April 8, 1949
Hendersonville, North Carolina, U.S.
|Notable credit(s)||HBO World Championship Boxing anchor and co-host (1988–present)
Olympic Games reporter and anchor (1984–2008)
|Spouse(s)||Bree Walker (former)
|Children||three daughters, one son,|
James "Jim" Lampley (born April 8, 1949) is an American sportscaster, news anchor, film producer, and restaurant owner. Lampley has covered a record 14 Olympic Games on U.S. television, most recently the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Early life and career
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Lampley was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina. His father died when he was five. His mother immersed him in sports to make up for what she felt his father would have done. He was raised in Hendersonville and Miami, Florida.
He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1971 with a degree in English and finished coursework in 1974 for a Master in Mass Communications also at UNC but never wrote his thesis because his career took off.
Broadcast network television
ESPN on ABC
In 1974, while in graduate school, he was chosen along with Don Tollefson in what ABC called a talent hunt. ABC executives thought that Lampley's youthful looks would make him endearing to the college crowds they looked to attract for their college football games. At ABC, he covered such events as Major League Baseball and college basketball games, the 1986 and 1987 Indianapolis 500, the 1977 Monon Bell game between DePauw University and Wabash College, five Olympics, as well as the program Wide World of Sports.
From 1983 to 1985, he was the studio host of ABC broadcasts of the United States Football League (USFL), a spring league that featured stars such as Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, Steve Young and Reggie White.
In 1985, Lampley along with Al Michaels served as anchors for ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XIX, the first Super Bowl that ABC televised. After the game, Lampley presided over the presentation ceremony for the trophy.
In 1987, Lampley moved to CBS. At CBS, he took over duties as co-anchor on the daily news show in Los Angeles, and also was a correspondent. That same year, he began working for HBO, covering boxing and HBO's annual telecast of Wimbledon. He also attended the Albertville Olympics in 1992, as a news anchor for KCBS-TV.
In 1992, Lampley moved to NBC, where he helped cover the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, 1993 Ryder Cup, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In 1993, Lampley took over studio hosting duties for Bob Costas on The NFL on NBC. Lampley moved to play-by-play duties for NBC's NFL telecasts the following year and was later replaced by Greg Gumbel. In 1995, he began working at the Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel HBO series. For his participation in that show, he has earned three Emmy awards. In 1998, he covered the Nagano Olympics and the Goodwill Games for Turner, and in 2000, he covered the Sydney Olympics, again for NBC.
In 2004, Lampley was the daytime anchor for NBC's Olympics coverage for the 2004 Summer Olympics, as well as anchoring the USA Network's coverage of the Games. In 2006, Lampley served as a central correspondent for the 2006 Winter Olympics which aired on the networks of NBC Universal. Torino 2006 was the 13th Olympics Lampley covered, surpassing the record set by America's original voice of the Olympics, Jim McKay. Lampley was again called upon to anchor for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Lampley's 14th Games. The 2010 Winter Olympics was the first time since the 1980 Summer Olympics that he didn't cover. Al Michaels served as the daytime host of the 2010 Olympics on NBC. Lampley also did not cover the 2012 Summer Olympics either in which Michaels also served as the daytime host.
HBO World Championship Boxing
Casual fans may know Lampley best for his work on HBO World Championship Boxing show, and on the HBO pay-per-view telecast. Since March 1988, as commentator he has called some of boxing's most famous moments, such as Thunder Meets Lightning, when Julio César Chávez saved himself from a decision defeat by knocking out Meldrick Taylor (who was leading the fight on two of the three official scorecards) with only two seconds to go in the last round; James "Buster" Douglas's upset of Mike Tyson for the World Heavyweight championship. Other highlights in his career were the first Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota fight at Madison Square Garden, where a riot occurred following the "Foul Pole's" disqualification for low blows, and the famous "It happened...IT HAPPENED!" call of George Foreman's miracle comeback against then heavyweight champion Michael Moorer when a straight right ended Moorer's reign. In 1992, he won the Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting journalism.
Lampley also hosted a series called Legendary Nights in 12 installments in honor of HBO's three decades covering boxing in 2004, recounting 12 memorable fights broadcast on HBO in that timespan.
