Jim Murray: An Autobiography

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9780025881518: Jim Murray: An Autobiography

The renowned sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times recalls his many years as a reporter and shares anecdotes about such luminaries as Muhammad Ali, Al Davis, Magic Johnson, Ben Hogan, Pete Rose, and others. 20,000 first printing.

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Review:

Not many sportswriters are interesting enough to sustain the first sentence of a memoir let alone a full-blown autobiography, but, then, there's only one Jim Murray. The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the Los Angeles Times is an ace in a pack of deuces, a 240-yard three-wood to the heart of a postage-stamp green, a Koufax curve, a Unitas pass, an Ali shuffle, a Secretariat by 31 lengths, and a Jordan jumper at the buzzer from the top of the key. His sense of humor, exhaustive reportage, clear biases, and gorgeous prose revolutionized the very notion of the sports column; his decency and outrage--and the way he's squeezed them both into print for five decades--made him a true avatar of the press box. Yet, his life neither begins nor ends with sports, nor is it without the kinds of trials that would have easily paralyzed a lesser soul. If he writes thrillingly of his experiences on the fields of play, and insightfully about the Hollywood he played around in before being drafted by Sports Illustrated in the '50s, Murray also writes with great compassion and candor about his wife's losing battle with cancer and his own heroic toe-to-toe with blindness.

In the end, Murray wonders, "What would our lives be without our Galloping Ghosts, Manassa Maulers, Brown Bombers, Dizzies and Daffies, Rockies and Fearsome Foursomes, and Steel Curtains. They are part and parcel of the fabric of America." For several generations of fans, so is Jim Murray. This engaging memoir covers the bases of explaining why. --Jeff Silverman

From Kirkus Reviews:

Selective reminiscences from a Pulitzer-winning sports columnist that, though several bricks shy of an autobiographical load, offer a host of pleasures for fans of big-time athletics and celebrities--and of fine writing. A child of the Depression, the seventysomething Murray was raised in Hartford, where a raffish crew of black-sheep uncles attended to his extracurricular education. Fast forwarding by a couple of decades, the author recalls a 1950's stint as Time's Hollywood correspondent, covering the oddly grouped likes of Humphrey Bogart, Billy Graham, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon (on the eve of his ``Checkers'' speech), and John Wayne. Eventually recruited as a founding editor of Sports Illustrated, Murray spent many years as a roving reporter for this weekly before moving on to The Los Angeles Times, where his syndicated column has gained him a national readership. While generally reserved about his private affairs, the author includes enough asides to suggest that life has not been all that easy for the Murray clan. Among other trials, he lost his wife to cancer (months short of their 39th anniversary) and a son to drugs; since the early 1970's, moreover, the author has labored under the gun of detached retinas that threaten to take his eyesight. But for the most part, Murray's anecdotal narrative features short takes on the notable personalities whose paths he's crossed during his long and interesting career--from Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain through Jack Kent Cooke, Al Davis, Ben Hogan, Magic Johnson, Don King, and Pete Rose. For seasoning, the author throws in acerbic critiques of the cities he's visited; dismayed reflections on what TV has done to, as well as for, sport; and commentary on how, so far as race is concerned, sport reflects the society of which it's a part. An engaging potpourri from a perceptive observer. -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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