Famed TV host Robin Leach has died in Las Vegas. He was 76.
The journalist, who rose to fame in the ’80s as host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” died Thursday night after suffering a stroke late last year, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where Leach worked as a celebrity columnist.
“Despite the past 10 months, what a beautiful life he had. Our Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and friend Robin Leach passed away peacefully last night at 1:50 a.m,” his family said in a statement released via friend John Katsilometes’ Twitter account.
“Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful. Memorial arrangements to follow. With love, Steven, Gregg and Rick Leach,” the statement continued.
Born in London in 1941, Leach started working as a journalist when he was still a teen, including a stint at the Daily Mail.
He moved to the US in 1963 and would go on to write for the New York Daily News, Ladies’ Home Journal and People, where he would write the magazine’s first 11 cover stories.
Leach transitioned from the page to the screen at the start of the 1980s, appearing on CNN’s “People Tonight” and helping to launch the syndicated program “Entertainment Tonight.”
In 1984, he teamed up with producer Al Masini on the show he’d become best known for, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” The wildly popular syndicated series ran from 1984 to 1995 and took viewers inside the lavish homes and vacation spots of well-known international celebrities, helping to pave the way for what would become reality television. He’d sign off each episode with his signature catchphrase, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
He went on to host VH1’s “The Surreal Life: Fame Game” in 2007.
Leach moved to Las Vegas in 1999, where he’d spend the next two decades chronicling the city’s celebrity and dining scenes, first for the Las Vegas Sun and then the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
According to friend Katsiolometes, Leach, who would have turned 77 next week, had been hospitalized since November when he suffered a stroke while in Cabo San Lucas.
Leach leaves behind three sons, Steven, Greg and Rick.