Photo by Nichole MCH Photography
We lost a Philadelphia treasure this summer.
Former CBS and ABC Sports Anchor/Reporter Jack Whitaker passed away on August 18. He was 95 years old.
Always particularly well dressed and ruggedly handsome, Whitaker’s expertise ranged from covering 21 Super Bowls to calling Secretariat’s Triple Crown victory—and many, many sports in between.
He was a war hero, who was wounded on Omaha Beach in France three days after the D-Day invasion.
A graduate of Northeast Catholic High School and St. Joseph’s University, Whitaker began his broadcasting career at tiny WPAM-AM in Pottstown, PA before becoming a weatherman at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia working with such notables as John Facenda and Ed McMahon.
From there he went to CBS and covered the Masters, NFL football, and horse racing with a poetic prose that raised sport from the mundane with a Grace Kelly-like eloquence and style. He finished his television career with ABC covering the Olympics and boxing until his retirement in 1993.
I recall his post-game analysis of NFL games, and how he could give a five-minute dissertation of a contest with total recall—without a note or teleprompter. And the turtleneck sweater which became one of his trademarks.
He was a member of Merion Golf Club and was one of the only players they allowed to ride a cart while playing the championship course, and he enjoyed the game well into his 80’s.
It’s football season. But it won’t be quite the same without Jack Whitaker.
What a PhillyMan he was.