Carson asked him to come back a few weeks later. 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. 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. Ray's cause of death was suicide by hanging. 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. 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. Tragically, it was a suicide. In September 1995, Combs and Debbie, his wife of 18 years (with whom he had six children), separated. 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.

Combs portrayed himself in episodes of In Living Color and 227 in Family Feud sketches and made an appearance on the TNN television series The Statler Brothers Show, where he did a stand-up comedy routine. 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. He hung himself with a bed sheet at Glendale Adventist Medical Center while under suicide watch. I've been very blessed.". "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 did warm-ups for "The Golden Girls" (earning a brief guest shot on the hit show), and Sherman Hemsley's "Amen" (produced by Carson's company). The couple reconciled, but later refiled for divorce. In the 1980s, he was a popular "warm-up comedian" who entertained Hollywood studio audiences at sitcom tapings. It's great to have the money to do whatever you want to do with your family for just being yourself and having fun.". June 2, 1996(1996-06-02) (aged 40)\nGlendale, California, U.S. At the end of his routine, they gave him a standing ovation. Jonathan Goodson, who had become chairman of Mark Goodson Productions after the death of his father, Mark Goodson, made the decision a year earlier to replace Combs with original host Richard Dawson in the hopes of spiking ratings. He also was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as best game show host in 1993. His popularity on the stand-up circuit led to him being signed as the host of the revival of the game show Family Feud. 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." Midway through the 1992–93 season, ratings for the show began to plummet. His five-bedroom home in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale was facing a $467,675 foreclosure, Debbie said. The program premiered on July 4, 1988 on CBS's daytime lineup, and a syndicated version was launched two months later, on September 19. In 1985, he appeared on an episode of The Facts of Life as a background character.

The show aired on CBS and was in syndication until 1994. Ray Combs was a famed American comedian and actor who became the host of Family Feud on CBS from 1988 to 1994. Ray Combs was born on April 3, 1956 in Hamilton, Ohio, USA as Raymond Neil Combs Jr.

In 1979, Combs sent a letter to David Letterman, asking for advice; Letterman encouraged him to continue in comedy. Within a year of his "Tonight" show debut, Combs was signed by CBS to host a revival of "Family Feud." It got worse in 1996. He was just 40 years old. 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. After Combs’ death, his wife discovered just how much financial trouble he had been in. Ray Combs was born on April 3, 1956 in Hamilton, Ohio, USA as Raymond Neil Combs Jr. Every day, I feel a little bit better. 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. Shortly after police arrived, Combs's estranged wife Debbie arrived and informed them that Combs was suicidal, and had spent the previous week in the hospital for a suicide attempt. ", Then he began singing "The Addams Family" TV theme: "They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky…". 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 also went through financial problems after two of his comedy clubs failed, and his home in Hamilton, Ohio, went into foreclosure. On the "Tonight" show, he started singing the "Gilligan's Island" theme, and within seconds everyone joined in. 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 … 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. The syndicated version was also under the threat of cancellation (as many stations had also dropped that or moved it into overnight time slots). That took a toll on his health, career, marriage and finances. He became so popular, that other sitcoms changed their production schedules just so they could have him warm up their audiences.

Glendale police said Combs had tried to kill himself repeatedly the previous week by "by banging his head against the walls" around his house. He had first performed the routine four years earlier, at Sharonville's old Red Dog Saloon. Early the next morning, he hanged himself in a closet via a noose made out of sheets. "Family Feud" told him before the TV season ended that original host Richard Dawson would replace him that fall.

14 years after his death, his father, Raymond Neil Combs, Sr., passed away on February 1, 2010, who lived to be 76. Ray passed away on June 2, 1996 at the age of 43 in Glendale, California, USA. 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. He died on June 2, 1996 in Glendale, California, USA. He declined a nomination to the United States Military Academy to serve as a Mormon missionary for two years in Arizona. On June 1, 1996, police were called to Combs's home at 1318 Sonora Avenue in Glendale, California over reports of a disturbance. 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. American male actors who committed suicide, American Mormon missionaries in the United States, Television personalities who committed suicide, Burials at Greenwood Cemetery (Hamilton, Ohio). 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. He defaulted on his two Hamilton homes, which were sold at a Butler County Sheriff's auction. Combs was survived by his parents, Ray, Sr. and Anita Jean Combs; his wife; and their six children. Around this time he also guest starred on an episode of The Golden Girls. Former "Family Feud" host Ray Combs – arguably the funniest person  to come from Hamilton -- died on this day 20 years ago. It's my dream and I'm living it…It's amazing you can make this kind of money without throwing a football or risking breaking a leg. It never fails," he told me. He was married to Debra Jo Loomis. He is known for his work on Overboard (1987), Family Feud (1988) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995).

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. Lee Hay will air a one-hour tribute to Bonnie Lou at 11 p.m. Saturday in place of the weekly “Blues” show. See video of his warm-ups and Carson appearance here on a Wink Martindale YouTube feature. But I choose to remember Ray for all the fun and laughs he gave us in his 40 years -- not how he died. 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. In the early hours of the next morning, Combs hanged himself in the closet of his room. Combs knew something about filling time. He hung himself with a bed sheet at Glendale Adventist Medical Center while under suicide watch. In July 1994, Combs injured one of his spinal discs in a car accident, which left him in severe and continuous pain. From 1995 to 1996, Combs hosted another game show, Family Challenge. Combs struck comedy gold on his "Tonight Show" debut on Oct. 23, 1986, when Johnny Carson's TV audience sang TV theme songs with him. Combs, 40, hanged himself at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, an unidentified friend told Los Angeles radio station KFWB. 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. It wasn't easy. I'd stay up late watching Johnny Carson, dreaming that I'd be on his show," he told me. In October 1993, a Family Feud video game featuring Combs's likeness was released for the Super NES.

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.

Ray Combs was born on April 03, 1956 in  Hamilton, Ohio, United States, is Actor, Miscellaneous Crew, Writer. He was married to Debra Jo Loomis.

Combs' last show was "Family Challenge" in 1995. 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. By all accounts, Combs was hurt by his dismissal from the show. He began having intense pain that impacted his daily life. He arrived at the hospital Saturday afternoon with a head injury. "I couldn't go to bed at night. "For a long time, I was embarrassed to tell other comedians that I could fill time by doing it. His decline began in July of 1994 when he was involved in a car accident that left him with a spinal disc injury. He was only 40 when he committed suicide. In 1988, game show producers Mark Goodson and Howard Felsher gave Combs a seven-year contract to host a new version of Family Feud. Combs was born in Hamilton, Ohio on April 3, 1956. He died on June 2, 1996 in Glendale, California, USA.

Same thing happened. His marriage was ending to Debbie, his Hamilton childhood sweetheart. Combs was taken into protective custody and committed to the Glendale Adventist Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. He was only 40 when he committed suicide.

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