Talk-show host Mike Douglas died Friday, Aug. 11 in Florida, at a Palm Beach Gardens hospital, on his 81st birthday. At press time, cause of death had not yet been determined.
The daytime talk show began in Cleveland at what was then KYW, a Westinghouse station that moved to Philadelphia in 1965. Douglas did his show from there until 1978, when the program moved to Los Angeles until its end in 1982.
He was a fixture in the world of syndicated TV, famous for his affable style. About 30,000 guests appeared on the show, including musicians, comedians, sports figures and seven former, sitting or future presidents. At its peak, his show was seen in about 230 cities.
“Mike Douglas was one of the great television performers of the 20th century, whose versatility is unmatched in today's entertainment world,” says Roger Ailes, chairman/CEO of Fox News and chairman of Fox Television Stations who once served as executive producer of the show. “Everyone who came into contact with Mike learned something from his immense talent. He loved show business, and the audience loved him.”
“People still believe The Mike Douglas Show was a talk show, and I never correct them, but I don't think so,” Douglas wrote in his 1999 memoir, I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show. “It was really a music show, with a whole lot of talk and laughter in between numbers.”