Ray Combs was born on April 3, 1956 in Hamilton, Ohio, USA as Raymond Neil Combs Jr. He also was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as best game show host in 1993. In 1979, Combs sent a letter to David Letterman, asking for advice; Letterman encouraged him to continue in comedy. Combs began his professional career as a stand-up Comedian in the 1980s. He is known for his work on Overboard (1987), Family Feud (1988) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995). He hung himself with a bed sheet at Glendale Adventist Medical Center while under suicide watch. Lee Hay will air a one-hour tribute to Bonnie Lou at 11 p.m. Saturday in place of the weekly “Blues” show. Not only did David Letterman love Cincinnati’s “Paul Dixon Show,” he was a huge fan of Dixon’s sidekicks Colleen Sharp Murray and Bonnie Lou. That took a toll on his health, career, marriage and finances. American male actors who committed suicide, American Mormon missionaries in the United States, Television personalities who committed suicide, Burials at Greenwood Cemetery (Hamilton, Ohio). He declined a nomination to the United States Military Academy to serve as a Mormon missionary for two years in Arizona. The couple reconciled, but later refiled for divorce. 14 years after his death, his father, Raymond Neil Combs, Sr., passed away on February 1, 2010, who lived to be 76. In July 1994, he suffered temporary paralysis of his arms and legs in an auto accident on the Los Angeles Freeway. "Family Feud" told him before the TV season ended that original host Richard Dawson would replace him that fall. He was only 40 when he committed suicide. In September 1995, Combs and Debbie, his wife of 18 years (with whom he had six children), separated. He was just 40 years old. He was involuntarily admitted to the psychiatric ward of the Glendale Adventist Medical Center by the police, and placed on a 72-hour mental observation hold. Combs began performing comedy at Cincinnati's Red Dog Saloon, where he developed his best-known shtick of audience sing-alongs of sitcom theme songs. He hung himself with a bed sheet at Glendale Adventist Medical Center while under suicide watch. He is known for his work on Overboard (1987), Family Feud (1988) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995). Ray's cause of death was suicide by hanging. He continued to have problems moving his fingers and hands -- not a good thing for a game show host who needed to hold a microphone and note cards. CBS canceled the daytime version in early 1993, with the final new episode airing March 26 (reruns aired through September 10), as many CBS affiliates had dropped the show entirely by that time. At the height of his career, he earned close to $1 million per year, but reportedly had trouble managing his money. Within a year of his "Tonight" show debut, Combs was signed by CBS to host a revival of "Family Feud." Combs was born in Hamilton, Ohio on April 3, 1956. By all accounts, Combs was hurt by his dismissal from the show. His marriage was ending to Debbie, his Hamilton childhood sweetheart. Ray Combs was born on April 3, 1956 in Hamilton, Ohio, USA as Raymond Neil Combs Jr. The program premiered on July 4, 1988 on CBS's daytime lineup, and a syndicated version was launched two months later, on September 19. I can't complain. In 1987, he appeared as a Celebrity panelist on the John Davidson version of Hollywood Squares and had a small role in the comedy film Overboard starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. According to Feud announcer Gene Wood, Combs also toured extensively around the United States to promote the show and made guest appearances on Card Sharks and The Price Is Right to discuss the new version of Family Feud. In the early hours of the next morning, Combs hanged himself in the closet of his room. "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. He died on June 2, 1996 in Glendale, California, USA. Glendale police said Combs had tried to kill himself repeatedly the previous week by "by banging his head against the walls" around his house. I like to recall Combs phoning from LA after his "Tonight" show debut to talk about watching Carson's show growing up in Hamilton. He graduated in 1974 from Garfield High School, where he was an actor, senior class President, and Boys State delegate. Ray Combs, the 40-year-old former host of TV’s “The New Family Feud” game show, committed suicide, dying Sunday at Glendale Adventist Hospital a day … I can hear his excitement talking about the "Family Feud" revival days before the 1988 premiere, which paid him a reported $800,000 a year: "I've prepared my whole life for what is going to happen. The show aired on CBS and was in syndication until 1994. In 1982, convinced that he was better than others he saw appear on The Tonight Show, Combs left his job as an Indianapolis furniture salesman and moved with his family to Los Angeles. He became so popular, that other sitcoms changed their production schedules just so they could have him warm up their