Robin Leach, the entertainment journalist and host whose syndicated TV series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous hit smack-dab in the zeitgeist of the “greed is good” era during its heyday in the 1980s and early ’90s, has died. He was 76.
Leach most recently had been working as a columnist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper relayed the news this morning that Leach passed away overnight in Las Vegas. He had been hospitalized since November 21 after suffering a stroke. He had a second stroke Monday and had been in hospice care.
“Despite the past 10 months, what a beautiful life he had,” Leach’s family said on Twitter this morning. “Our Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and friend Robin Leach passed away peacefully last night at 1:50 a.m. Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful. Memorial arrangements to follow. With love, Steven, Gregg and Rick Leach.”
Steven Leach is his son. Gregg and Rick are his brothers.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous ran in syndication from 1984-1995, showcasing the glitz and glamour of celebrities and moguls and always from exotic and luxurious locales. And it always ended with Leach’s famed tagline, toasting viewers with “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
The show, distributed by CBS TV Distribution, was also on the leading edge of celebrity worship, a precursor to today’s full-throttle brand of celeb journalism. It featured leading actors, musicians and tycoons — one season’s intro included pre-POTUS Donald Trump walking down an opulent hallway with Michael Jackson as the voice-over welcomed the audience to “television’s unchallenged authority on wealth, prestige and success.” It earned an Emmy nomination in 1984.
The show, and Leach’s hosting style, were endlessly parodied (Dana Carvey on SNL among the best), and several spinoffs came from it, including the short-lived Runaway With The Rich and Famous.
Leach, born in London in 1941, was a Daily Mail reporter by age 18. He moved to the U.S. in 1963 where he wrote for the likes of the New York Daily News and helped launch People writing that magazine’s first several cover stories. He later launched Go Magazine and was show business editor of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Star.
On the TV side, he became CNN’s first showbiz reporter and shot the Entertainment Tonight pilot and was that show’s global roving senior correspondent for a time before taking on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. He also was part of the development of the Food Network. He moved to Las Vegas in 1999.
In 2005, Leach launched Luxe Life for AOL before the brand was consolidated with his Vegas DeLuxe website. He joined the Review-Journal staff in June 2016.