Remembering an Angel:
Game Show Host Ray Combs
by Kevin Caruso
Ray Combs was a tremendously talented stand-up comic and game show host.
He worked in Hollywood in the mid-1980s doing audience warm-ups for
sitcoms, and he always got big laughs from the crowds. Johnny Carson saw him
perform one day and invited him on The Tonight Show.
In 1986, Ray performed a hilarious stand-up routine on The Tonight Show, and the crowd responded with a standing ovation.
Two years later, in 1988, Ray became the host of the Family Feud game show. Ray was an instant hit.
Ray continued to host Family Feud for several years; he was doing great professionally, was married, and had six children. Everything was going spectacularly well.
But in 1994, Ray was fired from the Family Feud game show.
Later that year, Ray was almost killed in a serious car accident, and suffered chronic pain for the rest of his life because of the accident.
His finances soon collapsed and he fell deep into debt.
He and his wife separated.
And Ray became deeply depressed.
He hosted a game show called Family Challenge in 1995, but the show never became popular.
Deep in debt, separated from his wife, in constant pain from his car accident, and suffering from depression, Ray was desperate.
One night in 1996, he called his wife and started crying and screaming hysterically.
His wife called 911, Ray was brought to the hospital, received treatment, and was released.
As his wife was driving him home from the hospital, Ray, who appeared disoriented, jumped out of the car and ran away.
Later that evening, he showed up at his wife's house and began bashing his head against the door of the house.
The police were called and Ray was taken to the psychiatric ward of Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, California.
Ray, now in a state of panic, called his parents from the hospital and told them to come to the hospital immediately. His parents took the next available flight.
But Ray would never see his parents again.
At 4:07 a.m., on June 2, 1996, Ray hanged himself in his hospital room.
We miss you Ray.
I am still infuriated, disgusted, and outraged at the salient incompetence and inexcusable negligence
of the staff who were working at the psyciatric ward at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center when Ray died.
Ray was on a 72 hour suicide watch. So who was watching? I want to know. How could they let
this man die?
Again, he was brought to a psychiatric ward by police. He was assessed as acutely suicidal.
And he was placed on a suicide watch.
His parents were on the way.
Where was the staff? Where?
What were they doing?
Ray hanged himself with a bed sheet.
Why was there anything in the room that he could hang himself with?
He was acutely suicidal and he was on a suicide watch. Did the incompetent staff forget that?
Ray needed treatment for depression. And he needed a better treatment for his physical pain.
He could have received both. Things could have gotten better for him.
He could have turned his life around. He just needed help.
And he was at a place that was supposed to help him;
that was supposed to watch him; that was supposed to protect him.
But that place, a psyciatric ward at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, failed him.
And failed him in the worst way possible.
And there can be no excuses when we lose someone who is on a suicide watch
at a psychiatric ward.
And there are, indeed, no excuses for letting Ray die.
He is missed by many.