Jack Whitaker Biography
Jack Whitaker (John Francis Whitaker) was an American sportscaster who worked for both CBS and ABC. His Hall of Fame broadcasting career ranged from the first Super Bowl to Secretariat’s Triple Crown to short essays from major sporting events. He died on August 18, 2019 of natural causes in his sleep in Devon, Pennsylvania. He was the only remaining living play-by-play announcer from the first 21 Super Bowls.
Whitaker attended Northeast Catholic High School graduating in 1941. He later joined Saint Joseph’s University graduating in 1947. He began his career in broadcasting at WPAM in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He later moved to WCAU in 1950 where he did local weather broadcasts as well as other local announcing duties. He then joined CBS’ Philadelphia station.
In 1997 he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Saint Joseph’s University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He also received a Sports Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Whitaker also served in the United States Army during World War II, according to The Desert Sun. He landed on Omaha Beach three days after D-Day in 1944 and was honorably discharged the following year.
Jack Whitaker Age
Jack was 95 years old at the time of his death; he was born on May 18, 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Jack Whitaker Wife
Jack is survived by his wife Patricia Whitaker. He was previously married to tennis star Nancy Chaffee from 1991 until her death in 2002.
Jack Whitaker Children
Whitaker is survived by his two daughters Marybeth Helgevold and Ann Hanan; and sons Gerry, Whitaker, Jack Whitaker III and Kevin Whitaker.
Jack Whitaker Sports Announcer
Jack Whitaker CBS Sports
In 1961 Whitaker joined CBS Sports where he did play-by-play for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League and hosted the anthology series CBS Sports Spectacular among other duties. He worked for the station for more than two decades.
He is best remembered for his coverage of golf and horse racing. He covered thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown Events, golf’s four major championships, the very first Super Bowl, championship boxing, the National Professional Soccer League in 1967, the North American Soccer League a year later, and Major League Baseball. He was a studio host for The NFL Today at CBS, the network’s pre-game show.
He was also a game show host, he hosted ‘The Face Is Familiar’, a celebrity panel show for CBS, in the summer of 1966. He later became known for his pre-game and post-game essays at major sporting events.
In 1966 he was banned from covering the Masters golf tournament for CBS for five years after he referred to a patron gallery at Augusta National Golf Club as a “mob” at the end of the 18-hole playoff. He was allowed to return to the telecast in 1972.
Jack Whitaker ABC
In 1982 Whitaker joined ABC as a reporter for both news and sports divisions. He was a part of ABC’s sports team at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and the 1984 Winter and Summer Olympic Games. He also reported sports for ABC’s World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20. He left ABC around 2004, and retired from broadcasting soon after.
Jack Whitaker Dead
Whitaker died on August 18, 2019 of natural causes in his sleep in Devon, Pennsylvania.
His death was confirmed by CBS, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus issued a statement saying; “There will never be another Jack Whitaker in sports broadcasting. His amazing writing ability, on-air presence and humanity are unmatched. His unique perspective on sports ranging from horse racing to golf to NFL football was extraordinary. My father and Jack shared an incredible respect for each other and had the warmest of friendships that lasted for decades. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jack’s family.”
Jim Nantz, CBS Sports broadcaster, also released a statement saying; “When I first met Jack Whitaker in 1986 at Pebble Beach, I felt like I had just been introduced to Ernest Hemingway. I grew up watching him deliver contemplative and contextual prose with his famous short essays, bringing class and dignity to his industry. He was enormously proud to have called Super Bowl I for CBS and was the last surviving network commentator from that landmark game. I spoke to him this week after hospice came to his home and his mind was still brilliantly sharp right to the end.”
Jack Whitaker Obituary
Really saddened by the news that the great Jack Whitaker has passed away. Jack was a World War II vet and one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time.
He worked for @CBSSports, NBC, and ESPN for decades covering the NFL and horse racing. https://t.co/EIf6oZFix6
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) August 18, 2019
A decade ago I got a Super Bowl assignment from NBC and Dick Ebersol was having trouble explaining just what he wanted from me in the post-game show. Finally he said “Wait. What I want is your Jack Whitaker.”
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 18, 2019
I grew up watching my dad’s VHS tapes of horse racing telecasts hosted by Jack Whitaker. He was so great. https://t.co/BIeUrnoiiO
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 18, 2019