Jack Horkheimer, 1938 – 2010

By Phil Plait | August 20, 2010 8:27 pm

Well, damn.

Jack Horkheimer, The Star Hustler, has died at the age of 72.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember Jack: he had a short astronomy show he did, usually shown on PBS right before they signed off, as I recall. He would tell you what the sky was doing that week, while he sat on the edge of Saturn’s rings. He was well-known for his super-enthusiastic demeanor, which always cracked me up. And of course, his trademark signoff: "Keep looking up!" Here’s one of his last shows:

I met Jack briefly at the very first Amaz!ng Meeting in Florida. He gave a talk at the meeting, and then James Randi himself introduced us. We hit it off pretty quickly — turns out we shared a similar sense of humor in some topics. It was a lot of fun to hang out with him.

Sky and Telescope has more information about this icon of astronomical outreach, as does Wikipedia. He’ll be missed.

If Jack inspired your interest in astronomy, let everyone know in the comments. That would be a terrific way to remember him.


MORE ABOUT: Jack Horkheimer

Comments (200)

  1. CJSF

    I just saw one of his shows the other night, which I thought was odd, because I didn’t think he was making anything new lately. I commented to my wife how my brothers and I would wait until late at night for him to come on and we’d all imitate him together saying, “Keep looking up!” in our best Jack Horkheimer voices.


  2. Justin Kugler

    I loved watching his astronomy shorts when I was a kid. They prompted me to get my first telescope when I was seven.

    We’ll miss you, Jack!

  3. glynes

    Oh yes, I loved Jack! I’m a sucker for anybody who’s totally enthusiastic about what they’re doing, and he was that. He always made me smile, and certainly encouraged me to ‘keep looking up’!

  4. When I was ill w/cancer, one of the things I looked forward to each day was his brief Star Gazer bit on my local PBS station. He helped keep me interested in our galaxy and that mattered a great deal then.

    RIP Jack. I’ll miss you. And thanks.

  5. Oh wow. This is terribly depressing to me–the man was a staple of my teenage years, as the local PBS station aired his show immediately after re-runs of Dr. Who on Saturday nights. His sheer enthusiasm for astronomy always made me want to run outside and look up at the stars right away–which I often did. Thanks for all the wonderful star-gazing you inspired, Mr. Horkheimer.

  6. Adam

    Jack Horkheimer was one of the things I would take time out of my day to watch, even when I wasn’t able to go out and see what he was talking about his enthusiasm, good humor and love of showing people his passion was infectious. His death is a huge loss to everyone. Keep Looking up Jack, you’ve got the best seats in the house now.

  7. Jack was a constant figure during my *entire* nerdy childhood in South Florida, one of the first sources of astronomy information for me years and years before the deluge of cable shows we have now. He will be missed.

  8. Jason

    Such a shame. Jack’s infectious enthusiasm for astronomy on his PBS show was the an early inspiration for many a gazer’s lifetime of “looking up” inwonder. Thanks for the stars Mr. Horkheimer. We’ll miss you.

  9. Charles Lawson

    So very sad. I worked for Jack for several years starting @ age twelve. He was great to me…and everyone else as far as I could tell. I am very saddened by this news.

  10. Belgarath

    I loved his shows. Although I liked it better before they PC’ed ‘Star Hustler’ up to ‘Star Gazer’

  11. I remember watching his show as a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be up , but his show was worth it. When I got older, I always enjoyed catching his segments between other shows on PBS. His closing line was always my favorite. I never could mimic it, though.

  12. I remember staying up on Friday nights to watch the British comedies on the local PBS station with my grandfather. By the Jack came on my grandfather would be snoring away but I was glued to what he had to say. He definitely had an influence on me along with many others. Many have tried to kill my interest in astronomy but they never succeeded. Before I could write this post I had to go out and look up even if the moon glare is out shining most of the stars.

  13. Damn. Jack was always fun and interesting to catch on Star Hustler, and I always stopped to watch when flipping through the channels or between Britcoms or other PBS shows. He was sort of the Rip Taylor of astronomy, alway entertaining. I caught one of his newer presentations last year, and he didn’t look well. You could tell he was sitting the whole time, like maybe he was ailing, and a bit low on energy. Even so, he was still so excited and passionate about an upcoming alignment telling us how to find it and what to look for.

    I know the name was changed to “Star Gazer,” but Jack will always be the Star Hustler to me. Jack will really be missed. Not many people do Astronomy education the way the Star Hustler did it. I doubt there’s anyone who can or will pick up the torch, which makes his passing doubly sad.

    “Keep looking up.” What a great message, and a great way to remember Jack Horkheimer.

    If anyone’s curious, the Star Hustler theme is “Arabesque” by Debussy.

  14. OtherRob

    I, too, remember watching his show after Doctor Who on PBS. Great stuff.

  15. ChipS

    Long ago I got hooked on Star Hustler on WTTW 11 PBS affiliate, in Chicago. Loved his intense delivery and always tried to find out when it would be shown.
    I hooked a number of friends on his show and that in turn got some hooked on star / sky gazing.
    Very sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. He will be missed! Glad I got to know him via his TV shorts.
    Hope he is NOW LOOKING DOWN. R.I. P. Star Gazer…R.I.P. And thanks!

  16. I do remember his show and loved it. They were always fun and informative. He along with Sagan and a few others definitely influenced my love of science in general and astronomy in particular that ultimately lead to me getting a degree in aerospace engineering.

  17. vashjinn

    Wow … so sad. I remember not being able to sleep when I was younger and watching his show on PBS. I learned as much from his show as I did in school and it was more entertaining. (No offense to Mr Palmer one of my high school science teachers!)

  18. Gabriel

    I remember him. I remember how enthusiastic he was, how happy he was and how bad his special effects were. He always made me smile, just hearing his voice again made me happy. And then sad. I will miss him.

  19. Eris

    I’m so sad to hear this news, but I have to admit that I’m smiling after watching that video. Like so many others, Star Hustler was a regular part of my Saturday night TV as a teenager, along with Dr Who, Monty Python, To the Manor Born, and other British shows. I used to imitate his opening, especially out by the cattle pastures near my home: “Greetings! Greetings! Fellow steer grazers!”

    His show also introduced me to one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. The theme is an electronic version of a piano piece by Claude Debussy, the first of the “Deux Arabesques”. Here’s a good performance of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWpV7L4YHuU&feature=related

    I think tonight would be a nice night to get out my telescope and admire the Moon.

    Oh – I just looked and there’s an asteroid named for him. I was going to suggest trying to get that done if it hadn’t been already.


  20. GregW

    We’ll keep looking up Jack…and miss you.

  21. Eris

    Dang, I already posted and forgot to add something.

    Belgarath – According to Wikipedia, the name was changed from Star Hustler to Star Gazer when they realized that Internet searches for the show were turning up Hustler magazine at the top of the search results. :-)


  22. Josh

    Color me a sad panda. Me and my best friend throughout middle and high school used to always stay up late an watch Jack, imitating his voice and learning about the night sky at the same time. You’ll be missed, Jack. But, because of you, there’s a whole generation of us out here who will “keep looking up”.

  23. Rob G.

    As a young boy I tried to catch his (always far too brief) show whenever I could. His enthusiasm and “quirky” style always put a smile on my face. To say this man inspired me to “keep looking up” is an understatement. Often, after watching his show, I’d run outside to see if I could find what he’d just talked about. If anyone had asked who the second most recognizable astronomer (after Carl Sagan) was, I’d have said Jack Horkheimer.

    Mr. Horkheimer, you have been a tremendous influence and inspiration to me and you will be sadly missed.

    Godspeed, Jack Horkheimer.