audiences. Combs knew something about filling time. In July 1994, Combs injured one of his spinal discs in a car accident, which left him in severe and continuous pain. Ray Combs was born on April 03, 1956 in Hamilton, Ohio, United States, is Actor, Miscellaneous Crew, Writer. Going through my Letterman files recently, I found a note Dave sent me in 1998 referencing Bonnie Lou, the vocalist from WLWT-TV’s “Dixon” and “Midwestern Hayride” who died earlier this month at age 91. He did well in a competition with more than 200 other young comedians, and began doing audience warm-ups for sitcoms such as The Golden Girls and Amen. On the "Tonight" show, he started singing the "Gilligan's Island" theme, and within seconds everyone joined in. After Combs’ death, his wife discovered just how much financial trouble he had been in. The 1974 Hamilton Garfield High School grad started dabbling in comedy in 1978, after serving two years as a Mormon missionary in Arizona and selling furniture in Indianapolis. Combs, 40, hanged himself at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, an unidentified friend told Los Angeles radio station KFWB. Same thing happened. Johnny Carson heard the audience's laughter and then invited Combs to perform on The Tonight Show in October 1986; the audience gave him a standing ovation. ", Then he began singing "The Addams Family" TV theme: "They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky…". Six years (1988-94) making high six figures on CBS' daytime lineup gave him money to open two comedy clubs in Cincinnati, CaddyCombs on Second Street and the Cincinnati Comedy Connection in Carew Tower, and provide for his wife and their six kids. I choose to remember the last time we spoke, during his "Family Challenge" comeback in 1995 – 15 months after his freeway collision, and seven months before he died: "To fight my way back, and come back to do this show – I don't call it a miracle, but I do see things differently. At the end of his routine, they gave him a standing ovation. Ray Combs Death. Combs had reportedly destroyed most of the inside of his home, and had also been banging his head against the walls. From 1995 to 1996, Combs hosted another game show, Family Challenge. It never fails," he told me. He was married to Debra Jo Loomis. Carson asked him to come back a few weeks later. He defaulted on his two Hamilton homes, which were sold at a Butler County Sheriff's auction. He had first performed the routine four years earlier, at Sharonville's old Red Dog Saloon. His five-bedroom home in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale was facing a $467,675 foreclosure, Debbie said. Ray Combs is a member of Actor. I've been very blessed.". "For a long time, I was embarrassed to tell other comedians that I could fill time by doing it. Combs' last show was "Family Challenge" in 1995. I'd stay up late watching Johnny Carson, dreaming that I'd be on his show," he told me. In the 1980s, he was a popular "warm-up comedian" who entertained Hollywood studio audiences at sitcom tapings. It wasn't easy. He arrived at the hospital Saturday afternoon with a head injury. Every day, I feel a little bit better. In 1985, he appeared on an episode of The Facts of Life as a background character. Midway through the 1992–93 season, ratings for the show began to plummet. But I choose to remember Ray for all the fun and laughs he gave us in his 40 years -- not how he died. Combs was deeply in debt at the time of his death; only after his suicide did his widow Debbie learn of his desperate financial difficulties. Combs was survived by his parents, Ray, Sr. and Anita Jean Combs; his wife; and their six children. GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) _ Ray Combs, a comedian who followed Richard Dawson as host of the game show ``Family Feud,″ committed suicide hours after he was taken to a hospital, police said. Combs was taken into protective custody and committed to the Glendale Adventist Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. It's great to have the money to do whatever you want to do with your family for just being yourself and having fun.". In October 1993, a Family Feud video game featuring Combs's likeness was released for the Super NES. "I couldn't go to bed at night. On June 1, 1996, police were called to Combs's home at 1318 Sonora Avenue in Glendale, California over reports of a disturbance. After steroid injections to relieve pressure on his swollen spinal column, he eventually got back on his feet and started working in 1995 on a new show, "Family Challenge." A port of the same game would later be released for Sega Genesis in July 1994. June 2, 1996(1996-06-02) (aged 40)\nGlendale, California, U.S. In 1988, game show producers Mark Goodson and Howard Felsher gave Combs a seven-year contract to host a new version of Family Feud. See video of his warm-ups and Carson appearance here on a Wink Martindale YouTube feature. He was married to Debra Jo Loomis. Ray passed away on June 2, 1996 at the age of 43 in Glendale, California, USA.