Howard Felsher, the Emmy-award winning executive producer of the Richard Dawson-era Family Feud who bounced back after getting caught up in the game show fixing scandal of the 1950s, died July 23 at home in Tarzana, California. He was 90.
His death was announced by his family an obituary in the Los Angeles Times.
Though his professional relationship with Dawson was sometimes contentious – including the occasional on-air dust-up when Dawson disagreed with Felsher’s game calls – the two were largely responsible for the remarkable success of the game show during the late 1970s and well into the ’80s. During one episode, Dawson called Felsher on stage and challenged him to host the proceedings (see an image grab above).
Feud was repeatedly Emmy-nominated during the time, winning the Best Game Show trophy in 1977.
Felsher’s history with game shows reached back to the genre’s days of glory and downfall of the 1950s, when the game fixing caught the nation’s attention and became a subject of congressional hearings. As the producer of Tic-Tac-Dough, Felsher testified before the subcommittee that he had provided questions and answers to contestants prior to game time. He was fired by NBC in 1959.
Felsher, a New Jersey native, returned to game shows intermittently in the 1960s but found his greatest success beginning in the ’70s, with Family Feud, Password Plus, and All-Star Family Feud.
He retired from Mark Goodson Productions in 1995.
Felsher is survived by his second wife Nancy, whom he met when she auditioned for Family Feud, and son Andrew from his first marriage.