The pioneer financial show host, Louis Rukeyser, died early this month, on 5/2/06, at the age of 73, following a battle of several years with multiple myeloma. Also a lecturer, columnist, financial newsletter editor, and writer, Lou was the original source of popular information on the economy and investing, first with an approximately 32 years' weekly PBS program, "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser," and later with a CNBC show, which he then moderated until cancer intervened.
Lou's entertaining, stylish, charming, funny (or "punny"), smart, personality-plus but down-to-earth approach, yet almost always looking like he was just sitting down each week for an unrehearsed conversation with a few intelligent friends, proved to be a winning formula that catapulted him from being simply a political correspondent to America's favorite investment guru, so popular and steady that several have said he reminded them of the image of George Washington on a dollar bill. In the course of a long, distinguished television career, he would win many honors and awards.
Several also have noted that watching his shows was better than college courses for informing viewers in a common sense way of the otherwise mysterious and often disconcerting obscurities or ups and downs of investing.
For me, one of his programs' best features was the audience exposure he provided to some of the very finest minds extant in the investment field, the likes of John Templeton, Peter Lynch, Martin Zweig, or his own economics columnist father, Merryle S. Rukeyser, Sr.
Another plus from regularly watching Lou's show was that before long one gained a calmer, more optimistic perspective on the fluctuations of the stock market than seemed to prevail on either Wall or Main Street.