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Hugh Downs

Hugh Downs (1921–2020), former anchor of “20/20”

by Kirk Fox

Hugh Downs was the longtime television news personality who was the anchor of the ABC news show “20/20” from 1978 until 1999.  

  • Died: Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (Who else died on July 1?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 99 from a heart ailment, confirmed to the Washington Post by his great-niece Molly Shaheen.  
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Familiar face on television

Downs became a familiar and comforing personality for American TV viewers as the announcer for “The Tonight Show”, hosted by Jack Paar from 1957 until 1962. Around the same time, he began hosting the popular TV game show “Concentration,” a position he held for ten years. He was the host of NBC’s “Today Show” for nine years starting in 1962. He may be best known as the anchor for ABC’s late-night TV news show “20/20,” paired with Barbara Walters, who he worked with on the “Today Show.” He was on “20/20” from 1978 until his retirement in 1999.   

Downs on his love for in the field reporting on “20/20” 

Downs traveled to the South Pole, went into a cage in the water to encounter a great white shark and other adventures. “Covering adventure stories let me be more than a reporter.” “I became a cowboy in the great west in search of wild mustangs to tame.” – Downs said at a tribute for his retirement in 1999 


What they said about him

Full Obituary: Washington Post

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