Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Harry Carpenter

Just heard the sad news about the passing of Harry Carpenter on Saturday. I have never been a big fan of boxing but “Harry” was without doubt the voice of the sport in the UK.

Carpenter was the BBC’s voice of boxing for almost half a century after joining the corporation in 1949, when he first began commentating on the sport.

Known for his double act with British boxing great Frank Bruno, Carpenter also presented Sportsnight, Grandstand and Sports Personality of the Year.

He retired in 1994 and died in his sleep at King’s College Hospital in London in the early hours of Saturday.

His lawyer David Wills said: “He had been unwell since last summer when he had a minor heart attack.

“The funeral has not been arranged but will be a family funeral, to be followed by a memorial service in London.”

Carpenter became closely identified with Frank Bruno, whose catchphrase “know what I mean, ‘arry?” featured in their post-fight interviews.

The former world heavyweight champion, 48, was said to be “very upset and shocked” by the death.

“The most exciting time was probably the Tyson fight when even Harry Carpenter, who was quite a cool man, sort of lost his cool,” the spokesman added.

Carpenter was on air for the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974.

He labelled the end of the contest – underdog Ali won by knockout in the eighth round to reclaim the world heavyweight crown at the age of 32 – as “the most extraordinary few seconds that I have ever seen in a boxing ring”.

Of Ali himself, Carpenter said: “He is not only the most remarkable sports personality I have ever met, he is the most remarkable man I have ever met.”

Carpenter also had the privilege of presenting Ali with the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Century award in 1999.

His immediately recognisable, warm broadcasting style earned him plaudits outside the United Kingdom, too.

In 1989, he received American Sportscasters’ Association and International Sportscaster of the Year awards.

He will be greatly missed.

For a full tribute visit the BBC page HERE

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March 22, 2010 - Posted by | News, Old Music, Television, Video | , , ,

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