Morton Downey Jr., former controversial talk-show host, died March 12 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, following ongoing lung problems. He was 67.
Downey is most famous for his syndicated talk show, The Morton Downey Jr. Show, which premiered in 1987. Touted then as the antithesis to Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue and noted subsequently as a precursor to Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones, Downey was a chain-smoking, in-your-face conservative, whose guests could look forward to yelling, finger-wagging and name-calling if they did not share his views. Though wildly popular with viewers, Downey's show lacked advertising support and was cancelled in 1989.
Although he attempted to break back into the talk-show business, Downey never quite caught on again. A long-time smoker, he became an advocate against the habit when he lost a lung in 1996.
He is survived by his wife, Lori Krebs; four daughters, Seanna Micaela, Tracey, Kelli and Melissa; and seven grandchildren.
Robert T. Howard, former NBC network president, died March. 11 in New York of heart disease. He was 73.
Howard began his career with NBC as a page in 1947. Steadily working his way up through the ranks, he became vice president and general manager of KNBC Los Angeles in 1966. He became vice president of administration and operations in 1973 and, the following year, was named president of the network, relocating to New York. He remained president until 1977.
He helped negotiate NBC's acquisition rights to 1980's Moscow Olympic Games. However, as a consequence of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. pulled out in protest.
Howard is survived by his wife, Joan; three sons; and two grandchildren.