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" Final Resting Place of Ray Combs"
3rd April 1956 - 2nd June 1996
TV game show host. committed suicide by hanging himself in Glendale Medical Center, Los Angeles.
Greenwood Cemetery, Hamilton, Ohio.
Raymond Neil Combs, Jr. was an American television game show host and stand-up comedian, best known as the second host of Family Feud.
Born in Hamilton, Ohio, Combs ascended into the world of comedy after moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and doing audience warm ups for sitcoms. Johnny Carson noticed this and invited him to perform on The Tonight Show in 1986; the audience gave him a standing ovation his first time on stage, the first time in the show's history a comedian was given such an honor on his or her first appearance. He was soon given warm-up duties for the audience of the sitcom Amen.
In 1988, Mark Goodson and Executive Producer Howard Felsher selected Combs to host a new version of Family Feud, which was to air concurrently on CBS that began in July 1988 and in syndication that began in September 1988.
Audiences initially accepted Combs' performance on Family Feud despite the inevitable comparisons to longtime host Richard Dawson. By 1993, however, the show's ratings were declining. CBS canceled the daytime version that year, and the syndicated version was also in danger of cancellation. Jonathan Goodson, who became chairman of Mark Goodson Productions after his father's death a year earlier, then made the decision to replace Combs with Richard Dawson. Combs walked out of the CBS studios before the end of his last episode in 1994, when the winning family got only 77 points in Fast Money.
Combs also made a couple of appearances for the World Wrestling Federation, appearing as a guest ring announcer at WrestleMania VIII where he amused the capacity crowd at Indianapolis' Hoosier Dome by lashing into the team of the Nasty Boys, The Mountie and Repo Man with various scathing insults before being ultimately chased out of the ring. He later served as a guest commentator alongside Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan at Survivor Series 1993. These two appearances were also met with various WWF celebrity editions of Family Feud.
Combs' dismissal from Feud was one of many events that ultimately led to his suicide in 1996. An automobile accident in 1994 nearly paralyzed him, while Combs went through financial problems after Caddy Combs, a comedy club he owned in Cincinnati, Ohio, went out of business after a dispute with his partner. He had also separated from his wife, Debbie, with whom he had six children. Several attempts to make it back into television—most notably as the host of the cable TV game show Family Challenge in 1995—all failed.
Distraught and despondent, Combs was admitted to the psychiatric ward of the Glendale (Calif.) Adventist Medical Center. There he used bed sheets to hang himself in a closet on June 2, 1996. Though having once made $6 million a year as the host of Family Feud, Combs died penniless. His family relied upon a $25,000 donation from Johnny Carson to pay for Combs' funeral expenses