SAN DIEGO (AP) — Charlie Jones, the deep-voiced sportscaster whose career as a play-by-play announcer dated to the beginning of the American Football League in 1960, has died. He was 77.
Jones died of a massive heart attack Thursday at his home in the La Jolla district of San Diego, said his wife, Ann. Jones, who retired in the late 1990s, had been in poor health for several years, she said.
Jones worked for ABC and NBC in a career spanning 38 years. “He said, ‘I never felt like I ever went to work,”‘ Ann Jones said Friday. “He loved it. He said, ‘I’ve got the best seat in the house.’ ”
Jones started at ABC in 1960, the year the AFL made its debut. He moved to NBC in 1965, remaining with that network until 1997. Jones announced 28 different sports, while with NBC, from golf to tennis, baseball to figure skating. He called events at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. “He really liked them all,” Ann Jones said. “He really did. He wasn’t particular, because they were all so different.”
NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol called Jones “one of the great pioneers of NBC Sports. His work in particular on the NFL, golf and the Olympics left a lasting legacy.”
Longtime agent Martin Mandel said Jones was “one of the legends of sports broadcasting.” “He had a wonderful kettledrum voice. He was known for that and his versatility,” Mandel said.
Jones will be cremated and his ashes spread over the Pacific Ocean. A celebration of his life will be held Wednesday afternoon at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. “He had it in his will that men cannot wear ties,” Ann Jones said. Jones also is survived by two children and three grandchildren.
+++++Charlie Jones will to me always be remembered for his versatility. Jones could call any sport and he was one of the all-time best at announcing track and field. Charlie Jones made every sporting event sound great because he was passionate about what he was doing and he was into the events. Jones was much better than Bob Costas, Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Frank Gifford, Pat Sumerall, and the other announcers from his era because Jones didn’t try and act like a big-shot. He was right there with the working-class people unlike the other names I mentioned.
I heard Jones on the Brad Krantz Show on AM1400 WKEW radio a few years back and I was amazed at how down to earth this man was. He was one of the few announcers that had the feel for the game and knew how to bring it to the listeners. Charlie Jones and Charlie Harville were a lot alike. They tried to project the images of the game and did not try and raise themselves as announcers above their listeners/viewers.
Bob Costas is the world’s worst for doing this and never did a thing that even resembles sports participation. Costas and many others can tell you so much that you don’t need to hear. I don’t care about some guy on a street corner in Korea that saw a US runner in the ’88 Seoul Olympics go by and the runner nodded his head and the Korean gentleman smiled with quirky extension of his lower lip signifying that universal expression has reached new heights.
Give me Charlie Jones telling it like it is, and you can have all those Bob Costas-types and their so-called wisdom of the games that they never played and still to this day, the only sport or exercise they take is the walk to the refrigerator or the garage to get in their car so they can drive off into the sunset. I’ll take Charlie Jones and that kid from Kansas running the last leg of the 400 meter relay and earning the victory that comes only to those who know how to survive.+++++