wisdom tooth extraction. However, Richard’s persistence paid off, and they eventually connected.

Their first date was a memorable dinner at Richard’s home, where he prepared Beef Wellington and asparagus. Although Gretchen later revealed she disliked foods starting with ‘A,’ including asparagus, this humorous revelation did nothing to dampen their budding relationship.

Shortly after their initial date, the couple moved in together and spent nearly ten years nurturing their bond. On August 13, 1990, they welcomed their daughter, Shannon, into the world. After nearly a decade-long courtship, the couple got married in 1991.

Dawson and Gretchen lived a happily married life until Richard’s passing on June 2, 2012, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 79 years old. The beloved TV host succumbed to complications of esophageal cancer.

His son Gary Dawson from his first marriage announced the news via Facebook. Besides, Gary, Richard had one more son, Mark with the late actress Diana Dors.

Their Daughter Shannon Has Dedicated Her Life to Education and Awareness

The daughter of Richard and Gretchen has made significant strides both academically and professionally. She attended a private school in Los Angeles before studying International Relations and Affairs at Vanderbilt University, graduating in 2012.

She furthered her education with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from UCLA the same year.

Shannon began her career with an internship at CBS Television in 2010, arranging Emmy TV Legends interviews and managing schedules. The following summer, she interned at CBS Television Studios, working on Hogan’s Heroes and CSI Miami.

Gretchen with her daughter, Shannon Nicole Dawson
Gretchen with her daughter, Shannon Nicole Dawson

In 2014, Shannon joined Channel 7 News, covering breaking news and providing updates for their Yahoo webpage. Her on-screen credits include The Strip (2003) and Cruel and Usual (2008).

Following her father’s death from esophageal cancer, Shannon founded The Richard Dawson Esophageal Cancer Research Fund to raise awareness and funds for research. She organizes fundraisers and attends awareness conferences worldwide.

Shannon keeps her personal life private, including the identities of her two children and their father.

Gretchen Johnson’s Current Whereabouts

Since the passing of her husband, Richard, in 2012, Johnson has maintained a low profile. While specific details about her current activities and residence are not publicly known, it is believed that she resides in the Beverly Hills.

Her daughter, Shannon Dawson, lives in the LA metropolitan area, suggesting that Gretchen might be living nearby to stay close to her family. At the time of his death, Richard Dawson’s estate was valued at $100,000, providing some financial stability for Gretchen.


About Author: Atticus

Atticus boasts more than seven years of expertise as a writer specializing in the entertainment sector. He possesses a profound knowledge of film, music, and television, crafting compelling stories that engage a wide-ranging audience. His writing is both accessible and enlightening, simplifying intricate subjects for readers from various walks of life.