➦In 1936...singer Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas. His biggest hit was “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which stayed at No. 1 for three weeks in 1964. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and died of a heart attack on Dec. 6, 1988, in Madison, Tenn., at age 52.
➦In 1995...Radio, TV sportscaster and personality Howard Cosell died of a heart embolism at age 77 (Born Howard William Cohen March 25, 1918). He was most prominent and influential on radio, television and print media from the early 1960s into the mid 1980s.
Cosell was an union attorney in NYC and some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career. Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.
Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.
Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".
Cosell's style of reporting very much transformed sports broadcasting. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context arguably brought television sports reporting very close to the kind of in-depth reporting one expected from "hard" news reporters. At the same time, however, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.
➦In 2004…Bill Brundige, a member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a fixture on Southland radio and television stations for three decades, has died. He was 89.
Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Brundige served as West Coast sports director for the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II and received the Helms Athletic Foundation award for his entertainment contributions to the men and women serving in the Pacific.
Later, Brundige was an announcer for baseball's Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators, and football's Detroit Lions. It was Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, who brought Brundige to Southern California to broadcast games for the Angels, a minor league team that had the name long before Gene Autry purchased an American League expansion team that began play in 1961.
He retired after ending a broadcasting career of more than 40 years with a talk show on Anaheim's KEZY.