  24. I, quite literally, grew up with Jack Horkheimer ending my television day. On the weekends when I was young, and every night as I grew older. Even as a terribly jaded teen, parties would stop for the 15 minutes that Star Hustler was on.

    Of course, i also grew up in Miami in the 70s and early 80s, and spent ungodly amounts of time at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium, so I not only saw Jack on television, but we had the pleasure of sitting through his shows in the planetarium, and sometimes talking to him after. The Museum the planetarium was attached to was small, perpetually underfunded, but Jack could take the most bored group of kids and get them really interested in what he was talking about.

    Anytime there was a new show at the Planetarium, my folks new i’d have to go see it.

    I know Miami and FL get (legitimately) bagged on for a lot of things, but we also had Jack.

    I am terribly, terribly saddened by this news, but just as grateful that I got to experience him as more than just a funny old dude on TV who was really into astronomy.

    We’ll miss you Jack, and we’re still looking up.

  25. Mike Murray

    My father introduced me to Jack in the mid 80’s when i was about 5yrs old. They both taught me the love of astronomy. My dad passed when i was 9.. and Jack was always there for me growing up, with weekly tips and pointers.

    Now that i’m grown.. I’m always ‘looking up’ thanks to him..

  26. pablo

    Back in the 80’s members of the astronomy club that I was in would imitate and laugh over the drawn out way he’d say “Halley’s Comet”. Still, we all watched.

  27. Tony

    This is one of those things from my childhood I had long forgotten until now. I used to *love* his short segments. Man…I really need to get around to getting that telescope.

  28. Chip

    I would often catch his little show on PBS and later that night go out to spot what he told me about.
    In later years, I’d be messing with star charts and heady articles in Sky & Telescope and plan some evening’s elaborate project, yet Jack’s little night sky vignettes continued to provide a lot of fun, success and wonder.

  29. John

    For a period — back before DVRs and even before I had ready access to a VCR — I made it a point to catch his show as regularly as possible. That regularity eventually became semi-regular as the business of life did its best to get in the way.

    Jack was one of my heroes. I held him then, and still do today, in the same high regard as John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Don Herbert, George Carlin. Sure, there are a few others who are still very much among us. Yet when a hero passes, I suddenly feel very much like there are very few of them left.

    Jack will be missed. But like he always said, keep looking up.

  30. Feyna

    I remember as a kid (I’m 30 now) watching this on PBS. I always waited up to find out what was going on in the night sky, and loved his enthusiasm. We’re gonna miss ya Jack.

  31. KC

    Keep Looking Up!!

  32. Oh, no. I wish Jack’s family and friends to know that I loved the Star Hustler. Every week, he transformed whatever was happening in the sky into an imagination-grabbing high drama. And I looked up.

    He did this again and again, with great enthusiasm, for more than thirty years. How many people did he influence to look out and up, and gain an appreciation for the astonishing universe we live in, five minutes at a time?

    There needs to be a heavenly object named for him.

  33. Scott Hedrick

    I’m going to look down for a while. I just saw one of his shows a few days ago. I’d always hoped to meet him.

    I’ll never be able to explain to my kids just what they have lost.

  34. bigjohn756

    I never heard of Jack Horkheimer until right now. However, I am somewhat upset by his death because I was born in 1938, too. Seventy two is too young to die.

  35. highnumber

    The night sky is obscured by clouds here. Presumably the stars have taken the night off in his honor.

  36. Alan Leipzig

    As a kid, I went to the planetarium and he taught me how to always find Orion, the big and little dogs, the Seven Sisters, and Taurus. I always remembered that. I’m just starting an Astronomy class at high school , and I was planning to play his show every week. I’m sorry my kids won’t have the oppurtunity to get to know his enthusiasm.

  37. I'd rather be fishin'

    It is always a pleasure to watch a man who loves his job at work. I didn’t grow up watching him, PBS didn’t make it into my part of northern Canada in the early years (anyone remember vacuum tubes?) It’s amazing that every time I watched his show I learned something new and interesting. I will miss his enthusiasm, his delivery and his knowledge.

    This blog should be temporarily re-named ‘Sad Astronomy’. Who do we petition to get an astronomical object named in his honour?

  38. I didn’t recognize the name, but as soon as I read your description of his sign-off, I knew exactly who you were talking about.

  39. Jack Horkheimer is the man who introduced me to the works of Isao Tomita. Oh, and the astronomy part was really cool, too. I remember staying up late as a teenager so I could watch Star Hustler. I believe it came on right before midnight. Jack is a man I will definitely keep looking up to.

  40. I’m gonna miss the zeal with which he explained the night sky but, like everyone else here, I’ll keep looking up.

  41. cgmonkey

    Very sad, but what a wonderful legacy. What could be better than having planted the seeds of curiosity and passion for the stars in so many people? We should all do so well. R.I.P. Jack!

  42. No, what a sad, sad day. Some of my favorite memories as a child were staying up late with my grandpa. We’d watch Jack’s show on PBS, and then he’d sneak me out of the house to go see if we could find everything he talked about in the show. That was especially fun in the winter because my grandma didn’t like grandpa sneaking me out in the cold.

    He was one of the reasons for my lifelong love affair for science. When I bought my first telescope, it was mostly because of Jack (I have to give grandpa some credit). He ignited my imagination as a child, and I’d like to think if it weren’t for shows like Jack’s, along with intelligent caring people like my grandfather, I could have turned out tragically different. I would have loved to meet him, so Phil, you have my envy for that.

    He will surely be missed, and I’ll definitely keep looking up!

  43. Kevin Boske

    The Star Hustler came on WILL-9 right after Doctor Who. It was late, later than I was supposed to be up, but what parent could argue with a boy who loved science and astronomy. I’ll keep looking up, Jack, and I’ll do the best I can to get my kids to.

  44. James King

    My first memory of Jack was when I, as a junior high-schooler, went to see one of his “Child of the Universe” shows at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium in the early 1970’s. I later came to know him through mutual friend and found him to be a beautiful human being and a genuine loving soul. His passing is a profound loss for the astronomical community, Miami, and for all of us! God rest you, Jack!
    “You are a child, of the universe. No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here…”

  45. He inspired me to study science in university and that is what I did. I majored in bio with a minor in physics and got my degree in Biology. I ended up becoming a photographer, but I still look up every night. I will miss him a lot…:( We need more people like him to inspire us.


  46. I always enjoyed Jack’s short segments on PBS, and it was a highlight of my time playing in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach when I got to meet him. He narrated a performance of Holst’s magnificent piece, “The Planets.” He was infectiously enthusiastic, and a very personable guy. He was fun to talk to, and afterwards autographed a concert poster for me. Great legacy of learning, enthusiasm, and fun is left behind. We’ll have to see if there’s a grouping of stars that looks like him sitting on Saturn’s rings and name a new constellation.

  47. Jack inspired pretty much my entire interest in science. I am not a scientist, but I have been an amateur enthusiast in astronomy since middle school. He was a voice in my childhood telling me that I could be involved in science just by looking up. Before I took a math class, before I took a science class, I always assumed that with some excitement, a compass, and some time I could see amazing things. Thanks Jack.

  48. Mike Planchon

    Very sad to hear of his passing. I enjoyed his show immensely. Although I was more advanced as an amateur astronomer than the basic premise of the show I never failed to learn something, especially how to present astronomical information and the love of the night sky to the general public. His thoughtful and enthusiastic presentations made me much better at public star parties. My wife and I had the great pleasure to have dinner with Jack during an Astronomical League convention in 1994. If possible, he was even more likable and witty in person than he was on television. His contribution to education will be missed.

