Star Hustler passes away

By Razib Khan | August 20, 2010 8:18 pm

A little “off topic” for this blog’s core content, but Jack Horkheimer, the “Star Hustler/Star Gazer” passed away today. Here’s vintage 1985:

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  • Rik Hill

    I was shocked to hear of Jack’s passing. Very sad, especially since he is exactly 11 years older than my young self!

    Jack and I were guest speakers for an eclipse trip in 1992 to Hawaii. We had a ball and I could tell many very funny stories about our speaking at Cranbrook Inst. of Sci. in Bloomfield, MI to help promote the tour and some of the things on the tour, but the story I like best happened in Hawaii. One night when everyone was dead tired we all took the boat back to our rooms at the Wiakaloa in Kona. The boat let us off at a landing near our rooms and there was a bar there. Jack had taken his rug off at that point, a clear signal that things would start to get fun. He said he was going in for a drink and I said I’d join him after I took my exhausted wife and young daughter to our room. It takes little time to go up a couple floors, see them safely in and then return, but by the time I returned to the bar Jack had everyone making planisphere star finders! They were having a ball and he clearly, in the space of a few minutes, controlled the crowd and had them eating out of his hand. That was pure Jack Horkheimer!!

    -Rik Hill
    Catalina Sky Survey
    Lunar & Planetary Lab.
    Univ. of AZ

  • Georg

    reading about “Jack” here I looked up the translation
    of “hustler”. All meanings I found are rather ahem,
    like Hustler magazine.
    Did I miss something?
    Btw, is Jack related to Max Horkheimer?

  • GH

    Keep looking up, Jack!

  • Brian Too

    @3. Georg,

    Watch the video clip again. I think it tells you all of what was important about Jack.

    I remember these sort of clips running for years on the tube. He was always enthusiastic, always plain-speaking, never stuffy. The nerd index was extremely high but it was family-friendly and you somehow felt certain that he loved the topic. You’d watch even if you didn’t really care about astronomy, which is saying something.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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