Douglas, Mike 1925-2006
Douglas, Mike 1925-2006
See index for CA sketch: Born August 11, 1925, in Chicago, IL; died August 11, 2006, in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Television show host, singer, and author. Douglas was best remembered for his popular television talk show, The Mike Douglas Show, which ran for over twenty years. Born Michael Delaney Dowd, Jr., he was a former Oklahoma City University student. Douglas had his start in show business as a singer, with his first regular job being as an entertainer on a Great Lakes cruise ship. Moving to California in the late 1940s, he sang with the Kay Kyser band, and the group later had its own musical quiz show called Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge. Back in Chicago in the 1950s, Douglas hosted the radio program Hi, Ladies, but when the show was cancelled he found himself working at a piano bar. It was here that he was discovered by producers for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, who offered him his own talk show. The Mike Douglas Show premiered in 1961 on a Cleveland, Ohio, station. By 1963, it was being broadcast in San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. In 1965, the show was moved to a studio in Philadelphia, and the new location made it easier for Douglas to get famous guests from New York City. By the late 1960s, the show was the most popular daytime program on television. Douglas became known for his friendly, nonconfrontational interviewing style, and he would often join his musical celebrities in song. Guests ranged from Sonny and Cher and Frank Sinatra to John Lennon and Kiss. He also had politicians and other famous guests, many of them controversial, such as Malcolm X, Black Panther Party member Bobby Seale and consumer and safety advocate Ralph Nader. In addition to his television work, he made several music recordings, too, including Dear Mike, Please Sing—Mike Douglas Sings the Most Requested Songs from His Television Show (1966) and The Mike Douglas Christmas Album (1979). After its peak in the late 1960s, during which the program won an Emmy Award in 1967 and appeared nationally on about two hundred stations, the show gradually lost viewers and was cancelled in 1982. For a year after that, Douglas hosted a show on CNN before leaving show business altogether; he often worked as a public speaker, however. Douglas wrote about his career in two books: Mike Douglas: My Story (1978) and the cowritten I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show (1999).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Douglas, Mike, Mike Douglas: My Story, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.
Douglas, Mike, Thomas Kelly, and Michael Heaton, I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2006, section 2, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2006, p. B12.
New York Times, August 12, 2006, p. B16.
Times (London, England), August 25, 2006, p. 69.
Washington Post, August 12, 2006, p. B6.