  49. John Paradox

    I remember his mini-shows after Python, Who, Holmes and other PBS shows, and got a lot of my ‘edumacation’ from them. I didn’t realize he was still making them, since I watch very little ‘live’ TV (Probably only the Sherlock Holmes reruns on some Sundays). However, there have been a lot of other short films used to fill from 10:25 to 10:30PM now, most of which tend to be local interest.
    I also learned about Animusic from cuts being used to fill time, and have both of the DVD’s.. if I had the money, I would start a Horkheimer collection as well.


  50. Aw.

    Sadness, inspiration, memories.

  51. daver

    Sad day. I miss him already.

  52. He is missed; haven’t seen him in years, but a great guy.

  53. I feel sad that this is the first time I have heard of Jack (probably because I live in England) – he seems to have been a real entertainer and educator!

    Also quite a coincidence to hear people saying that his show was on around bed time when they were kids, because the music used in that video is one of Debussy’s Arabesques – and it’s the one I remember my dad playing on the piano after I went to bed; it really brings back memories of childhood for me.

  54. I have several people to thank for my interest in astronomy, and Jack was one of them. From Jack I got my weekly update as to what was going on in the sky. I learned about the Zodiacal clouds from him, and the fact that they could be seen in favorable circumstances. His wacky enthusiastic pitch for naked eye astronomy got me out looking many nights.

    Thanks Jack, clear skies.

  55. Markle

    I was sad when I saw this on Twitter today. I can’t remember when I first saw his show, he was simply always there, on right after the British Comedy Night and just before the end of day programs on KTEH. The cheesy special effects that haven’t changed since the ’80s served to underline his down to Earth style.

    I’m glad to read that the toupee wasn’t completely a nod to vanity. Ironically, it made him look older in my estimation. It was soooooo bad that I had assumed that he was in his sixties even when he was in his forties. Perhaps it was just used to keep the ChromaKey background from reflecting off the top of his head. 😀

    It was clear in the last year or so that he was ailing. Though he kept his chipper and bright demeanor he looked increasingly frail. We still have Jack’s presence on TV for a couple more weeks. His last show will air the first week of September. He wrote his own epitaph, BTW:

    Keep Looking Up was my life’s admonition,
    I can do little else in my present position.

    So long, Star Hustler.

  56. For the last 20+ years, any time I point out more than three constellations to someone, I swiftly devolve into a Jack Horkheimer voice while doing it (and I conclude with, “…so keep, looking, up”).

    Any time I notice something interesting in the night sky that I can’t quite place (“Hrm. Is that Jupiter, or Mars?”), his website is the first one I dial up. Pre-internet, I’d stay up late to catch his show on PBS for the same information, since it was a safe bet he’d cover anything of note in the sky that night.

    I honestly never imagined what observational astronomy would be like without him.

  57. Robert

    On behalf of all of us at the Miami STP, we will sorely miss you Jack. We hope to continue to inspire young minds to keep looking up.

  58. In St. Louis, his show was on after Doctor Who on Sunday nights back when I was in high school. I loved both shows.

  59. Bryce

    I remember seeing him as a kid and thinking “Mr. Belvedere has a show about stars!” and have always remembered “drive a spike on to Spica”.

    He’ll always be my butler to the sky 😀

  60. McCthulhu

    Saddest news I have heard in quite some time. The iconic voice, catch-phrase and whistling theme music will all be missed greatly. I’m sorry that my little girl won’t be able to see Star Hustler late at night and be intrigued to go and look out and see what Jack was describing for herself. I just hope that the news of his passing isn’t lost in the crap that passes for news nowadays because I’m sure there are so many, like those posting here, who remember the show fondly from their youth and used it as part of their springboard into an interest in science, or specifically, astronomy/astrophysics. We’ll miss you hugely, Jack.

  61. Corvus

    Awwww man, Jack “keep looking up” Horkheimer is dead.

    Another piece of my childhood from PBS gone.
    My mother and I used to watch him on PBS. He and Sagan (“Cosmos”) were two of the “celebrities” that got me interested in astronomy to begin with. Because of his show and Cosmos, my mom agreed to buy me my first telescope, a nice easy to use 4 inch reflector. I had days and nights of enjoyment watching Jack on PBS and getting to use my telescope.

    It’s a sad sad day my friends.

    God I’m actually tearing up as I write this :(

  62. I would always make it a point to watch Star Hustler before going to bed when I was a teenager in the 80s, surreptitiously watching my tiny portable set with the volume low so as not to alert my folks that I was defying their order to go to sleep. I looked forward to it. In fact, I remember one day it wasn’t on at its appointed time, and instead there was this cheesy old British Sci-Fi show on called “Doctor Who.”

    I was so mad that Star Hustler wasn’t on, I was determined to call PBS the next day and yell about not seeing Jack Horkheimer tell me what to look out for in the skies. But, I sat and watched Doctor Who, thinking Star Hustler would be on after (it was). And now, 20 some odd years later, I am still watching Doctor Who, so I owe Jack a great deal of gratitude for introducing me to my favorite TV show of all time, and am saddened greatly to know that Jack has shuffled away into the stars for the last time.

  63. Clint Baltz

    I used to love watching this guy’s shows as a kid but didn’t realize they were still on. His enthusiasm and teaching ability were superb! I’ll pull out the telescope next chance I have in dedication and will keep looking up.

  64. Jim

    Sad day indeed. I loved his show.

  65. Pete Jackson

    His show generally wasn’t on in the Washington area, so I would see it just occasionally while traveling. I thought it corny at first, but learned to love it for it’s enthusiasm. And I was always haunted by the little whistle tune; it comes back to me at the strangest times. Does anyone know if he did the whistle himself?

  66. raequel

    wow, i actually broke down and cried after i read that. which shocked me because i hadnt seen or thought of Mr. Horkheimer or his show in years, i remember staying up late watching PBS – either Monty Python or Red Dwarf (wasnt much of a Doctor Who fan – yeah i’m a heretic), and they’d show a Star Hustler segment before the end of the night…it was a very quirky show and even though i thought it a bit corny, i watched anyway! Who can forget “Keep Looking Up!” – I am so sad, He was my 2nd Favorite PBS guy, next to Mark Russell – i’m gonna lose it when he passes on. Thank you Mr. Horkheimer – many kids up past their bedtimes for at least two generations thank you.

  67. MathMike

    When I watch the old Dr. Who episodes on DVD, they seem to be missing a little splash at the end because I became so used to seeing Jack right after the credits.

  68. Shane

    I must be that certain age, because I vividly remember watching Star Hustler as a boy. I lived in Miami at the time, and hung out at the Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium every chance I got. Funny, I always assumed his show was just some local thing. It’s good to hear that so many people got the chance to see it.

  69. I’ve been doing my best to keep him “alive and well” in my classes. I show several of his little clips I captured late nights (on VHS, Gadzooks!) to my HS Astro class from time to time just to wake them up. They look at him like a Bill Nye/Beakman hybrid on crack. Now, instead of saying something mundane like, “See you tomorrow, Mr. T” when they leave, they yell in unison, “Keep looking up!”

  70. unixTechie

    Sad news. I discovered him in the late 70’s when he was still called the Star Hustler.
    He was responsible for re-kindling my childhood interest in Astronomy.
    More recently, I re-discovered him in the form of his video podcasts, and was able to get a “Jack Fix” on demand on shows downloaded to Media Center. There’ll be an empty space there when that feed dries up.

  71. Celly

    I remember watching Jack. However, I seldom caught him, because he was on so late, but was always thrilled when I caught his show. He will be missed.

  72. Zucchi

    Boy, that brings back memories.

