Morton Downey, Jr.

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Controversial television talk show host of the 1980s. Born December 9, 1933. Died March 12, 2001 of lung cancer. His parents were also in show business; his father Morton Downey was a popular singer, and his mother Barbara Bennett was a singer and dancer.

Downey was the host of the highly controversial program "The Morton Downey Jr. Show". He rose to intial fame in 1987 when his program featured screaming matches between Downey, his guests, and his audience members.

In 1989, Downey was involved in an incident in which he claimed to have been attacked by neo-Nazis who painted a swastika on his face. Because police could not find evidence that the event actually took place, many did not believe it, feeling that it was just another controversial stunt.

Late in life, Downey, who was sometimes known to blow tobacco smoke into people's faces on his show, became an anti-tobacco crusader, as a direct response to his own lung cancer.