American broadcaster Hugh Downs dies at age 99

Carla Harmon
July 4, 2020

His death was not related to COVID-19, a family spokesperson said in a statement to KPNX Ch. 12 in Phoenix.

Downs spent 11 years on "Today", many as co-anchor with Barbara Walters, and interviewed scores of celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers.

Hugh Downs, a television pioneer who became one of the medium's most enduring, likable and reassuring presences in a five-decade career that included serving as Jack Paar's late-night announcer-sidekick, and hosting the NBC's "Today" and ABC's newsmagazine "20/20", died Thursday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

His signature farewell to viewers was "We're in touch, so you be in touch", on the ABC News program.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Get our Entertainment stories and news in your email! Eventually, Regis Philbin (Live With Regis and Kathie Lee; Live with Regis and Kelly) dethroned Downs.

While Hugh officially retired from "20/20" way back in 1999, he lent his smooth voice to a number of TV specials and documentary films during the 2000s.

Downs' broadcasting career began at age 18 when he auditioned for a radio announcer job on a whim in his hometown of Lima, Ohio. "That may be why I have been on network television more than anybody in the world".

"I once said I'd done everything on radio and television except play-by-play sports". He was also well-known as a game show host, hosting "Concentration", which was inspired by the children's matching card game.

He also hosted the game show Concentration from 1958-1969.

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