Louis Rukeyser, Financial Journalism Pioneer, Dies at 73

By Associated Press
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Rukeyser hosted
Rukeyser hosted "Wall $treet Week With Louis Rukeyser" for 32 years.( - CNBC Photo)
Louis Rukeyser, a television host, author, columnist and lecturer who delivered common-sense commentary on business and economic news, died yesterday at his home in Greenwich, Conn. He was 73 and had multiple myeloma, his brother said.

As host of "Wall $treet Week With Louis Rukeyser" on public television from 1970 until 2002, Rukeyser took a wry approach to the ups and downs in the marketplace and urged guests to avoid jargon. He brought finance and economics to ordinary viewers and investors and was rewarded with the largest audience in the history of financial journalism.

"He brings to the tube a blend of warmth, wit, irreverence, thrusting intellect and large doses of charm, plus the credibility of a Walter Cronkite," Money magazine wrote.

Rukeyser moved from "Wall $treet Week" to CNBC in March 2002 rather than go along with executives' plan to demote him and use younger hosts.

Maryland Public Television, which produced the show, said it was firing him after he used "Wall $treet Week" to complain about his producers. He said that the station could not fire him because he was never its employee.

Less than a month later, he debuted with "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street" on CNBC. The new show also aired on some PBS stations.

Neither his old show nor his new one lasted long after that.

Rukeyser's last appearance on his CNBC show was Oct. 31, 2003, after which he went on medical leave for surgery to relieve back pain. In May 2004, he announced that doctors had found a low-grade malignancy during a follow-up exam.

Later that year, Rukeyser asked CNBC to end production of his show, which had continued with guest hosts. The PBS successor to Rukeyser's show struggled, too, and Maryland Public Television pulled the plug in 2005.

Rukeyser was born Jan. 30, 1933, in New York. He graduated from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, specializing in public aspects of business. He worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspapers and ABC News.

Rukeyser helped to popularize economics and finance with puns that drew appreciative groans. After a market slump, he said he considered changing the name of the show to "Wall Street Wake."

"We have in America a bad tendency that things have to be either serious or fun," he told the AP. "Whereas in real life, this isn't true. The teachers we all remember in high school and college were not the ones who put us to sleep. I don't think any of us should apologize for not being dull."

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