Philadelphia radio and TV sports announcer Bill Campbell, whose career spanned more than seven decades, has died.
Editor and anchor Robin Culverwell at KYW radio station, where Campbell once worked, confirmed Campbell died Monday evening at Cooper Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. He was 91. She said he died from complications from a fall.
Campbell began his career in 1940 and continued well into his 80s. His accounts gave sports fans front row seats at the games of all their favorites: the Philadelphia Eagles, the Phillies, the 76ers, the Warriors or Big Five basketball teams.
Campbell is remembered particularly for his play-by-play of the Eagles game when they won the 1960 NFL Championship over the Green Bay Packers. On the team website, the Eagles recount his warm introduction.
”’Ladies and gentlemen, the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles are about to play the biggest game of their lives,’ Campbell said during his WCAU-AM broadcast … `And there will be bedlam coming out of your loudspeakers for the next several hours. We hope you’ll enjoy the play. We hope we can make it enjoyable for you. Here is (Paul) Hornung booting off, a deep one … and the championship of the world is underway.”’
At game’s end, he caps it off with the ecstatic announcement: ”’The game’s over! The game’s over! The Eagles are the champions of the world! LISTEN!’ Campbell said as linebacker Chuck Bednarik sat on Packers running back Jimmy Taylor while the seconds drained off the clock.”’
He also gave a signature performance of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in the Philadelphia Warriors’ 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks in 1962. Besides the athleticism, he was as impressed by Chamberlain’s character, he told The Associated Press in an interview. Chamberlain was renting an apartment at the time in New York.
”One thing I remember about the game: Here was a guy who scores 100 points, and after the game was over, got in a car with three New York Knicks players and drove back to New York,” Campbell said. ”I always thought `How did a guy who scored all those points against them get a ride back with three Knicks?”’
Eagles president Don Smolenski called Campbell ”truly a legend.”
”Being the voice of the Phillies, 76ers, and Eagles throughout his career, it was clear that Philadelphia sports were in his blood,” Smolenski said on the team website.
Campbell slowly retired from the trade after his wife died, Culverwell said. His daughter Christine was with him when he died. He also is survived by two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.