Hugh Downs Dead at 99, Hosted '20/20′ and 'Today'

Brenda Watkins
July 3, 2020

Television broadcaster, game show host, news anchor and producer Hugh Downs died July 1 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Washington Post and other media outlets are reporting.

A Downs family spokesperson told the local CBS affiliate on Thursday that the death was not related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hugh Downs' historic career lasted over 60 years.

Downs' wife of 75 years, Ruth, died in 2017.

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After starting out his broadcasting career on radio, Downs' first television gigs included serving as the announcer for Hawkins Falls, Population 6200, one of the medium's first soap operas, as well as the children's program Kukla, Fran and Ollie. He was also the host of the popular game show "Concentration" from 1958-69 and served as the announcer and sidekick for "Tonight Starring Jack Paar" from 1957 to 1962. The show was a quick success and Downs was host for 10 years, continuing with the job even after he became an anchor on NBC's "Today" morning show in 1962.

Downs won Emmys for his work on "Today" in 1970, for hosting the PBS series on aging, "Over Easy", in 1981 and "Live From Lincoln Center" in 1991.

Downs was married to his wife Ruth for almost 75 years before she died in 2017. He is survived by a daughter, Deirdre, and a son Hugh Raymond, known as H.R., two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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