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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Jim Lange, the first host of the popular game show "The Dating Game," has died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 81.

He died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Though he had a successful career in radio - which was his first love - Lange is best known for his role on "The Dating Game," which debuted in the mid-1960s and on which he appeared for more than a decade.

He played host to many celebrity guests including Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The show's format: a young man or woman questions three members of the opposite sex, hidden from her view, to determine which one would be the best date.

Lange is survived by a sister, five children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.