1921 – Born, September 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, was an American television sports journalist.
McKay is best known for hosting ABC’s Wide World of Sports (1961-1998). His "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is "ABC’s Wide World of Sports!" introduction for that program has passed into American pop culture.
1943 – He received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola College in Maryland. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy as the captain of a minesweeper.
1947 – Later he gave up his job as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspapers to join that organization’s new TV station WMAR-TV. He was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore, and he remained with the station until joining CBS in New York in 1950 as host of a variety show, called The Real McKay, which necessitated the changing of his on-air surname.
1948 – He married Margaret Dempsey, they have two children.
1955 – He had a six-episode stint as host of the game show Make the Connection on NBC.
-Through the 1950s, sports commentary became more and more his primary assignment
1961 – He moved on to ABC and was the host of ABC’s influential Wide World of Sports for more
than 40 years.
1972 – While covering the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics for ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live on his only scheduled day off during the Games, substituting for Chris Schenkel. He was on air for fourteen hours without a break, during a sixteen hour broadcast. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the athletes held hostage, at 3:24 AM German Time, McKay came on the air with this statement: "When I was a kid my father used to say ‘Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.’ Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were eleven hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone."
2003 – Although McKay received numerous accolades for his reporting of the Munich hostage crisis (including two Emmys, one for sports and one for news reporting), he stated (in a HBO documentary about his life and career) that he was most proud of a telegram praising his work he received the day after the massacre – from Walter Cronkite.
-McKay was the founder of Maryland Million Day, a series of twelve races designed to promote Maryland’s horse breeding industry. The day-long program has grown to become a major racing event in the state of Maryland, second only to the Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico Race Course. It has spawned more than twenty other similar events at U.S. race tracks such as the Sunshine Millions.
Was a minority owner of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles.
Grandfather of three.