June 10, 2008

TV Sports Icon Jim McKay Dies

Wide World of Sports Fixture was 86

Jim McKay

Respected veteran sportscaster Jim McKay, died Saturday of natural causes at his farm in Monkton, MD. He was 86.

He was probably best known for his years working for ABC Sports on the Wide World of Sports franchise as well as covering 12 Olympic Games - all for ABC with the exception of 2002 for NBC.

McKay was also lauded for his coverage of the historic 1972 Munich Olympic Games for ABC during which he famously uttered the words "They're all gone" during breaking news coverage of the Israeli athlete kidnapping situation by Palestinian terrorists. 

He was also the sportscaster on hand during Wide World of Sports on that infamous day when the ski jumper flew off the side of the jump in a wild cartwheeling wipe out, and it was his voice you heard for the next several decades when that scene was shown at the start of every broadcast.

Born James McManus and a veteran of the U.S. Navy in World War II, Jim started his career as a newspaper reporter in Baltimore then switched to television when the paper started its own station and hosted a weekday show called The Sports Parade.

Later he changed his professional name while working in New York for a show called The Real McKay. In addition to his long career in sports television, McKay was a minority owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

His son Sean McManus is currently President of CBS News and Sports. Along with Sean, Jim is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Margaret and a daughter, Mary. .

Jim McKay talks with the Archive of American Television

In October 1998, the Archive of American Television interviewed television sportscasting legend Jim McKay.

The complete interview is available for viewing at the AAT office, located on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences plaza in North Hollywood. Contact the Television Archive at (818) 754-2800 for more information.

To learn more about this life and works of this American Archive of Television personality online, please visit the Archive of American Television Update blog.

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