  73. That’s just sad. He came on right before several shows I watched when growing up in Iowa. Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Monty Python… Astronomy lost one of its best outreach guys…

  74. Doug SHowell

    I always would watch it after the 4th doctor as a child. He will be missed.

  75. Squidmonde

    I set my Tivo to record him every week, so I’ve been watching him off and on for maybe thirty years now. For you, Jack, I’ll keep looking up.

  76. I used to watch Star Hustler after Dr Who on PBS when I was a teenager. I was so surprised to see that he’d passed away. He’ll definitely be missed.

  77. Wow, the field of astronomy has lost one of its best. You will be missed Jack! I remember first seeing him on PBS late. He was the one who first got me interested in astronomy. Ride those rings Jack!

  78. I remember Jack’s show. His cornball enthusiasm was so compelling and so endearing. Carl Sagan appealed mostly to reason, but Jack appealed to the love and wonder of discovery that lies within us all. More than that, he made the cosmos accessible and familiar in his short, simple lessons. He made astronomers of all who took just a moment to share his love for the sky.

    So long, Jack. You inspired more people than you can possibly know.

  79. ChazInMT


    I do 10 to 15 star parties a year to members of the public and often think “WWJD” (What Would Jack Do) (Or Say) about things and I try to bring a small fraction of his Gusto to my delivery.

    I remember his talk about Altair in particular, and often use the facts he spoke of when I talk about it. For some reason a lot of people want to know “How did you find that out??” And I break into my best impression of Dr. Jack to explain my source. “If you go out anytime after dark tonight, and look up to the southeast….”

    Pax, Lux, et Amor Mr. Horkheimer

  80. I remember him for his countdown to the first chance to see Halley’s Comet “with the naked eye”. Keep Looking Up.

  81. drow

    keep looking up.

  82. Anne Culver

    My favorite episode was just after Hurricane Andrew, when most of south Florida had no power, including Jack’s house. Though he lost trees and part of his house, his focus was on how wonderful the star-gazing was in the dark sky. On that night, there was special meaning to his trademark, “Keep looking up!”
    Thank you and we’ll look for you among the stars, Jack!

  83. Joanaroo

    I will always remember Jack Horkheimer as part of my college years in the early 80s. From analog TV to 24-hour PBS, I always looked forward to seeing him. Now I will look for an extra star in the sky at night!

  84. Samuel L.

    A little late in the thread, here’s the theme song from Jack’s show: Debussy’s Arabesque no 1 indeed it is, as performed by Japanese synthesizer master Isao Tomita.


    Godspeed, Jack!

  85. Trucker Doug

    I loved watching his stuff back in the day. Learned a lot from him.

  86. t-storm

    I always thought what he said was pretty cool. Kind of like Bob Ross, you may make fun of him but you might learn something, too.

  87. squirrelelite

    Jack will be much missed.

    I haven’t watched his show for a few years, but I used to tune in around midnight just before I went to bed.

    For a while I think I even scheduled taping it on my VHS recorder so I could keep up on what was going on in the sky.

    His style was corny, but informative and always fun. I enjoyed it.

  88. As soon as I saw this, I thought, “Oh, have to post something about ‘Star Hustler’ being on right after Doctor Who” (on Maryland Public Television for me). Awesome that so many people say the same thing. He will indeed be missed.

  89. starfury65

    For years I have stayed up to watch him. I will miss him and I will keep looking up.

  90. Adam

    Aww. I’m kind of bummed about this, even if I wasn’t much of a late-night PBS watcher until recently. (WEAO didn’t show it after Red Dwarf this summer. *grumble grumble*) I enjoyed his shows, he was kind of like my school district’s senior astronomy teacher and was very passionate about astronomy.

    I wonder if they’ll be able to find someone to take over hosting for Star Gazer, we need to keep this sort of programming around.

  91. Bill

    I enjoyed watching his short little show. Usually late, around 11, I believe. I’d watch it and go out and look up and gaze at the stars. He was fun to watch.

  92. Daniel J. Andrews

    I have fond memories of Jack on tv, and we would indeed look up. Years later when working in the big city I’d tell coworkers/friends about the night sky and what you could see from a dark place, and tell them, “Keep looking up”.

    Later one of my friends went camping in an area with no significant light pollution. He told me it was three days till he remembered to look up at the stars (he grew up in the city and had never really seen the stars that he recalled), and once he did, he was in awe. He grabbed his kids, dragged them out into the dark, and looked at the stars and Milky Way together. He said he now understood what “Keep looking up” meant–least to him.

    They still live in the big city, but every time they plan a camping trip they get excited about seeing the stars again. Keep looking up, indeed. Thank you, Jack.

  93. Guy Stalnaker

    Wow! More sad news. I grew up in Florida and our local PBS station (out of Gainesville) broadcast his show. He helped keep me inspired when I was growing up. Yes he was a tad overenthusiastic, but that was okay by me because until you’ve seen the sky away from the lights of the city, you can’t really understand why folks continue to keep looking up. I took a trip with friends to Atlanta one weekend when I was a Masters student at Florida State. On the way back we took a back road through rural Georgia. They were both city kids (D.C. and Atlanta) and had no idea why anyone would ever look up. I noticed the clear sky and stopped by the side of the road. They were confused until I told them to get out and look up. We spent a half hour in awe. They understood then. I still look up whenever I get a chance, especially on camping trips to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. The beauty never fails to entrance and awe me — and Jack early in my life helped instill the desire I still have to do that. Thanks, Jack!

  94. Jack Horkheimer’s show was an important part of my formative years. I was very pleased when I learned from another astronomy website that Jack’s current weekly shows were available on YouTube. Whenever I have wanted to let people know about some amazing astronomical event – right up to the “planetary triangle” of the beginning of this month – I have found it easier to just post Jack’s video for the week and let him do the explaining.

    The world needs its Jack Horkheimers, people who can share the wonder and amazingness of the universe with others through infectious enthusiasm and solid information. He will be missed. Who will pick up the torch?

  95. Gary Eller

    He was a great inspiration and I really loved his show. While I remember Carl Sagan had me curious about the wonder of scale and distant objects, Jack Horkheimer had me going in the backyard and just looking, well, up.

    He’ll be greatly missed.

  96. I never saw Star Hustler until I was a grown up, and the show was part of Sci Fi Friday on Iowa PTV. As a low-tech astronomer myself, I always appreciated that he constantly reminded people that all they needed was a little guidance, and a sky to look at. Even though we have telescopes and astronomy magazines and club newsletters filling up our house now, I still counted on Jack to tell me what I could see this week. When I have a chance to explain a little piece of the cosmos to others, I always try to emulate his enthusiastic sense of wonder. “Let.. me… show you!”

  97. Scott

    Wow, what a sad day. I remember when I was a kid, first getting started looking at the sky all the time, and I came across his show. I never figured out when it was on, but whenever I saw it, I dropped what I was doing to watch. Jack Horkheimer, without being too dramatic, changed my life. It’s a sad day. I’ve lost one of my heroes. The world is a worse place without him.

  98. Sue Stencel

    I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Jack a number of years ago when he visited Denver. I was apprehensive about the meeting because I was afraid that he’d be as high intensity as his Star Hustler persona. Jack was one of the funniest, best-read and most intelligent people that I have had the pleasure to know. We kept in touch over the years, and every so often, one of us would say, “We should go visit Jack”. It breaks my heart that I won’t see him again in this lifetime.

  99. I remember Jack from when I was a little kid! This news makes me so sad.

  100. Charlie in Dayton

    Always loved that show — in five minutes, you had all you needed for watching the sky any particular week.

