Jim Lange remembered for 'The Dating Game,' other TV game shows
A radio disc jockey, Jim Lange made his name nationally when he hosted ABC-TV's 'The Dating Game,' beginning in 1965.
He died Tuesday morning, his wife Nancy told The Associated Press Wednesday.
Though Lange had a successful career in radio, he is best known for his television role on ABC's "The Dating Game," which debuted in 1965 and on which he appeared for more than a decade, charming audiences with his mellifluous voice and wide, easygoing grin.
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 show's 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 of his potential dates on a 1972 episode of the show.
"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.
"They wanted a boy and a girl," he said in a 1992 interview with the Bay Area Radio Digest. "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."
His big break on network TV came in 1962 when he was made an announcer and sidekick on "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show."
Later, after "The Dating Game" brought him national recognition, 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 Bay Area, and upon his retirement from broadcasting in 2005, he was the morning DJ for KABL-FM, which specializes in playing classics from the Big Band era to the 1970s.
"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."
Lange himself once told the Bay Area Radio Digest that his favorite aspect of the medium was that "you don't have to worry about lighting directors and cameramen or script writers and all that."
"Good radio is still the most fun," he said, "It always will be. Plus, you don't have to wear makeup and you don't have to shave."
Lange is survived by a sister, five children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.