Downs was a TV Pioneer
We at AEE are saddened to hear about the passing of legendary news broadcaster Hugh Downs. He died at the age of 99 on Wednesday night July 1, 2020, surrounded by his loving family members. This was reported by the CBS Arizona affiliate.
Downs was memorable for work on “20/20”, “Today” , and “The Tonight Show.”
Hugh and Barbara Walters were beloved by so many as the famous broadcast team on ABC’s hit primetime show “20/20.” Downs would enjoy a 60 year plus career in television news.
In 1985 Hugh became certified by the famous Guinness Book of World Records for holding the greatest number of hours on network commercial television. 15,188 hours!!! He held that record until Regis Philbin broke it in 2004.
The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
In 1999 Arizona State University named The Hugh Downs School Of Human Communication after the news icon. On ASU’s own website they make mention in a statement that says it is “aptly named for a man with a passion for life-long learning, a commitment to (and appreciation of) the role of communication in human interactions, and an ability to communicate effectively whether with one person or large and diverse groups.”
Hugh was born in Akron, Ohio. Downs got his start in broadcasting as a radio announcer in Lima, Ohio.
He would go on to join the “Home” show on NBC in 1954, and was also known as the announcer for “Cesar’s Hour” from the years of 1956-1957. It was during this time Downs helped with the launch of “The Tonight Show” as Jack Paar’s sidekick.
1958 saw Hugh host the popular game show “ Concentration”, then in 1962 he started a nine-year run as the co-host of NBC’s “ Today” show, where he also was the reporter. Downs then joined the ABC network where and Barbara Walters co-anchored “20/20.”
Hugh served in the U.S. Army before embarking on a career in broadcasting.
AEE extends out heartfelt condolences to the Downs Family.
RIP Hugh Downs.