    It was my privilege to be in the audience at TAM 1 for the Star Hustler’s talk. After it was over, he invited the audience to come up and see the props he used in his lecture. I got a major case of the “WOW’s” when he turned to me and dropped an ancient Roman coin in my hand, minted with the representation of a comet that foreshadowed something major happening to the Roman government (a new emperor was going to be born, one would die, someone else was going to do something drastic…the standard foggy prognostications…).

    Jack Horkheimer was an educator of the first rank. He will be missed for his efforts in publicizing astronomy, his gentle good humor, and those cheesy rugs (which he admitted to and laughed about himself).

    RIP, Star Hustler — now it’s our turn to carry on what you started.

  101. skylyre

    First saw Jack in my high school astronomy class. The teacher would tape each episode and we’d watch it in class every Friday. Sometimes we’d have homework related to what the episode was about or sometimes we’d even go check it out if we were able! I occasionally still watch them online too, my 4 year old likes him :)

    Love you Jack, you’ll be missed! You can be sure I’ll keep looking up.

  102. Ivan

    I’m a Spaniard that regularly reads this blog. I don’t comment often, I preffer learning but I’d like to comment that I didn’t know of this man.

    I’d like to add watching his videos that I wish I had someone like him in the Spanish TV teaching about stars the way he did. Very educative, quality tv, just the opposite to the little science we have in our public tv these days.

    Thanks Phil for introducing this man to this newbie of astronomy. Let him rest in peace.

    Keep up the good stuff

  103. Amelia E

    Every time I listen to “Arabesque” I hear his voice at that certain spot in the piece. I’ll also remember him every time I look at a toilet paper tube. :)

  104. Greg Kibitz

    He’s still on my PBS station (Maine Public Broadcasting) at sign-off every single night, or at least still was. He will be missed as he was one of the Good Guys!

    I hope they just keep showing his shows for many years to come in repeat, or at least the ones tht remain more or less accruate plus or minus exact days of course (damn mis-match between “real” space-time and man’s silly artifices, like a regualr cylical clocks and calandars that tries to force 365 and 1/4+ days into just 365, not to mention the difference between sidereal and solar).

    I also wish they would show his show on sat/sun mornings, along with Bill Nye, Mr. Wizard and all the other way better things that are neither Dora, Purple Dinosaurs or Yellow Birds and Puppets (not that they are bad, I still like them too, but that stuff gets old real fast, that is if you are a wee little junior scientist in training!! And we all know we need far more of them, and far less “touchy-feelly always happy, and all about the self-ego escapists.”)

  105. thebluesader

    As a kid, astronomy meant two things to me: Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Jack Horkheimer. My local Fox station would run Next Gen from 11 to midnight, and then I’d switch over to my local PBS just in time for Star Gazer. For a kid with a big imagination, you could not have crafted a more perfect coincidence. I remember actually getting anxious when I heard the Star Gazer theme, the same way I got anxious any time I went to a planetarium – “What kind of awesome stuff am I going to learn about today? OMG, space is so cool!”

    This proves, yet again, that high production values do not a cool science show make. Science itself is cool, and super-thanks to guys like Jack Horkheimer and those who’ve followed, like Neil Tyson Degrasse, Bill Nye, and a CERTAIN ASTRONOMY BLOGGER / AUTHOR / TV SHOW HOST, for understanding that science explained in a straight-forward manner is some of the best TV, and imagination fodder, ever.

    Kudos, Jack. It’s in large part thanks to you that I DO keep looking up.

  106. Grand Lunar

    I remember watching Jack when I was a kid.
    And I always got a kick out of him. He made astronomy fun and cool for me.

    I looked forward to hearing from him and was tickled when we was on the news (the same feeling I get from seeing you on TV, Phil).

    I know I’ll miss his presence.

    And though it’s been said by others here, I know I’ll keep looking up.

  107. He inspired me.
    I really loved his shows and enthusiasm.

  108. Beelzebud

    This literally brings a tear to my eye… He was the first person that really got me interested in astronomy, and showed that you could do it right in your own back yard. Because of him I got my first telescope.

    It’s nice to see that he touched so many people’s lives.

  109. Roger

    Thanks to this man, I cemented my reputation as an inveterate high-school nerd while on a class trip to Columbia, South Carolina.

    We were all huddled around the TV in our teacher’s hotel room late at night when Jack Horkheimer’s segment came on the local PBS channel.

    Without stopping to think what I was saying, I blurted out: “Ooh! Star Hustler!!”

    For all the dorks out there, Jack, R.I.P. You will be missed.

  110. M.A. Kinnaman

    I loved this guy, he was the one that got me interested in astronomy with his show on PBS. It was called Star Hustler when it first came out. Jack you did a lot of good in the way you approached the science of astronomy, RIP.

  111. ccpetersen

    As a long-time planetarian and fulldome show producer, I’ve known Jack since the early 1980s, when we first met him at a planetarium conference in Memphis. Then, a short while later, I had the chance to hang with Jack and his friends at another conference — and he was witty, funny, urbane, and had great stories to tell. I hadn’t seen Jack much the past few years and am sad to hear of his passing.

  112. Michael Suttkus, II

    I hardly know what to write here.

    Jack was one of the good people. He knew how important it was to reach out to people. He reached out to me.

    The world is a little smaller today.

  113. Benjamin Franklin

    So many great things in life are taken for granted….. After a long day Jack would appear in millions of homes, beaming about the stars, filling you with knowledge and topping it off with a quirky lullaby. Well, here’s a lullaby for you Jack: Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks. Annnnnnnd, someone had better name some huge telescope, the next generation of space ships, and a heavenly body after you – after all the people you’ve inspired, you’ve earned it.

  114. Benjamin Franklin

    So many great things in life are taken for granted….. After a long day Jack would appear in millions of homes, beaming about the stars, filling you with knowledge and topping it off with a quirky lullaby. Well, here’s a lullaby for you Jack: Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks.

  115. Dave

    I’m saddened to hear of this news. Always looked to his shows late in the evenings here in Wisconsin. It was due to Jack that prompted me to support my local PBS Station and lead me to purchasing my first telescope to be intrigued by the heavens. If you look up just hard enough, you can see Jack on the rings of Saturn! Thanks Jack for all the wonderful years! Godspeed!

  116. Damn. Just damn.
    He WILL be missed!

  117. Laura Neville

    And another Damn. One of my favorites has left the planet…He was such an enthusiastic educator for so many of us and we will never see another quite like him!

  118. John from Illinois

    The PBS station in St. Louis used to carry his shows and I always taped them to watch at a more reasonable time. He always made star-gazing fun and I enjoyed going to his website to read what was coming up (literally) in the sky.
    You did a good job, Jack. We will “keep looking up!”

  119. walexander

    I remember him well. I used to catch his short series on PBS and then go put the tips to use on my Meade. I haven’t caught him in a while and i’m very sad to hear he’s gone.

    Thanks for posting the clip and bringing this to my attention. He’ll be missed.

  120. Pete

    He was the director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium, where my geeky friends and I would hang out as kids. The planetarium shows were quirky and wonderful. I’ll miss him.

  121. Amred

    Oh, wow. I remember seeing his show all the time on PBS. My dad loves astronomy, so often we’d watch the show, wait until it got dark enough, and then go out and look at the stars. I learned so much about the universe that way. He’ll be very much missed.

  122. will

    I’m yet another person who grew up watching Dr. Who followed by the Star Hustler (thank you Wisconsin Public Television!) – very sad news indeed.

  123. Dave Hall

    I sometimes don’t know who inspired me to sit out at night looking at the sky more: Carl Sagan & Cosmos or Jack Horkheimer and Star Hustler (as his show was then known).

    Sagan made it all seem profound and moving. Jack made it damned fun.

