Gretchen Johnson Is Dead Now – All About Richard Dawson 2nd Wife

By Cannon | Published on: March 8, 2024 | Updated on: March 8, 2024
Facts checked by editors at A-List Arena
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Gretchen Johnson was the wife of the late actor and game show icon Richard Dawson. The former couple first met when Gretchen appeared on Dawson’s spin-off game show, Family Feud with her parents and sisters. It took almost a decade for the duo to take their relationship to the next step.

While her late husband Richard was one of the prominent faces in the media, Johnson always preferred to stay low-key. Especially, her whereabouts since her former husband’s death in 2012 became much harder to locate, leading some individuals to speculate whether or not Gretchen is still alive or dead.

Key Takeaways:

  • Johnson met her late hubby Dawson during her appearance on Family Feud. 
  • The former couple had a daughter named Shannon Dawson, a Vanderbilt University graduate.
  • As of 2023, Richard’s 2nd wife Johnson is also dead. 
  • Gretchen appeared in four episodes of Family Feud. 

Is Still Alive?

No, Richard Dawson’s second wife Gretchen isn’t alive today. As per Richard’s memorial published in Find a Grave, it mentioned his spouse Johnson as “now deceased.” Thus, it is quite clear that Johnson is more alive in this world.

Gretchen Johnson
Gretchen, the 2nd spouse of Richard is no more alive.

However, the details about when and how did the late celebrity partner die are yet to reveal.

Met Richard in Family Feud

As for their first meeting, Johnson met her then-future-husband Richard in May 1981 during her appearance on the family game show Family Feud. She was about 26 years old while the game show host Richard was 49 years at the time of their first meeting.

Two years before his death in 2010, Dawson in an interview with Paul Brownstein talked about his first encounter with Johnson and how did their love story take off. When Richard saw the beautiful young girl for the first time in the show, the veteran TV host knew there is something between himself and Johnson.

Gretchen Family Feud appearance
Gretchen on Family Feud.

At the end of the show, Richard found out that the beautiful girl lived 2hrs South of L.A. in Escondido. At first, the comedian asked for a telephone number but didn’t get an answer to his calls from Gretchen for a couple of days. It was because Johnson had removed her wisdom tooth.

Their Dinner Date at Dawson’s House

Soon after their telephone calls, the Family Feud host invited her to a dinner party at his own house, where Dawson himself was a chef and cooked a few special items including Beef, Wellington, Asparagus, and more.

Although Johnson said it was a nice dinner party at the time, Richard later came to know that his partner disliked almost every food starting with ‘A,’ including the asparagus.

and Her Husband Richard Married In 1991

Yes, the former lovebirds exchanged their vows in 1991, in a low-key wedding ceremony. Gretchen and Dawson dated for about a decade before they decided to take their relationship to the next level.

At the time, Richard was in his late 50s while his 2nd wife was in her mid-30s. Despite their massive age gap, the two led a happy conjugal life until Dawson’s death in 2012.

They Were Married Until Richard’s Death in 2012

As mentioned above, Gretchen and Dawson were in a relationship for over three decades and were married for over two decades until the TV host’s death in the year 2012. He died on 2nd June of the year at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, in Los Angeles. He was 79 at the time of his demise.

Further, sources reported the late actor died from complications of esophageal cancer. It was his son Gary Dawson from his first marriage who announced the sad news via his Facebook and wrote,

“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to esophageal cancer.”

He further wrote about his late dad,

“He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad, and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered.”

Gretchen Had a Daughter With Her Late Hubby

Gretchen, Richard’s second wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Shannon Nicole Dawson even a year before their marriage on 13th August 1990. But, the comedian only announced the news and showed a picture of his baby girl for the first time during the first episode of the 2nd run of Feud in 1994.

Their only daughter Shannon who was born and raised in Beverly Hills, California graduated from Vanderbilt University, followed by the University of California, Los Angeles.

She later did her internship at CBS Television and also worked for Channel 7 News for a half-year.

As of now, Gretchen’s only daughter Shannon is the founder of The Richard Dawson Esophageal Cancer Research Fund.

Richard Dawson’s First Wife Was Diana Dors

Before Johnson, Richard was married to his first wife named Diana Dors, the first wife of Dennis Hamilton. The late duo who married in 1959 had also two sons, Mark Dawson, born on 4th Feb 1960, and Gary, born in June 1962.

However, Richard and his first wife Dors divorced in April 1967, eight years after their marriage.

Family Feud Appearances With Her Parents and Sisters

In May 1981, Johnson appeared in the TV game show Family Feud. She shared the screen with her parents Bob Johnson and June Johnson as well as her siblings named Wendy Johnson and Heidi Johnson.

Richard and his spouse Johnson on the show
Johnson with her future husband on Family Feud.

The Johnson family appeared in a total of four episodes of the show, where Dawson (nicknamed The Kissing Bandit) was popular for kissing female contestants. In the first episode of Family Feud with Richard Dawson, aired on 14th May 1981, the Buttice family returned with over $10k in their account.

A day after, the Johnsons appeared against the McGhee family on the show. Furthermore, on 18th May, Gretchen along with family members won $6858 in the show.

Net Worth

Johnson had a net worth of $300k at the time of her demise. On the other hand, her late spouse Dawson had a fortune of $1 million at the time of his passing.


How old is Gretchen Johnson now?

If Johnson, born on September 22, 1955, was still alive, the late celebrity spouse would have been 67.