NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Downs, the genial, versatile broadcaster who became regarded as one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, sport and talk reveals, has died at age 99.
Downs died of natural causes at his dwelling in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, acknowledged his gigantic-niece, Molly Shaheen.
“The Guinness Guide of World Records” identified Downs as having logged more hours in entrance of the camera than any television persona till Regis Philbin handed him in 2004.
He worked on NBC’s “Currently” and “Tonight” reveals, the game indicate “Focus,” co-hosted the ABC magazine indicate “20/20” with Barbara Walters and the PBS assortment “Over Simple” and “Dwell From Lincoln Center.”
His signature signal-off on the stop of “20/20” knowledgeable viewers: “We’re in contact, so that you be in contact.”
“I’ve worked on so many varied reveals and accomplished so many reveals on the same time,” Downs acknowledged in a 1986 Linked Press interview. “I as soon as acknowledged I’d accomplished all the pieces on radio and television excluding play-by-play sports actions. Then I remembered I’d covered a boxing match in Lima, Ohio, in 1939.”
Downs started his broadcasting profession on the age of 18 as a $12-a-week announcer on a miniature Ohio radio keep of residing. When television came along, he at the starting up looked on it as a gimmick, nonetheless like a flash realized “it was potentially a juggernaut, and I’d larger be in on it.”
He was an announcer in Chicago, which was a television incubator within the 1950, for “Kukla, Fran & Ollie” and “Hawkins Falls,” which he acknowledged was television’s first cleaning soap opera. In 1954, he went to Original York for “The Dwelling Level to.”
In 1961, Newsweek described him as “a gluttonous reader with a first-rate brain that he keeps curried and exercised like a prize poodle.”
His recognition was such that he even received the actual to approve any commercial he was assigned to be taught, striving to preserve uncertain claims off the air.
“My loyalty was with the person tuning in,” he acknowledged. “It was expedient. If I misplaced my credibility, what spend would I be to a shopper?”
He confirmed his principled facet as soon as more in 1997, when he took a shuttle day on “20/20″ barely than be part on a indicate that integrated an interview with Marv Albert after the sportscaster was caught in a lurid sexual assault scandal.
On Twitter Thursday, CBS Info political correspondent Ed O’Keefe renowned: “He retired from ‘20/20’ in 1999 and died at age 99 within the year 2020. Sweet symmetry. Leisure easy, Hugh Downs. One of many ideal.”
Downs had a particular pastime in science, as soon as launching into a monologue on the Paar indicate on the science underlying water-skiing. It precipitated Paar to quip, “Properly, Hugh, while you drown, you’ll know the motive.”
His pastime in complications of the getting outdated — he even earned a postgraduate degree in gerontology — was highlighted in his Public Broadcasting Provider assortment “Over Simple” as well as many of his “20/20” pieces.
“We all endure in our custom from the basis … that formative years was the mountainous thing,” he acknowledged.
“There was vogue of a loss of admire for older of us, and we lose gleaning wisdom from older of us. We lose the ability to survey that impairment and decrepitude don’t essentially slide along with age.”
His work on “20/20″ also confirmed his adventurous spirit, equivalent to the time he obtained to straggle a killer whale, and one other time he put on breathing equipment to swim advance a gigantic white shark. There was a hazardous expedition to the South Pole wherein one participant almost fell to his death.
“I’m drawn to science, the ambiance, treatment and sure personalities,” he acknowledged. “I actual design the tales I’d like to design. I don’t would favor to be actual the anchor.”
Downs started his work as Paar’s second banana in 1957, after a stint as host of NBC’s “The Dwelling Level to.”
In a highly publicized incident in February 1960, Paar stormed off the air in a dispute appealing network chopping a Paar “water closet” (lavatory) shaggy dog narrative the censors disliked. Downs received reward for lightly telling the target market “I’d take to mediate that is no longer final” and maintaining the reside indicate working till signoff time.
Downs acknowledged later that he anticipated that Paar would at any minute return to the stage “with some punch line or something. He didn’t.” But Downs acknowledged he was no longer without extend grateful for the boost the brouhaha gave his profession.
Paar no longer without extend returned to the indicate a pair of weeks later.
Paar’s departure from “Tonight” in 1962 paved the arrangement for Johnny Carson. Downs, within the meantime, started his 9-year bustle as host of the “Currently” indicate. Walters was a “Currently” colleague for a part of that point. She admired Downs and praised his generosity and collegiality.
He expressed his views modestly within the 1995 book “The Box: An Oral History of Tv, 1920-1961”: “In a approach the much less skill you’ll need gotten or deploy, the much less chance you’ll need gotten of overexposure. That would possibly per chance per chance well per chance be why I were on network television more than anybody within the sphere.”