    I think Jack’s naked eye astronomy made it more accessable to some of us who, for various reasons, had little access to a telescope or a plantarium. He showed us that we could do astronomy.
    Thanks Jack! I’ll keep looking up and thinking of you.

  124. Dan

    Man, this bums me out. I learned an awful lot about astronomy by watching his show, and his passion for the subject was infectious.

  125. Troy

    I was really surprised to see this as I had just subscribed to his youtube channel and he’s been making new ones until quite recently. One thing that was great about his show is that it could squeeze between other shows and give you a heads up about what planets anyone with eyes could see. When you see astrology plastered everywhere it was refreshing to see an actual astronomy tidbit now and then. Sorry to see him go.

  126. John

    Probably like everyone else, as a kid (and night-owl) I stumbled on Star Hustler and thought Jack was kinda quirky, really geeky, and fairly interesting. Once I accepted I’m also quirky and geeky, I started to really look forward to his show. Much like Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, I loved the music and his infectious enthusiasm. Now, as a middle-aged amateur astronomer, this news greatly saddens me. I’m going to miss him. I guess as the brilliance of Carl and Jack pass to the aether, new greats like Brian Cox and Michio Kaku step up to take their place. Perhaps that’s the greatest legacy, and honor, of all. RIP.

  127. jimbo

    man. what a bummer. quite the loss from the cosmic perspective.

  128. Ken Nelson

    Jack and I worked together back in the 70’s when I narrated many of the programs at the planetarium while anchoring radio and television news in Miami. I will never forget the PBS program we aired together from WPBT studios called, “The Night The Moon Turned Red.” I’m retired living in Indianapolis now, but I will always cherish Jack’s love of the stars and his enthusiastic desire to share that with the world. May his spirit live on. Thanks for your friendship Jack and the many years I had the pleasure of working with you.

  129. EvilHick

    I to grew up watching Jack. He sparked my interest in astronomy.

    The best way we all can remember him Fellow Star Gazers ..is to “Keep looking up!”

  130. CyndyD

    I don’t know how many songs they will accept, but NASA is currently asking the public to vote on the final Shuttles’ wake up call music, and I am inviting all his fans to join me in nominating the theme song to “The Star Hustler”, in honor of Jack Horkheimer, who just passed away (into the Universe.) The Star Hustler theme is “Arabesque” by Debussy. It may not be Rock and roll, but I think he deserves such an honor for inspiring so many to pick up a telescope, or just go outside & ‘look up’ at the stars and planets and for those who went on to be scientists and astronomers. Esp. when we really need his kind of enthusiasm to jettison more of America’s kids into science ! So go to NASA’s site and vote now!

  131. Horkheimer made the highest and best use of television as a medium of education. I would go so far as to say that, in total viewers and total effect, he is the single most successful popularizer of astronomy since Kepler and Galileo.

    He blazed a great trail, showing us how to get people interesting in low-technology star gazing. That paid huge dividends for science research, and science study. It also paid huge dividends in family cohesiveness and general mental health.

    The most serious questions we have to answer in the wake of Jack’s death revolve around the issues of who will follow him? And, why aren’t more people, planetariums, and science societies copying his methods?

  132. Sir Craig

    When I first arrived in the Omaha area, one of my favorite nights on TV was Saturday SciFi on the local Iowa PBS station, and it was always kicked off with Jack Horkheimer’s Star Hustler. His enthusiasm for conjunctures of stars and planets always amused me and was a great beginning to a night that featured Red Dwarf, Dr. Who, and Blake’s 7. He was also responsible for me catching Comet Hale-Bopp at the best moment and sharing that with my co-workers.

    I’ll miss his over-the-top enthusiasm – there are too damned few people who have the ability to make non-scientists such as myself aware and enthusiastic about the cosmos, and that number just went down by one very large personality.

    I’m not religious, but I’d like to imagine that Jack is still being just as enthusiastic about the stars now that he is with them.

  133. J Conlin

    I often had terrible insomnia as a kid and saw many of Jack’s programs in the mid-80s just before the Star Spangled Banner and test patterns. He was silly, but the excitement for the sky got me looking up.

    Through my 20s I worked for NASA on educational and outreach programs as well as a few shuttle payloads. I purchased a 10″ Dob and sat in the fields around Goddard Space Flight Center at night just looking at the simple objects in wonder. I can’t even hear Arabesque without thinking of the weird guy in the Members Only jacket and bad toupe (both of which seemed like a joke he was very much in on)

    Interesting point – I also play jazz organ and was surprised to find out today while reading some of his obits that he, too, was a successful jazz organ player in the 60s.

    What a great life… and now he’s got the best view anyone could ask for.

    Many thanks, Jack!

  134. I actually learned of him AFTER teaching astronomy for a year at a summer camp. Like others who have posted here, I was amazed by his enthusiasm – and crazy voice.

    KEEP LOOKING UP. Yeah… keep looking up.

  135. Morbid Florist

    Thanks for all you’ve done, Jack. Keep Looking Up!

    On a side note, anyone know how to get all of the past episodes? I want to have them for my kids when they are older.

  136. Timmy

    The Star Hustler will always be the face and the voice of Astronomy to me.

    Something that I like about his shows: Everything he told you about could be seen with the naked eye just by looking up. Astronomy doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.

  137. AtomicTommy

    I used to love seeing him on PBS to close out my Saturday night of british television shows when I was a kid. Sad to hear of his passing.

  138. Grand Lunar

    Doing a web search for articles on Horkheimer, one of the longer ones comes from my local paper. Glad they gave more room to him.
    I forgot he worked out of Miami! All this time, he was only about an hour south of me!

  139. Willthecoug

    I am so sad to hear of Jack’s passing. While I am only an amateur astronomer, he certainly stoked the fire of my interest into a life-long hobby. Anyone who can interest young people in science and mathematics deserves our respect. There are too few out there anymore. You will be missed Mr. Horkheimer, you certainly had an impact on my life. You made me want to keep looking up!

  140. Tezcatlipoca

    Like many others I used to catch the Star Hustler on PBS on Saturday nights. I was just browsing podcasts and thought I saw Star Hustler as I was going to Skeptoid. I even learned something new today from the clip. I now know how to find my latitude in the Northern Hemisphere! Thanks Star Hustler!

  141. TFM

    I’m very saddened by the news of his passing. He was a rare person who truly loved what he did, and his enthusiasm was contagious. I’ve been watching him for years whenever I could catch his program. No matter what an unpleasant day I might have had, I’d perk up when I’d hear the first strains of his intro and be grinning by the end of that night’s episode, eager to go outside and see the wonder for myself, putting the day to bed. One of my favorite episodes is when he was describing the constellation, Scorpius, and his joyful, enthusiastic way of describing Antares as “the fiery heart of the scorpion!”

    Jack’s fiery heart for astronomy inspired me in a career in science and, indirectly, home-buying! I recently purchased a small home, and it took a while to find just the right one because, besides the obvious things one wants in a home, I had to be able to see the stars because of my country upbringing and Jack.

    May our love for Jack, music and science never diminish, and may we pass these gifts on to future generations. I know I’ll keep looking up in more ways than one thanks to Jack. You will be missed, Sir.

  142. Chet Twarog

    Yep, he was a classic! Used his cd’s in class. I briefly met him at his Miami planetarium/museum a few yrs back. Great guy. Irreplaceable. I just hope someone as talented continues the show.

  143. F etscorn

    we used to take avbreak during star parties to watch his show. He will be missed

  144. Kerin

    I loved his show! He taught me so much about our night skies. He will be missed in my house.

