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'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' star Robin Leach dies at 76

'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' star Robin Leach dies at 76
Posted at 10:52 PM, Apr 26, 2014
and last updated 2018-08-24 07:48:49-04

(RNN) - Entertainment journalist and TV host Robin Leach died Friday at the age of 76, his family said. 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, where Leach worked as a columnist, relayed a statement from relatives that said he had been hospitalized since November after suffering a stroke. 

"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.," the family said.

Leach became a popular figure in households around the globe through the 1980s TV program "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

The show, which he produced and narrated, followed the opulent lives of select celebrities and featured the most extravagant details of their homes, vehicles and recreational habits. The phrase "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" became the show's calling card and something that countless people would repeat and parody.

Despite the success of "Lifestyles" and his permanent link to the show, to characterize Leach simply as someone who enjoyed riding the coattails of the affluent is both unfair and inaccurate.

Robin Douglas Leach was born Aug. 29, 1941 in London. His aspirations to pursue a career in media began early, and he never strayed away from that pursuit.

He was a journalist practically his entire life, and one of the most dedicated ones of his generation.

Leach, a huge fan of food, was instrumental in the creation of the Food Network. He was also part of the team that started the syndicated TV program "Entertainment Tonight," which chronicles the lives of celebrities.

He has reported for CNN and People magazine. After he first came to the U.S. in the early 1960s, he reported for the New York Daily News and Ladies Home Journal.

His effect on the entertainment world has been widespread - a resume that includes everything from mentions and appearances in music videos to working with NASCAR.

He has a long list of cameos in major movies and TV shows, including "She-Devil," "Troop Beverly Hills," "Reading Rainbow," "Family Guy" and "Celebrity Wife Swap."

Leach was still very active in his 70s, working as a reporter and unofficial promoter of Las Vegas. He was also a prolific blogger and had active Twitter and YouTube accounts that closely followed the Las Vegas entertainment scene.

Leach had been romantically tied to longtime girlfriend Joan Severance, an actress and former Playboy model. He was previously married and had three sons.

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