Legendary Nine sports broadcaster Darrell Eastlake passes away

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 20 April 2018
Darrell Eastlake.

One of Australia's most colourful sports broadcasters, Darrell Eastlake, has passed away after a long battle with emphysema and Alzheimer's disease.

The 75-year-old former Nine broadcaster was famous for his booming voice and insatiable enthusiasm.

Eastlake was the voice of Wide World of Sports rugby league State of Origin during its heyday in the 1980s and is recognised as one of the code's best broadcasters.

He and also commentated motorsport alongside motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene and was well known for calling the weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games.

Nine director of sport Tom Malone said that Channel Nine had lost one of its favourite sons.

"Darrell’s impact on Australian sport cannot be overstated. He was one of the leading voices and faces of Wide World of Sports," Malone said an email to colleagues at Nine.

"He revolutionised sports like Weightlifting, Formula 1, and Superbikes with his trademark excitement and “HUUGE” commentary. Better than most, he understood that sport is entertainment, and for the average person, a momentary escape from their everyday life," Malone said.

"His inimitable commentary was central to the early success of State of Origin, especially his love of King Wally, Lang Park, and the underdog Queenslanders.

"He loved athletes and he loved sport and shared that passion and love with all of us through the television. Our thoughts are with his wife Julie and his family and friends."

eastlake3.jpgWide World of Sports legends: Darrell Eastlake, right, with Mike Gibson, front, and Ian Maurice.

Prior to Nine, Eastlake worked on Sydney radio station 2UW and the local Newcaslte TV station NBN in the earlier parts of his career.

His unmistakeable brand of commentary was widely revered, but occasionally courted criticism, such as his weightlifting call at the 2006 Commowealth Games where he quipped that contestants would be getting an extra pawpaw for their efforts.

Eastlake hung up his mic five years ago as his health deteriorated and spent his final years at a nursing home on the NSW Central Coast.

Anyone who was parodied by Billy Birmingham in The Twelfth Man has a special place in Australian sporting folklore.

eastlake2.jpgAustralia has lost one of its finest sports broadcasters. Vale Darrell Eastlake.

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