Mike Downey (columnist)

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Mike Downey (August 9, 1951 – June 12, 2024) was an American newspaper columnist. He was known for his columns in the Chicago area, such as writing pieces for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. In his later years, he began writing for the Los Angeles Times and CNN.

Career

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Downey began a career in journalism at age 15 for a newspaper chain in the south suburbs of Chicago.[1] He was a police reporter, entertainment writer, editor, critic and columnist and covered national political conventions, murder trials and twelve Olympic Games. Among his assignments were an America's Cup yacht race in Australia, tennis at Wimbledon, British Open golf in Scotland, the Tour de France bicycle race, Stanley Cup hockey finals in Montreal and World Cup soccer in Italy, as well as Pan-American Games competitions in Argentina and Cuba.[2]

He also was a columnist for The Sporting News and Sport Magazine and for 15 years wrote a humor column for Inside Sports magazine known as "The Good Doctor." He was a featured sports correspondent for KABC radio in Los Angeles and for WJR radio in Detroit and was often a panelist on ESPN television's weekly talk show, The Sports Reporters. He was a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame.[2]

In statewide voting by peers, Downey was selected National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association sportswriter of the year eleven times, in Illinois (twice),[3] Michigan (twice)[4] and California (seven times).[5][6]

He was honored for his news column by the Los Angeles Press Club in 1998 and won the 1994 Eclipse Award, thoroughbred racing's highest honor.[7] Downey's writing appeared in a variety of national magazines including GQ, Parade, Entertainment Weekly, Disney Adventures, American Way, Reader's Digest and TV Guide.[8]

From 2003 to 2008, Downey wrote the "In the Wake of the News" column for the Chicago Tribune originated by Ring Lardner in 1913, replacing Skip Bayless in that position at the Tribune. He was also a columnist in news, entertainment and sports for the Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News.[9]

He was included as a character in the Elmore Leonard novel Be Cool.[10] In retirement, he wrote book reviews for the Times and columns for CNN.com.[2]

Personal life

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Downey was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, on August 9, 1951.[2] He graduated at 16 from Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights.[1]

Downey resided in Rancho Mirage, California.[11] He was married to singer Gail Martin, daughter of the entertainer Dean Martin.[2][12] Downey died from a heart attack in Rancho Mirage, on June 12, 2024, at the age of 72.[11][13]

References

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  1. ^ a b "Mike Downey, Free Press sports columnist during '84 World Series, dies". Detroit Free Press. June 13, 2024. Archived from the original on June 13, 2024. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e Miner, Michael (January 9, 2003). "So Much for Retirement". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on March 26, 2023. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  3. ^ "Illinois NSSA awards". Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  4. ^ "Michigan NSSA awards". Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  5. ^ California NSSA awards Archived July 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Downey, Holtzman are honored". Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "Downey, Hovdey Win 1994 Eclipse Awards". Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Movies with Mike Downey watch online » SWEET.TV". sweet.tv. August 9, 1951. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Paul (June 13, 2024). "Mike Downey, decorated sports writer and former Chicago Tribune columnist, dies at 72". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 13, 2024. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  10. ^ McCarter, Mark (August 20, 2013). "A tribute to the master of dialogue, author Elmore Leonard". Alabama.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  11. ^ a b Sullivan, Paul (June 13, 2024). "Mike Downey, decorated sports writer and former Chicago Tribune columnist, dies at 72". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 13, 2024. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  12. ^ "Discogs article for Gail Martin Downey". Discogs. Archived from the original on June 13, 2024. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  13. ^ Farmer, Sam (June 14, 2024). "Mike Downey, Sports columnist who enlightened Times readers for 15 years, dies at 72". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 14, 2024. Retrieved June 14, 2024.