Downs, Hugh

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Downs, Hugh Gender: M
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)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Clifford
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 25°45' s_mo.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 15°35 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 29°49'

Hugh Downs


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 recalled 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 had two children. His mother died in 1958, and his father in 1982.

Much of his image was described as modest and low-key, which was in contrast to a strong sense of adventure, especially when it came to airplanes. He had pilot ratings for single and multi-engine aircraft, seaplanes, gliders and even hot-air balloons, which he called "a mad sport." He did 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 also hiked to the South Pole, saving a friend's life during the experience.

Downs was even more attracted to the water, blaming it on growing up in the landlocked Midwest where "water holds a mystical fascination." He scuba-dived along Australia's Great Barrier Reef, dived in search of the lost Spanish galleon San Ignacie off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and rode 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 admitted to mike and camera fright in his early radio and television days and summed it all up by saying that the only way to handle fear is to scare yourself.

His myriad of other interests included music composition; he wrote a prelude that was actually performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He had a particularly strong interest in the subject of aging, and authored three books on the subject. He held 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.

Downs married Ruth Shaheen on 17 February 1944. She died on 28 March 2017 at age 95. They had two children, Deirdre and H.R. Hugh Downs died from heart failure at the age of 99 on 1 July 2020 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Work : New Career July 1939 (Announcer at local radio station)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • 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

Source Notes

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 : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack
  • 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)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Heart failure)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 99)
  • 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