Hugh Downs Death – It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Hugh Downs. We heard from his family that Hugh passed away peacefully yesterday at his home in Scottsdale surrounded by his family at the age of 99.
Hugh Downs was an American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer. A regular television presence from the 1940s through the 1990s, he had several successful roles on morning television, prime time television, and late night television. Downs served as announcer/sidekick for Tonight Starring Jack Paar from 1957 to 1962, co-host of the NBC News program Today from 1962 to 1971, host of the Concentration game show from 1958 to 1969, and anchor of the ABC News magazine 20/20 from 1978 to 1999.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Hugh Downs. We heard from his family that Hugh passed away peacefully yesterday at his home in Scottsdale surrounded by his family at the age of 99. We are preparing a "Remembering Hugh" story which we will share soon. pic.twitter.com/yVjicH2hJz
— The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (@asuhdshc) July 2, 2020
Downs was born in 1921 in Akron, Ohio, to Edith (née Hicks) and Milton Howard Downs, who worked in business. He was educated at Lima Shawnee High School in Lima, Ohio; Bluffton College, a Mennonite school in Bluffton, Ohio; and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, during the period 1938–41.
Hugh Downs, perhaps best remembered for his two-decade run on ABC's 20/20, has passed away at the age of 99. He was also the co-host of NBC's Today Show from 1962-71. Here he is in December '62 on location in Key West with a story about Ernest Hemingway: pic.twitter.com/YW4qt6hju9
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) July 2, 2020
Downs worked as a radio announcer and program director at WLOK in Lima, Ohio, after his first year of college. In 1940 he moved on to WWJ in Detroit. Downs served in the United States Army during World War II in 1943 and then joined the NBC radio network at WMAQ as an announcer in Chicago, Illinois, where he lived until 1954. While at WMAQ Downs also acted, including as the “co-pilot” in the “Uncle Ned’s Squadron” program in 1951. He married a coworker, Ruth Shaheen, in 1944, three days after his 23rd birthday. He also attended Columbia University in New York City during 1955–56.
Hugh Downs died today at the age of 99. His death reminded me of something. While researching _Begin Again_ at the @SchomburgCenter, I came across a beautiful exchange of letters between Downs and James Baldwin. 1/
— Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (@esglaude) July 2, 2020
Ruth Shaheen Downs, Hugh’s wife, died on March 28, 2017, at age 95. They had two children, Deirdre and H.R.
Downs died on July 1, 2020, at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 99.