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Monday, 05 August 2013 03:37

Hall of Fame DT Art Donovan dead at 89

   BALTIMORE (AP) - Art Donovan, the Hall of Fame defensive lineman who spent much of his 12-year career with the Baltimore Colts, has died. He was 89.

   Donovan died Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice in Baltimore, according to Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of the Baltimore Ravens.

   Back in the day when NFL players made little money, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Donovan played for the love of the game and the thrill of winning. He helped the Colts win championships in 1958 and 1959.

   Donovan broke into professional football in 1950 with the Colts, who folded after his rookie season. He played with the New York Yanks in 1951 and the Dallas Texans in 1952 before the Dallas franchise moved to Baltimore and became the second version of the Colts. He spent the remainder of his career with Baltimore before retiring after the 1961 season.

 
Published in Sports

   CHICAGO (AP) -- Bernard "Bernie" Sahlins, who co-founded Chicago's Second City theater and who nurtured the early careers of many of the earliest stars of "Saturday Night Live," died Sunday. He was 90.

   Andrew Alexander, one of Second City's current owners and its CEO, told The Associated Press that Sahlins died peacefully at his Chicago home with his family nearby. He is survived by his wife, Jane Nicholl Sahlins.

   Sahlins and business partners Howard Alk and Paul Sills opened The Second City in December 1959, and it quickly gained national attention and helped establish Chicago as a vibrant comedy town, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

   The Second City wasn't Sahlins' first attempt at running a theater. He was a producer-investor in a theater troupe in the early 1950s that was comprised of many fellow University of Chicago graduates, and he and several business partners produced plays at the Studebaker Theater from October 1956 until the following year, when it had to close due to a lack of funding.

   In his 2002 memoir, "Days and Nights at the Second City," Sahlins wrote that he, Alk and Sills hadn't set out to build another theater.

   "We had been burned enough times doing that. This was still the Beat generation, and we started out to found a coffee house where we idlers, including the actors whom we had with for years, could loll around and put the world in its proper place."

   But The Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues, and it became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy.

   Sahlins had an eye for talent, and he hired and nurtured the early careers of such future stars as John and Jim Belushi, Joan Rivers, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis, among others.

   Shortly after "Saturday Night Live" began airing in the fall of 1975, Second City became a breeding ground for the show. According to Second City producer emeritus Joyce Sloane, who died in 2011, Sahlins once half-jokingly commanded her to lock "SNL" creator and producer Lorne Michaels out of the building, the Sun-Times reported.

   Alexander, who along with business partner Len Stuart bought The Second City from Sahlins in 1985, according to the theater's website, told the AP that Sahlins will be remembered for always urging performers to work at the top of their intellect, and that this is still preached at the theater today.

   "You think about that theater, and think of all the stars that came out of it ... from Belushi to Aykroyd to Allan Arkin. It's extraordinary, the amount of talented people that came out of it," Alexander said.

Published in National News

   LOS ANGELES (AP) - Joyce Brothers, who put the "pop" into psychology, has died in New York. She was 85.

   The cause of death was respiratory failure.

   During a long and prolific career, Brothers pioneered the TV advice show in the 1950s and also worked as a syndicated columnist, author, and even actress.

   Her celebrity took off after she entered a television quiz show called "The $64,000 Question." She became the only woman to ever win the show's top prize.

 
Published in National News
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 03:34

Super Voice Gone: Pat Summerall Dead at 82

   The voice of football. The NFL's narrator for generations. A master of restraint.

   Pat Summerall soothed American television audiences over four decades — his deep, resonant voice and simple, understated style served as the perfect complement to the boisterous enthusiasm of John Madden, his partner in a celebrated pairing that lasted half of the NFL player-turned-announcer's career.

   Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton said, speaking on behalf of Summerall's wife, Cheri.

   Summerall called 16 Super Bowls and became such a large part of the NFL that it was easy to forget he was the leading voice of the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament, as well.

   "He was royalty in the broadcast booth," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

   His final play-by-play words beside Madden were succinct, of course, as he called the game-ending field goal of the Super Bowl for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17.

   "It's right down the pipe. Adam Vinatieri. No time on the clock. And the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable," Summerall said.

   Sparse, exciting, perfect. A flawless summation without distracting from the reaction viewers could see on the screen.

   At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that the former Oakland Raiders coach badly wanted to keep — and did — when he had to switch networks 20 years ago.

   "Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years," Madden said in a statement Tuesday. "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."

   Summerall played 10 NFL seasons from 1952 to 1961 with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, but it was in his second career that he became a voice familiar to generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL.

   "Pat was a friend of nearly 40 years," CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist said. "He was a master of restraint in his commentary, an example for all of us. He was also one of the great storytellers who ever spoke into a microphone."

   Summerall started doing NFL games for CBS in 1964, and became a play-by-play guy 10 years later. He was also part of coverage of the PGA Tour, including the Masters from 1968-94, and U.S. Open tennis.

