Al Michaels

Al Michaels Headshot


Birth Date: November 12, 1944

Age: 79 years old

Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York

Al Michael's emotional cry of "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" became the soundtrack of one of modern sports' defining moments, the 1980 Olympic gold medal hockey match between the United States and Russia. By that time, Michaels had spent a decade working his way through the ranks at both NBC and ABC's sports news divisions. He would spend over 25 years with ABC, providing commentary for every major sporting event from the World Series to the Olympic Games and hosting the popular series "Wide World of Sports" (ABC, 1961-1998) and acting as lead announcer for "Monday Night Football" (ABC, 1970-2005). In 2004, Michael recreated his famous play-by-play of 1980's "Miracle on Ice" hockey game for the Disney feature film, "Miracle." Two years later, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, traded Michaels to NBC in exchange for broadcast rights to several sporting events, as well as the rights to the long-contested Disney character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit." At NBC, the Emmy-winning Michaels became the lead commentator for "Sunday Night Football" (NBC, 2006- ) alongside John Madden-with whom he provided voice acting for the popular series of "John Madden Football" videogames-and host for NBC's coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. A not surprising and fully expected 2013 inductee into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Al Michaels was one of America's most renowned sports commentators, giving voice to some of the most exciting events in history.

Alan Richard Michaels was born on Nov. 12, 1944, in Brooklyn, NY, but moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1958. He attended college at Arizona State University where he majored in radio and television and worked as a sports writer for the school newspaper, The State Press. After his graduation in 1963, he returned home to Los Angeles where he landed his first job in television, wrangling contestants for "The Dating Game" (ABC, 1965-1986). The following year, Michaels found work handling public relations for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team would hire Michaels to provide color commentary for the game, but would let him go after just four games at the demand of legendary Lakers announcer Chick Hearn. For the next four years, Michaels called games for the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Islanders baseball team before settling in Cincinnati, OH, where he rose to lead announcer for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. When the Reds went to the World Series in 1972, Michaels called the game. The national exposure helped land Michaels a role delivering play-by-play commentary for NBC's coverage of hockey events at 1972's Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. The following year, NBC tapped Michaels to replace the recently deceased announcer Bill Enis to cover the end of the National Football League season. When no regular contract was offered, however, Michaels took the announcer position for the San Francisco Giants before eventually signing with ABC Sports in 1977. Michaels quickly rose to the position of lead announcer for "Monday Night Baseball" (ABC, 1976-1988) and studio host for the long-running series, "Wide World of Sports" (ABC, 1961-1998). Over the next 26 years, Michaels covered practically every major sporting event for ABC Sports, including the World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Olympic Games. A defining career highlight came in 1980 when Michaels, the only member of the ABC Sports team to have called play-by-play for a hockey game, was asked to cover the United States playing Russia for the gold medal at the winter games in Lake Placid, NY. Now remembered as "The Miracle on Ice," it was the most watched hockey game in history, due to the surprise upset that saw the U.S. team defeat the Russians to the sound of Michael's emotional cry, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" From 1986 to 2006, Michaels was the lead announcer for ABC's "Monday Night Football" (ABC, 1970-2005), calling his first Super Bowl in 1988. In 1989, Michaels was present at another historic game, announcing the World Series in San Francisco, CA when the Loma Prieta earthquake interrupted the broadcast. Michaels would win an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality for that coverage. In 2004, Michaels recreated his famous play-by-play of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" game for the Disney film, "Miracle" (2004), and was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Though Michaels was ABC's lead sports broadcaster, he became dissatisfied with the constant rotation of his on-air partners. When criticism of Michaels' performance began to mount within the ABC ranks, namely that Michaels lacked enthusiasm for all but his hockey and football coverage, he became subject of one of the most curious corporate "trades" in television history. In 2006, NBC sold their broadcast rights to several sporting events, as well as rights to the cartoon character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" to ABC in exchange for ABC releasing Michaels from his contract. ("Oswald," a character created by Walt Disney in 1928, was lost in a contract dispute in the early 1930s, eventually becoming the property of NBC Universal.) At NBC, Michaels would become the voice of "Sunday Night Football" (NBC, 2006- ) alongside friend John Madden, with whom he would provide voiceovers for the popular "John Madden Football" videogames. In 2013, Michaels was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. While at NBC, Michaels also served as daytime host for coverage of the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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