  145. gary craver

    This is sad to learn. Didn’t find out till I got an e-mail about a 2 moon thing happening. Thought I’d “Google” Jack, cause he would know–then saw the news. I am bummed by this. I wasn’t a faithful watcher, but he was a favorite. Thank you Jack for your enthusiasm, knowledge, delivery and entertainment. Will miss you!

  146. Pegasus

    So sad for all of us. He followed Dr. Who in Casper, as well. As many have said, you have to love a person so enthusiastic and passionate about their job. Jack, you will be missed…

  147. Pat Morrissey/Havlin

    I worked with Jack in the 70s at the Museum of Science & Space Transit Planetarium in Miami, his astronomical home. He was amazing in so many ways, especially as a promoter. Not many folks were coming to the “star shows,” so when he wrote “Child of the Universe,” he decided to hold an Opening Night with a reception for the media, just like for a theatre play. A really big success, there were reviews of the show in the papers & TV. And of course, “Child” is his best remembered show.
    When I was in NY visiting my husband’s family, my mother-in-law had to watch Star Hustler whenever it was on. She was most impressed that I knew Jack and asked for his autograph!
    I am an astrologer with an astronomical background and science degree. You’d better believe that Jack & I had lots of discussions about my dark side!
    Sure, I’ll miss the person, but all those wonderful memories and valuable lessons…the man will live forever!

  148. dcsohl

    I’ve just realized that every time I see the constellation of Orion, somewhere in the back of my head is Jack Horkheimer saying, “AlniTAK – AlniLAM – and MinTAKA!”

    RIP, Star Hustler.

  149. MAC

    Just learned about Jack’s passing – damn shame. Anyone who grew up in south Florida and had even a passing interest in science watched his show, and I happened to catch it at that impressionable age that turned me into a lifelong science and astronomy geek. I remember visiting the Space Transit Planetarium when I was finally old enough to drive, but Jack wasn’t there, and I was very disappointed. Wish I could have met him; they don’t make many such unique souls any more.

  150. I enjoyed his show for years! He will be missed.

  151. A Annola

    How nice of you to dedicate this page to him. That’s a wonderful picture of the two of you. YES HE WILL BE MISSED. May The Almighty give Jack the best view of all of the Heavens. He was definitely the impetus for my interest in the sky. So long, be at peace and much love and respect :-).

  152. Lassie

    I just now learned of his death – what a shock! Always watched his little show after ‘Red Green’ on PBS. I was always amused by his overwhelming enthusiasm over those little pinpoints up in the sky! RIP, Jack!

  153. Ike

    So sad. I have enjoyed his shows for years and have always gone out to enjoy what he talked about. I’ve learned more about the stars through his show than by any other means. He always made it seem so easy to star gaze and get ‘viewing pleasure’ by just looking up. He will most definitely be missed. Blessings upon your family and may you rest in peace.

  154. jarvis

    I just saw an episode of star gazer and to my surprise old jack was not hosting upon searching the net i learned of his passing. Witch i am truly saddened by Ive been watching since i was a kid.and everytime i heard that tune i was brought back to that time when times were simpler. R.i.p. Jack you were a teacher to us all and will missed. I will continue to watch but alas it wont be the same. Keep your eye on the stars he will be keeping a eye on us all.

  155. Dave

    I also just saw a Star Gazer and Jack wasn’t on. A quick Google led here. Bye Jack; always enjoyed your show.

  156. Tina

    I was saddened to hear this news only today; I was watching a new episode with a young astronomer, I didn’t know Jack has passed away. And then I saw his picture, dates, and later I searched out his obit. He was a wonderful ambassador for astronomy. He made it fun and interesting. I will miss this program on PBS as it was so entertaining and relevant. Thanks Jack, RIP.

  157. Nicki

    Jack’s energy and passion will forever live in my heart and mind. His enthusiasm is unsurpassed and has been so very touching during many formidable times of my life. His legacy will be carried on forever as he is indeed a special on-of-a-kind being that the universe is blessed to know.

  158. Susan and Will

    Jack will be sorely missed at our house also.

  159. Jesse

    So many great memories of staying up late to see what was happening in the heavens. Jack was a friend I never met, who inspired me to get off the couch, out of the house, and to ponder. I’ll always be looking up. Thanks, Jack.

  160. JDub

    Jack, we’ll miss you. You were a great inspiration to this long time viewer to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the night skies. RIP Jack.

  161. Rick Gibson

    I just found out about this. I’m a little sad to hear it. Jack was an influence on my love of science from an early age. I remember it was a little frustrating being 4 years old and trying to understand what he was talking about, but I still tried.

  162. Ron Z

    I too just found out about Jack , this is “sad” . My PBS station would always air Jack at sign-off , many years I watch or waited to catch him . He started me looking at the stars , I was a TV baby . Not many people in this world , who had a silent following of people as JACK did. We have never met , I wish I could have thanked you before . Thanks Jack , RIP

  163. elizab

    i was just thinking of how much i missed his show and wanted to know what he was doing now. when i googled his name i find this sad news. i loved watching his show before bedtime. i always think of him when i drive out to country to watch meteor showers.

  164. MaggdelaW

    As a child, he inspired in me the need to “keep looking up.” Now he is with his beloved stars. Memory Eternal Jack!!

  165. Dutch

    Just came back to the States and found out Jack was gone….I had been watching him since the 70’s….Peace be with you Jack…I miss you, you are one of a kind.


    Damn! i grew up loving this guy and his little 7-10 min show on pbs in Chicago :( hes why i got my first telescope all those years ago im in my mid 30s now, it may have been posted here but if not itunes has an enormous amount of his videos for free he did video podcasts all the way up to just before he died. you will be missed and we will all keep looking up.

  167. Michele

    R.I.P., Mr. Horkheimer. My dad and I used to stay up watching your show when I was a little girl, and we’d base our stargazing outings on it.

  168. David

    have seen the new guy on StarGazer and wondered where Jack was. I’m sure he’s really excited about his ringside seat for the upcoming full lunar eclipse. RIP

  169. Scott

    Growing up in the St. Louis area, Jack was a must see after going out with friends on the weekend. Get home, flip on the television to watch Jack just before KETC signed off for the night. That was 25 years ago when I was in High School. Thanks for the memories Jack.

  170. Altair

    I just learned now that my astronomy hero is gone from this life. I have been very busy with a new baby boy and my oldest son, Tristan, (4) is loving astronomy just like my wife and me. I was showing him episodes of recent celestial events when I noticed that Jack Horkheimer passed away.

    I grew up in northwest NJ and was a Dr. Who fanatic. I always signed off with the NJ PBS station as they ended with Star Hustler. This was in 1984. I was 14 and in awe of that 5 minute show. It helped me become more serious and absolutely passionate about astronomy. Until I was talked out of it I wanted to be an astronomer, but I never stopped “looking up!”

    I have enjoyed life more because of observational astronomy as well as endless reading, and because of Jack Horkheimer. He educated me and inspired me. I absolutely loved him. My wife grew up in Baltimore and watched him around the same time period. It was great when we both discovered that.

    Since Jack apparently has no living relatives, I know that everyone there at the Miami planetarium is his family and I wish to offer my condolences as well as my congratulations on having had the opportunity to know and work with him. The world over is truly and unarguably a better place because of his life and how he chose to spend and share it. Thank you to you all who supported him and for letting him talk you into his world of ideas over 30 years ago!

    God bless you all, and goodbye for now, Jack.

  171. I tend to be preaching some thing comparable to everyone who’ll listen.

  172. Steve

    I remember this show when I was little, and I just heard a whistling tune on TV that reminded me of it. After a brief Google search, to my surprise (and dismay), I just found out that he passed away last year.
    RIP Jack. You always cured my curiosity in astronomy. You now belong to the heavens you always educated me about.