   When CBS lost its NFL deal after the 1993 season, Summerall switched to Fox to keep calling NFL games with Madden. Summerall had hoped to keep working with CBS for other events like the Masters, but network executives saw it otherwise. At the time, CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz said he was "very saddened" that Summerall didn't get to leave CBS under his own terms.

   "Pat Summerall was a hero to me," Nantz said Tuesday. "I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him. I was his understudy for 10 years. He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster."

   A recovering alcoholic, Summerall had a liver transplant in April 2004. The lifesaving surgery was necessary even after 12 years of sobriety.

   After an intervention involving, among others, former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, former CBS Sports President Peter Lund and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beaman, Summerall checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in April 1992.

   "I had no intention of quitting, I was having too good a time," Summerall said in a 2000 Associated Press story. "The prescribed stay at Betty Ford is 28 days. They kept me 33 because I was so angry at the people who did the intervention, the first five days didn't do me any good."

   Summerall received the liver of a 13-year-old junior high football player from Arkansas who died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. Summerall had an emotional meeting with the teenager's family the following year.

   "He always had a joke," Madden said. "Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He was something very special."

   Summerall often shared his testimony with Christian groups and told his story when speaking before other organizations. In his 2006 book, "Summerall: On and Off The Air," he frankly discussed his personal struggles and professional successes.

   Long before broadcasting Super Bowl games, 16 for television and 10 more for radio — in fact, before there was even a Super Bowl — Summerall played a role in what is known in football circles as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 NFL championship. The Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in the NFL's first-ever overtime game.

   "Pat Summerall was one of the best friends and greatest contributors that the NFL has known," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "His majestic voice was treasured by millions of NFL fans for more than four decades. It is a sad day in the NFL."

   Born George Allen Summerall on May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., he was an all-state prep football and basketball player there, and lettered in baseball and tennis. He played college football at Arkansas before going to the NFL.

   After breaking his arm in the preseason as a rookie for Detroit, Summerall played five years for the Chicago Cardinals before four seasons with the Giants. While he was also a defensive back, Summerall was primarily a kicker, making 100 field goals and 256 of 265 extra points in his career.

   The most famous was a 49-yarder through the wind and snow at Yankee Stadium that gave the Giants a 13-10 victory against the Cleveland Browns. The win gave the Giants the home field for a rematch with Cleveland in the playoffs, and a win in that game put New York in the famous title game against Baltimore.

   "Pat will always be a great Giant," team president John Mara said Tuesday. "He was one of my father's favorites, and his game-winning kick in the snow against the Browns in 1958 is one of the most memorable plays in our franchise's history."

   In a story distributed by the Giants, former teammate Frank Gifford — a longtime broadcaster himself — said Summerall was an underrated player because coach Jim Lee Howell and offensive assistant Vince Lombardi wanted to preserve him for kicking.

   "Lombardi didn't want him to get hurt," Gifford said. "But we didn't need him as a football player, we needed him as a kicker. I was going both ways and doing the kicking, too. We picked him up from the Cardinals and that was the end of my kicking career."

   When asked about his fondest NFL memories during a May 2009 interview with the AP, Summerall said there were things that stood out as a player and broadcaster.

   "You always remember the days as a player. I was in four championship games before there was a Super Bowl, so I remember those very well," he said. "Broadcasting, I remember the last (Super Bowl) I did. Of course, I remember that. I remember the first one most vividly than any of the rest."

   Summerall was part of the CBS broadcast of the inaugural Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967. After working the first half in the broadcast booth, he switched places with Gifford at halftime and was a sideline reporter during the second half.

   "To look at the Coliseum that day and see that there were like 40,000 empty seats and the most expensive ticket was $12, it's incredible to realize what was going on and what it's grown to over the years," he said during the 2009 AP interview. "It's sort of staggering to me."

   Summerall, who spent his final years in the Dallas area, living in Southlake, was a member of the North Texas Super Bowl host committee for the game played there in February 2011 in the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium that opened in 2009.

   "His presence at an NFL game elevated that event to a higher level," Jones said. "There is no question that Pat broadcast more Dallas games on CBS and FOX than any other man, and this is a great loss for thousands of Cowboys fans who spent their Sunday afternoons in the living room with Pat."

   Summerall became a play-by-play announcer in 1974, and it was strictly by accident. He was working with Jack Buck, and CBS boss Bob Wussler thought the two commentators sounded too much alike. Summerall told Wussler that if a change was going to be made that he'd like to do play-by-play, and the following Sunday that's what Summerall was doing.

   After his final game with Madden, Summerall remained a full-time broadcaster for Fox one more season, doing primarily Dallas Cowboys games during the 2002 season. He decided to step down the following year when he realized he would spend most of the season away from home.

   Summerall did a handful of NFL games for Fox and ESPN the next few seasons. He did play-by-play for Fox's broadcast of the Cotton Bowl's games from 2007-10, then for the bowl's 75th anniversary in January 2011 conducted interviews as part of the pregame show and game broadcast. He also had voiceovers that were part of Masters broadcasts for CBS and game broadcasts on NFL Network.

   Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Published in Sports

   COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, a Democrat who represented eastern Ohio in Washington for two terms after winning a write-in campaign, died Sunday in a Florida hospital, the Ohio Democratic Party announced. He was 70.

   Wilson had suffered a stroke in February while vacationing with his family and was recovering at a rehabilitation center, Democratic Party officials said. He fell ill Saturday night and was admitted to a hospital in Boynton Beach, where he died at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday with his family by his side, the officials said.

   Wilson spent 14 years in Columbus and Washington championing for the people of eastern and southeastern Ohio. He secured federal funding for police departments, airport improvements and small business incubators, among other project.

   Before being elected to Congress, Wilson served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1997 to 2005. He then served two years in the Ohio Senate.

   "I served with Charlie in the State Legislature for six years and he was a loyal friend in good times and bad," Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement. "An outspoken advocate for working people, Charlie never wavered in his service to his constituents or his lifelong pursuit to help improve the lives of others."

   Wilson won his first congressional campaign in 2006 as a write-in candidate, filling the seat vacated by Gov. Ted Strickland. He had failed to gather enough petition signatures to qualify for the state's primary, requiring him to run as a write-in for the 6th Congressional District stretching from Youngstown's southern suburbs to the tip of the Ohio River near Portsmouth.

   Wilson, who represented a coal-heavy district, served on the House Committee on Science and Technology.

   He lost bids for Congress in 2010 and 2012.

   U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who defeated Wilson in 2012, said he was saddened to hear of his death and expressed condolences to his family.

   "Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state legislature and in Congress," Johnson said in a statement.

   Before entering public service, Wilson was owner of several small businesses throughout the Ohio Valley. He attended Ohio University in Athens and while still in college, worked as a UAW member on the assembly line at the Ford Automotive auto plant in Lorain.

   Wilson is survived by four sons, one of whom served as his campaign manager in the 2006 race and went on to succeed him in the Ohio Senate.

   "Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of Southeast and East Ohio," his family said in a statement. "Congressman Wilson served with honor, dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region. Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations."

   Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Published in National News
CHICAGO (AP) - Mary Ann McMorrow, the first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court and the state's first female chief justice, has died.

Illinois Supreme Court spokesman Joseph Tybor, who was authorized to speak on the family's behalf, says McMorrow died Saturday at a Chicago hospital following a brief illness. She was 83.

McMorrow set numerous precedents. She was the only woman in her 1953 class at Loyola University School of Law, and became the first woman on Illinois' highest court in 1992. She served as chief justice from 2002 to 2005.

But when she retired in 2006, McMorrow told The Associated Press she never focused on being a trailblazer. She said she was "just trying to do the best I could."

McMorrow is survived by her daughter and her sister.
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 02:21

Former players mourn Lakers owner Jerry Buss

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Magic Johnson is remembering Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss as "a great man and an incredible friend."

The Twitter tribute followed news that Buss died Monday at a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 80. He'd been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment.

Under the ownership of Buss since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California's most beloved sports franchise, and became linked in the eyes of the world to Hollywood glamour.

And few owners in sports history can rival his success. The Lakers made the NBA finals 16 times since Buss bought the team, winning 10 times between 1980 and 2010. The team is now largely run by two of his six children, Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss.

Jerry Buss always referred to the Lakers as his extended family, and the players rewarded his fan-like excitement with devotion and friendship, in addition to the ten championships. Magic Johnson and fellow Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy formed lifelong bonds with Buss.

Courtside seats for the Lakers are the hottest tickets in Hollywood -- with Jack Nicholson and many other celebrities attending every home game.

NBA Commissioner David Stern is remembering Buss as a "visionary owner" whose impact on the league "will be felt for decades to come."
Published in Sports
Monday, 18 February 2013 01:43

Mindy McCready dead of apparent suicide

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas authorities say that country singer Mindy McCready was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A news release from the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office says that McCready, 37, was found dead Sunday afternoon with what appears to be a single, self-inflicted wound. She was found on the front porch of a home.

McCready hit the top of the country charts before personal problems sidetracked her career

In 1996, her "Guys Do It All the Time" hit No. 1 and its dig at male chauvinism endeared her to females.
Published in National News
Monday, 18 February 2013 00:25

Former Alton Mayor Don Sandidge has died

Former Alton Mayor Don Sandidge has died.

Sandidge served three terms as mayor of the metro-east city, from 1997 to 2009. He spent 27 years on the Alton police force before that, including three years as chief.

Sandidge died early Sunday morning following a battle with cancer. He was 75.

Funeral arrangements are pending.
Published in Local News
Arnold councilwoman Christine "Cricky" Lang has died. Lang passed away yesterday at her home.

She'd represented the first Ward on the Arnold City Council for the past three years.

Lang had had a kidney transplant 10 years ago, but needed another one. She was at the top of the transplant recipients list when she died. She was 44 years old.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Published in Local News
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