Hugh Downs, anchor of ’20/20′ and ‘Today,’ dead at 99

Hugh Downs, anchor of '20/20' and 'Today,' dead at 99

Neighborhood outlet AZFamily was very first to report the information of Downs’ passing, citing a assertion from his wonderful-niece, Molly Shaheen.

Downs — who retired in 1999 — was essentially there for the extremely start of business television, serving as the announcer for the kid’s exhibit “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” and comedy legend Sid Caesar’s “Caesar’s Hour” in the 1950s.

In 1957, when Paar succeeded Steve Allen as host of “The Tonight Exhibit,” Downs turned the announcer. The upcoming 12 months, Downs launched his operate as the unique host of the game demonstrate “Concentration.”

When Paar remaining “The Tonight Clearly show” in 1962, Downs — who experienced usually substituted for Paar — believed he could possibly be questioned to switch him. In its place, the network employed Johnny Carson and Downs segued to NBC’s “Nowadays,” wherever he used just about a ten years on the early morning software.

At “These days,” Downs famously championed the job of Barbara Walters, advocating that the young writer-producer be provided an option on digital camera. The two later on teamed up on a syndicated system in the mid-1970s, “Not for Females Only,” before they ended up later on reunited on “20/20.”

Downs was not involved with the progress and start of “20/20” in 1978, recalling in an interview with the Tv Academy’s Archives of American Tv that the premiere was “hideously disastrous” and pummeled by critics. Right after the to start with episode, ABC News president Roone Arledge asked Downs to get about as an anchor to resolve the present. Downs stated that he had wanted to do a display like “60 Minutes,” and the possibility “fell out of the sky on me.”

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“’60 Minutes’ developed the environment that allowed us to flourish as a competing newsmagazine,” Downs explained. Walters joined the application the yr just after its debut and turned Downs’ co-host in 1984. Downs — with his baritone voice and calming fashion — remained with the plan until his retirement.

Downs received a pair of Emmy awards, for the method “Are living From Lincoln Centre” and internet hosting the PBS communicate application “About Easy,” which premiered in 1977 and was aimed at older viewers.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Downs began working in radio just after university — a stint interrupted by his support all through Environment War II — just before landing at NBC-owned WMAQ in Chicago, where by he worked in different capacities for quite a few a long time just before shifting to New York.

Guinness Planet Information as soon as recognized Downs for owning appeared in much more hrs of U.S. tv (about 10,000) than everyone else, a record later broken by Regis Philbin.

Downs’ wife, Ruth Shaheen Downs, died in 2017 at the age of 95. The two experienced been married due to the fact 1944.


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