- Boxing blow-by-blow: HBO World Championship Boxing, HBO Pay-Per-View, Boxing After Dark (from premiere to April 2006 and sporadically afterwards)
- 1976 Winter Olympics (play-by-play for ABC)
- 1976 Summer Olympics (play-by-play for ABC)
- 1980 Winter Olympics (play-by-play for ABC)
- 1984 Winter Olympics (daytime host for ABC)
- 1984 Summer Olympics (late-night host for ABC)
- 1992 Winter Olympics (coverage for KCBS-TV)
- 1992 Summer Olympics (late-night host for NBC)
- 1996 Summer Olympics (late-night host for NBC)
- 1998 Winter Olympics (primetime host for TNT)
- 2000 Summer Olympics (cable host for MSNBC)
- 2002 Winter Olympics (cable host for both MSNBC and CNBC)
- 2004 Summer Olympics (daytime host for NBC and cable host for USA Network)
- 2006 Winter Olympics (daytime and late-night host for NBC)
- 2008 Summer Olympics (daytime host for NBC)
Life outside of sports
Film and producing career
Lampley's movie production company, Crystal Spring Productions, has produced a handful of movies, including 2000's Welcome to Hollywood. The company has plans of producing a movie about tennis player Pancho Gonzalez, with Benjamin Bratt in the leading role.
In addition to several minor credits as an announcer in films, in 2006, Lampley portrayed himself in the movie Rocky Balboa covering the new events in Rocky's career as well as the final match against Mason Dixon. He also appeared in the 2007 sports comedy films Blades of Glory starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, and Balls of Fury, with Christopher Walken. Lampley also appeared in the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Gambling", in which he called a checkers match between Drew and Tonya.
In the "Split Decision episode" of MacGyver (1991) he appeared as the radio announcer.
Political views and other hosting
In 2005 after George W. Bush's re-election, Lampley began to avidly express his political views and began posting on The Huffington Post website, where he revealed his belief that George W. Bush stole the 2004 election through vote tampering in Ohio. Also on The Huffington Post, Lampley retracted a claim that American deaths in Iraq are several times higher than official reports after finding out his source was fraudulent.
Lampley married and divorced news anchor Bree Walker, with whom he has a son. He also has two older daughters from a previous marriage. Walker has a daughter from a previous marriage. Lampley lives in the San Diego, California area near his son. Lampley is the former owner of two restaurants in Utah, both of which were named the Lakota Restaurant and Bar. Lampley runs a production company with his ex-wife. In 2004, they announced on The Larry King Show that they were living together and planning to remarry, but they never did.
On January 3, 2007, Lampley was arrested for domestic abuse against fiancée Candice Sanders, Miss California USA 2003, by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. A restraining order was obtained, but in February 2007, he was charged with violating the restraining order by being within 100 yards of her apartment; Lampley pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years' probation, a fine, a domestic violence counseling program and 40 hours' community service. The DA's office investigated and decided not to press charges for the alleged attack. Investigators found "insufficient evidence to prove it".
Former spouse and news anchor Bree Walker said her relationship with Lampley led her to believe that "he's not capable of physical violence against anybody." "Jim has been a wonderful father to all four of his kids, and has been a generous husband and ex-husband", Walker said, "Any charges of battery would surprise me."
Lampley married event planner Debra Schuss in August 2012.
- International Boxing Hall of Fame / BWAA Awards
- "NBCUNIVERSAL'S OLYMPIC TRADITION". NBC Sports Group Press Box. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Lampley, Jim (2008-03-28). "The Biggest Story of Our Lives". Huffington Post.
- Lampley, Jim (2008-03-28). "The Ultimate Deception?". Huffington Post.
- Lampley, Jim (2008-03-28). "A Poor Choice of Sources". Huffington Post.
- His son has 2 DUIs. HBO Boxing Bios
- "Jim Lampley Arrested For Felony Domestic Violence". Alaska Report. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
- Figueroa, Teri (2007-02-21). "Jim Lampley pleads no contest, gets probation". North County Times. Retrieved 2007-04-21.
- Jiménez, Jose Luis (2007-01-05). "Lampley arrested for violating order". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2007-04-21.