- A Tribute To Ray Combs -

Ray Combs was a familiar face with almost anyone who watched
the original Family Challenge.  This is probably
because he was the host of The New Family Feud from 1988-1994.


Combs made his stand-up comedy debut at a Holiday Inn in Indianapolis, where
David Letterman got his first break. Combs' greatest dream was to
be on the Tonight Show Johnny Carson.  "That's why I went to California," Combs
said. "I would go to bed, and I would dream I was on Johnny Carson."

After Richard Dawson left Family Feud, it was up to Combs to fill his shoes.  In a
1988 interview, Combs said "People say those are big shoes to fill,"
Combs said. "I don't have to wear his shoes.  I've got my own."

Combs had to turn the game show back over to Dawson in 1994, which
led to several professional and personal setbacks.  He was
seriously injured in a July 1994 car accident on a highway north of Los
Angeles, leaving him temporarily paralyzed. He moved his family to
Los Angeles in November 1994.

Combs operated two comedy clubs in Cincinnati but had closed them both to
concentrate on television.  In 1995, he was selected to host a brand new
show to air on the Family Channel, called Family Challenge, around the time that
Masters of the Maze and other game shows were leaving the network.


Combs hosted the show for two seasons, but those personal setbacks
returned when he was apparently anguised over
his pending divorce.  After numerous suicide attempts, including banging
his head on walls, Combs was taken to Glendale Adventist
Medical Center with head injuries, and was admitted for mental
observation.  About 14 hours later, hospital staff found he had hanged
himself in a closet using bed sheets.  He left no note.

Ray Combs may have left behind his career, family, and his following,
but in my mind he was one of the best game
show hosts there has ever been, and he will be missed by all.

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This site is dedicated to the memory of Ray Combs.
May you rest in peace.
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