Hugh Downs, genial presence on TV news and game shows, dies

FILE - This Jan. 12, 2012 file photo shows Hugh Downs at the "Today" show 60th anniversary celebration in New York. Downs, a genial and near-constant presence on television from the 1950s through the 1990s, has died. His family said Downs died of natural causes Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 99. Downs was a host of the ‘Today’ show on NBC, worked on the ‘Tonight’ show when Jack Paar was in charge, and hosted the long-running game show "Concentration." (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)


NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Downs, a genial and near-constant presence on television on news, game and talk shows, has died at age 99.

He died of natural causes Wednesday night at home in Scottsdale, Arizona, said his great-niece, Molly Shaheen.

“The Guinness Book of World Records” recognized Downs as having logged more hours than any other TV personality until Regis Philbin passed him in August 2004 .

Starting in the 1950s, he became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces as he racked up more than 15,000 hours on game shows, NBC’s “Today” show, the ABC newsmagazine “20/20″ and the “Tonight” show with Jack Paar.

He hosted the PBS series “Over Easy” and “Live from Lincoln Center” and did the game show “Concentration.”

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