Veteran TV Host Hugh Downs Dead at 99
For the second time this week, we've lost a legend in the TV world. Veteran broadcaster and TV host Hugh Downs has died from natural causes at the age of 99. His great-neice Molly Shaheen confirmed the news that Downs died at his Scottsdale, Arizona, home on Wednesday (July 1).
Downs had been a Guinness Book of World Records holder, claiming the title of spending the most hours on television until he was surpassed in 2004 by Regis Philbin.
Downs' early career started as a radio announcer in Ohio before he moved on to Chicago in the 1950s. There he was an announcer for Kukla, Fran and Ollie and also lent his voice to TV's first soap opera, Hawkins Falls.
He enjoyed a varied history at NBC, where he appeared on both The Today Show and The Tonight Show, serving alongside host Jack Parr. He also hosted the game show Concentration.
In his latter years, Downs was best known as the co-host of ABC's 20/20 with Barbara Walters. His other credits include the PBS series Over Easy, and he hosted Live From Lincoln Center.
“I’ve worked on so many different shows and done so many shows at the same time,” Downs said in a 1986 Associated Press interview. “I once said I’d done everything on radio and television except play-by-play sports. Then I remembered I’d covered a boxing match in Lima, Ohio, in 1939.”
Best TV of the Decade