Gospel singer George Beverly Shea, at 104 one of the oldest people in the United States and certainly one of the oldest in show business history, has died after a brief illness. Shea is best remembered for his association with evangelist Billy Graham:
Shea's rendition of "How Great Thou Art" came to define the faith of a Protestant generation that Graham helped bring to Jesus Christ. He performed live before an estimated 200 million people at crusades over the years - taking him from North Dakota to North Korea and beyond.
He joined Graham's crusade team in 1947 and stayed until Graham's declining health ended most of the evangelist's public appearances nearly 60 years later.
"As a young man starting my ministry, I asked Bev if he would join me," Graham said then. "He said yes and for over 60 years we had the privilege of ministering together across the country and around the world. Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends. I loved him as a brother."
Clip from 1969:
NFL player and sportscaster Pat Summerall, 82, died yesterday in Dallas:
Summerall played 10 NFL seasons (1952-61) with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. In his second career, he became a voice so familiar to several generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL.
He started doing NFL games for CBS in 1964, and became a play-by-play guy 10 years later. He was also part of CBS's coverage of the PGA Tour, including the Masters from 1968-94, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
When CBS lost its NFL deal after the 1993 season, Summerall switched to Fox to keep calling NFL games with Madden. He 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 un der his own terms.
"He is CBS Sports. I always thought he could work here until he was 75 or 80 years old," Nantz told The Philadelphia Daily News then. "He's been a much larger influence on my career than I think he realizes. There will be a piece of Pat Summerall on the air as long as I do golf for this network."
He successfully battled alcoholism but still had to get a liver transplant nine years ago.