Hugh Downs

Composer and Broadcaster
Born Feb 14, 1921

Hugh Malcolm Downs is a long-time American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer; and is perhaps best known for his role as co-host 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.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Hugh Downs.

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    Huffington Post - Apr 05, 2013
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    MSNBC- Cosmic Log - Aug 27, 2012
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    Huffington Post - Jun 04, 2012
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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Hugh Downs.


1921 Birth Downs was born on St. Valentine's Day in the year 1921 in Akron, Ohio, to Edith (Hicks) and Milton Howard Downs, who worked in business.


1938 17 Years Old 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 to 1941. … Read More
1940 19 Years Old In 1940 he moved on to WWJ in Detroit.


1943 22 Years Old 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.
1944 23 Years Old He married a coworker, Ruth Shaheen in 1944, three days after his 23rd birthday. … Read More
1945 24 Years Old Downs made his first television news broadcast in September 1945 from the still experimental studio of WBKB-TV (now WBBM-TV), a station then owned by the Balaban and Katz theater subsidiary of Paramount Pictures.
1950 29 Years Old He became a TV regular, announcing for Hawkins Falls in 1950, the first successful television soap opera, which was sponsored by Lever Brothers Surf detergent. … Read More


1954 33 Years Old In March 1954, Downs moved to New York City to accept a position as announcer for Pat Weaver's The Home Show starring Arlene Francis. … Read More
1956 35 Years Old He was the announcer for Sid Caesar's Caesar's Hour for the 1956–57 season, and one of NBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955–1959.
1957 36 Years Old Downs became a bona fide television "personality" as Jack Paar's announcer on The Tonight Show from mid-1957, when he replaced Franklin Pangborn, until Paar's departure in March 1962, and then continued to announce for "The Tonight Show" until the fall of 1962, when Ed Herlihy took the announcing reins. … Read More
1958 37 Years Old On August 25, 1958, Downs concurrently began a more than ten-year run hosting the original version of the game show Concentration.


1962 41 Years Old Also, he hosted NBC's Today Show for nine years from September 1962 to October 1971, plus co-hosting the syndicated television program Not for Women Only with Barbara Walters in 1975 and 1976. … Read More


1977 56 Years Old Downs earned a postgraduate degree in gerontology from Hunter College while he was hosting Over Easy, a PBS television program about aging that aired from 1977 to 1983.
1978 57 Years Old He was probably best known in later years as the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor – again paired with Walters – of the ABC news TV show 20/20, a primetime news magazine program, from the show's second episode in 1978 until his retirement in 1999.


1985 64 Years Old In 1985, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network commercial television (15,188 hours), though he lost the record for most hours on all forms of television to Regis Philbin in 2004.
1990 69 Years Old A published composer, Downs hosted the PBS showcase for classical music, Live from Lincoln Center from 1990 to 1996. … Read More
2003 82 Years Old Downs has been seen in infomercials for Bottom Line Publications, including their World's Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets, as well as another one for a personal coach. He did an infomercial for Where There's a Will There's an A in 2003. … Read More
2007 86 Years Old On October 13, 2007, Downs was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada. … Read More
2012 91 Years Old As part of the Centennial of the State of Arizona celebration in February 2012, Downs narrated Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" on stage with the Phoenix Symphony. … Read More
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