Morton Downey, Jr.

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Morton Downey, Jr. (December 9, 1932 — March 12, 2001) was an American singer, songwriter and later a television talk show host of the 1980s who pioneered the "trash TV" format.[1]

American film company Ironbound Films is producing a biopic about Downey entitled Évocateur, scheduled for release in 2011.[2]



Downey attended New York University. He was a program director and announcer at a radio station in Connecticut in the 1950s, and later worked in various markets around the U.S., including Phoenix (KRIZ), Miami (WFUN) and Seattle (KJR). Downey, whose father had been a popular singer, soon followed him into the music business. He sang on a few records and then began to write songs, several of which were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. He joined ASCAP as a result.[citation needed]

In the 1980s, Downey was a talk show host at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California,[3] where he established his abrasive and much imitated right wing, populist style, relentlessly deriding anyone who disagreed with him or had a liberal point of view. Downey's success laid the groundwork for more aggressive, opinion-based talk radio.

Downey was fired in 1983 for cracking "an ethnic joke about a member of the city council out there who was of Asian descent, and he refused to apologize [for it];"[4] he was replaced on KFBK by Rush Limbaugh, who has held the time slot ever since, later via his national syndication. Downey also had a stint on WMAQ-AM in Chicago where he unsuccessfully tried to get other on air radio personalities to submit to drug testing.[citation needed] Downey's largest effect on American culture came from his popular, yet short-lived, syndicated late 1980s television talk show, The Morton Downey Jr Show.[1]

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