HARTFORD, Conn. – Louis Rukeyser, a best-selling author, columnist, lecturer and television host who delivered pun-filled, commonsense commentary on complicated business and economic news, died Tuesday. He was 73.
Rukeyser died at his home in Greenwich after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a rare bone marrow cancer, said his brother, Bud Rukeyser.
As the 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 of the marketplace. He urged guests to avoid jargon, and brought finances and economics to ordinary viewers and investors.
Rukeyser also won numerous awards and honors, including a citation by People magazine as the only sex symbol of the “dismal science” of economics.
“Our prime mission is to make previously baffling economic information understandable and interesting to people in general,” he once said.
Rukeyser quit “Wall $treet Week” and moved to CNBC in March 2002 rather than go along with executives’ plan to demote him and use younger hosts to update the format.
Less than a month later, he debuted with “Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street” on financial network 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 persistent pain in his back. 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, which produced the show, pulled the plug in 2005.
Rukeyser, who published best-selling books and newsletters, helped to popularize the often dull and arcane subjects of economics and finance with puns that drew appreciative groans from his audience.
Once while answering a viewer’s letter on investing in a hairpiece manufacturer, he said, “If all your money seems to be hair today and gone tomorrow, we’ll try to make it grow by giving you the bald facts on how to get your investments toupee.”