|Birthname||Hugh Malcolm Downs|
|born on||14 February 1921 at 17:15 (= 5:15 PM )|
|Place||Akron, Ohio, 41n05, 81w31|
|Timezone||CST h6w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||25°45' 15°35 Asc. 29°49'|
American TV personality, a broadcaster from 1943 at a small radio station in Lima, Ohio, near a farm where he grew up. As a child, he wanted to become an artist, then discovered at age 13 that he was 90 % color-blind.
Young Hugh picked up his interest in broadcasting from his dad, who worked at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. After graduating from high school, he won a public-speaking contest and a one-year scholarship to Blufton College in Lima. It was the time of the Great Depression and he quit school after a year. In July 1939, at 18, he passed the local radio station and on impulse, went in and asked for a job as an announcer. He got it. Four years later, he joined NBC in Chicago as a staff announcer.
He hosted "Concentration" during the 50s, co-hosted the "Tonight Show" with Jack Paar from 1957-1962, and for ten years, beginning in 1962, was host of the "Today" show.
He was called in to anchor the news show, "20/20" a week after the show's disastrous debut in June 1978. He was at the time still hosting a PBS series on aging, "Over Easy." When he started "20/20," he continued to host that show, commuting each week from New York to San Francisco, where the PBS series was produced. He recalls the time as "living in a 747 for about 18 months."
Downs is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only person who has appeared on network commercial television more than 10,000 hours.
He married Ruth Shaheen in 1944, and they have two children. His mother died in 1958, and his father in 1982.
Much of his image is described as modest and low-key, which is in contrast to a strong sense of adventure, especially when it comes to airplanes. He has pilot ratings for single and multi-engine aircraft, seaplanes, gliders and even hot-air balloons, which he calls "a mad sport." He has done barrel rolls in a DeHavilland Tiger Moth biplane, and once spent a summer with Richard Bach, author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and a former jet fighter. They made a documentary together about modern barnstorming, "Nothing by Chance", based on Bach's book of that name.
On land, in 1971, he was once clocked doing 175 miles per hour behind the wheel of a Formula A racing car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has also hiked to the South Pole, saving a friend's life during the experience.
Downs is even more attracted to the water, blaming it on growing up in the landlocked Midwest where "water holds a mystical fascination." He has scuba-dived along Australia's Great Barrier Reef, has dived in search of the lost Spanish galleon San Ignacie off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and has ridden a killer whale bareback at Sea World. He once crossed the Pacific in a trawler, which inspired his book, "A Shoal of Stars."
Downs explained his attraction to danger by saying that as a child he was full of fear, and timid. He admits to mike and camera fright in his early radio and television days and sums it all up by saying that the only way to handle fear is to scare yourself.
His myriad of other interests include music composition; he has written a prelude that was actually performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has a particularly strong interest in the subject of aging, and has authored three books on the subject. He holds a post-master's degree in gerontology from Hunter College and a certificate in geriatric medicine from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
His memoirs are titled, "On Camera." In mid-May 1999, he announced that he was leaving network TV and his long-running post on ABC's "20/20" to explore teaching, new media and cable opportunities.
- Work : New Job 1943 (Staff announcer for NBC)
- Relationship : Marriage 1944 (Ruth Shaheen)
- Work : New Job 1957 (Co-hosted "The Tonight Show")
- Death of Mother 1958
- Work : New Job 1962 (Hosted "Today")
- Other Misc. 1971 (Did 175 mph in Indy car)
- Death of Father 1982
B.C. in hand from Frank C. Clifford (Same Contemporary American Horoscopes, Gauquelin Book of American Charts)
- Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Degree in gerontology, certificate in geriatric medicine)
- Traits : Personality : Active (Adventurous)
- Traits : Personality : Passive/ Bland (Modest, low-key)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Eyes (90% color blind)
- Family : Childhood : Disadvantaged (Raised in Great Depression)
- Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (55 years in 1999)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
- Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
- Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (Host of Today Show, ten years)
- Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work (Commuted cross-country for 18 months)
- Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Grant, Scholarship, etc. (One year scholarship to college)
- Vocation : Entertainment : News journalist/ Anchor ("Today," "20/20," and documentary)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Radio/ D.J./ Announcer
- Vocation : Entertainment : TV host/ Personality ("The Tonight Show," "Concentration," and "Over Easy")
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger (Hobby)
- Vocation : Sports : Race Cars (Did 175 mph at Indianapolis)
- Vocation : Travel : Adventurer (Hiked to South Pole, dived Great Barrier Reef, treasure hunter, ridden on back of killer whale, crossed Pacific in trawler)
- Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ private
- Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer (Memoir's, "On Camera")
- Vocation : Writers : Fiction ("A Shoal of Stars," inspired by Pacific journey)
- Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Three books on aging)
- Notable : Awards : Other Awards (Guiness record holder for being on TV 10,000 hours+)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
- Notable : Book Collection : American Book