  173. Johnna Wilcox

    I grew up watching Jack on PBS. He was a part of my childhood just as Sesame Street was. After growing up he continued to grace our family tv and my children loved watching him as well. We will miss him and that terrifically creapy music at the end of his show. “Until Next time….remember to keep looking up”! I know we will continue and we have a new star to look for…the one the with Jack’s name on it. Thank you Jack for 30 plus years of education
    and I thank you for me and my children.

  174. I’ve always loved looking up at the stars in the night sky. Jack Horkheimer’s passing is like losing an old friend. I will greatly miss his nightly Star Gazer shows. I am sorry he’s gone from this world and I hope to see him in Heaven someday.

  175. Isidoro DeLaRosa Jr

    Dear Jack,I know youre up there,out there,in the galactic heavens.And as I keep looking up,I ask you Jack, please show me a sign.

  176. MIchele

    I met Jack on a monumental day. 12 April 1981, the launch of the first space shuttle. To say my DH was a NASA enthusiast was a true understatement. We had driven from Illinois with our three young children to do a little vacationing and we had tickets to sit on some causeway on the Banana River. We arrived the night before and struck up a conversation with a man named Jack and his friend Buzz. It seemed that Jack was the head of a planetarium in Miami. Buzz was a pathologist who worked for Dade County specializing in “hit men”. We spent several hours together and all stood together, taking loads of pictures while the shuttle lifted off. Then it was over. I will never forget how nice Jack and Buzz were. My littlest child had been bitten by mosquitoes and was just miserable. Buzz gave me some benadry that he had, to help her sleep until they stopped itching so much. I will always remember how nice they were.


  177. I flew the stars at Miami Space Transit as part of the crew with Jack Horkheimer and Arthur Barton in the late seventies and early eighties. I performed the last human operated “Child of the Universe” to several busloads of Scandanavian tourists. Jack taught me how to dissolve a bright image into a dim image and make the colors swim into place. The automation was a cold crossfade that never changed. I told the crowd that this was the last human show and that I was running the original slides and audio from the first presentation. It was out of date–some of the satellites had not gotten to the outer planets, but that was forgiven. The colors were rich and true, and the quad sound was smooth as silk. In the end when I melted the baby into the Earth with softly brightening blue clouds whisping the coves, the audience stood up and applauded. Thanks, Jack for that experience. Bye for now..

  178. Jack has meant so much to so many people. I first saw Jack when I was 7 years old on our local PBS station (WPBT-Miami) as he hosted a special report on the May 1975 lunar eclipse. My Dad and I watched the program, went outside to check out the eclipse, and went back in to watch Jack some more. I thought it was cool that the moon was turning red, and Jack was so enthusiastic about the eclipse as well. As a teenager, I eventually worked part-time at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium as a console operator, and in my eight years there, I performed many of the planetarium shows that Jack Horkheimer produced and directed. My favorites were “Child of the Universe”, “Comet Mania” and “Who Killed the Dinosaurs and the Great Chicago Fire”. When I left for college, I decided to get my degree in Astronomy and now (almost 20 years later) I’m the director of a planetarium and I also have the honor of co-hosting the show which Jack loved so much, “Star Gazer” (formerly “Star Hustler”). It’s been almost a year since Jack passed, but I wanted to post this here as a way to publicly thank Jack for all he did to encourage and excite people all over the world about the wonders of the cosmos. Thanks Jack. :)

    “So out under the stars with you, my friends… and whatever you do, remember to Keep looking up!” :)

  179. Jim Barkley

    Jack and Carl Sagan both made Astronomy accessible to the rest of us and their shared enthusiasm made it fun. They are and will continue to be missed.

  180. Allison

    Sad that Jack isn’t here to give us the scoop on the supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy. Thank you, Jack, for interesting so many of us in the stars. I’ve been looking up all these years because of you. Although it’s not quite the same, I’m glad your young friend has kept your show and legacy going on!

  181. Mahatma Koate

    Jack Porkpuller was quite the astronomer. I love Debussey’s theme song,the hook for all watchers.

  182. i live in california.i used to visit my mom in south florida.i used to watch star gazer (jack horkheimer)all the time.i,ve always loved astronomy. i miss star gazer(jack). keep looking up

  183. Sean Harper

    As a child I would stay up late Friday nights to watch PBS as I was regaled with the wonderful tales of The Doctor in Doctor Who, but right before the Doctor whizzed off to adventure Jack Horkheimer would tell me about the planets in our own neighborhood. It was this that started my love of space, Along with other notables such as Dave Lister of the Jupiter Mining corp vessel Red Dwarf, the man from Gallifrey the Doctor, Dr. Carl Sagan, and many others that led to my decision to become a scientist. But it is all due to the man who kept reminding me as a child to “Keep looking up!” Jack you’re sorely missed, and you’ll never be replaced. May your voyages amongst the stars post mortem be as thrilling as the Doctors, and remember to keep looking up!

  184. Robert Yetter

    Spent many an evening watching Mr. Horkheimer zip through and elaborate on the heavens. His show was awesome. I loved his program. I am saddened tonight to discover he died some time back. Goodnight Jack, I so hope you are zipping through the heavens now!

  185. Deborah Stewart

    This explains a lot. So sorry to hear of his demise. My son and I rarely missed him in the late 80s & 90s. We’d often run outside after the show to examine the sky.

    Bought my grandson, his son, a small telescope for Christmas which required some assembly. Naturally we had to test it to make sure it was assembled properly. That’s when we looked up Jack online to see what we should be looking for and read the sad news.

    I bet Jack is responsible for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of kids gaining at least enough respect for science, that they otherwise wouldn’t have, to make them curious for life. That is a very precious gift to give.

    God bless, Jack.

  186. Cliff and Cindy

    I just found out today that Jack had passed away. I grew up in south Florida and went to the Miami Planetarium many times as a child and adult. It was magical to sit in there and watch the stars come to life. When I married my wife learned to love it too and we would take children from our church to see the shows. When we left Miami in 1977 at the top of our list of things we would miss was the Miami Planetarium and that was because of Jack Horkeimer and his wonderful talent. His passing leaves a big hole in my heart for my childhood memories along with another childhood hero of mine “Skipper Chuck” Zink. I will miss him and I’ll keep looking up.

  187. Jae

    When the day comes when your heart gets touched by something that someone did, the least we can do is to pause a moment and reflect on how rich, how special that moment is. I had forgotten The Star Hustler show until my son and I were talking about old times when he was young and how special the show was to him. I was moved, because I would watch Jack and little did I know that my little son, who was only 4 or 5 at the time, would remember Jack and His Star Hustler show. Together, my son and I shared all the wonderful times we would have watching the show. Jack became part of my family and touched our hearts in a special way that even family members never do. There are no words that I can express how touching his show was, both to me and my son. I pray that he is at peace and blessed for helping to make our lives a little bit better. We miss you Jack and we shall surely, “Keep Looking Up!”

  188. Cynthia

    So Sad. We love Jack!

  189. D

    Used to love watching this when I stayed up nights for my paper route in high school, about the age when I discovered “camp” as in campiness.

    The Debussy song was an enchanting celestial accompaniment that couldn’t have been more perfect.

    I wish the new “Star Gazer” show would fix itself and maintain some of the tradition in demeanor and style.

    R.I.P., Jack

  190. rick

    I actually corrected Jack on an NPR segment once, and they changed it for the next broadcast. Can’t remember the exact issue, but it was one that a reasonably scientific type shouldn’t have made. I did like his show, and his enthusiasm, though some of the things he got excited about were really no big deal. I wonder if his being gay played any role in dumping the “hustler” part of his name.


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