Cricketing legend Max “Tangles” Walker, who commentated for Wide World of Sports after a career in sport, has died aged 68.
He died of melanoma.
Walker played in 34 Tests between 1972 and 1977 and 17 one-day internationals. He was the first Tasmanian to be picked for a Test since C.L. Badcock in 1936. He also played 93 matches in six years with the Melbourne Football Club.
His broadcasting career included the ABC, 3AK and 2UE radio commentary teams and Seven, before he joined Nine.
He hosted Wide World of Sports from 1998- 1992, The Sunday Footy Show from 1993 until 1998, and featured on Nine’ s cricket commentary between 1986 and 1991. He was also a Sports presenter for Nine News Melbourne.
Nicknamed “Tangles” because of his wrong-footed action, he releasing 14 books, including The Wit of Walker, How to Kiss a Crocodile and How to Puzzle a Python.
In popular culture his TV advertisements gave rise to the phrase “avagoodweekend Mr. Walker….”
In 2011 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia “for service to cricket at a national and international level as a player and commentator, and to the community through a range of youth and social welfare organisations”.
“At Nine and across the game we have lost a genuine hero of Australian cricket with Max Walker’s sad passing,” said Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine.
“He was terrific bowler as his Test record shows, but an even better bloke. He will be missed by the whole Nine family.”
“Larger than life on and off the field, a huge character with that laconic, laid-back approach to sport and life. Just a big, cuddly colourful bloke whom everyone really liked – his opponents just as much as the rest of us.
“Max enjoyed that unique sense of humour made only in Australia, which shone like a beacon in his post-retirement commentary roles on Nine, his hilarious books and his famous ‘have a good weekend Mr Walker’ television advertisements. Max leaves an indelible signature on Australian cricket and its culture. He will be profoundly missed’.”
“Everyone at Wide World of Sports is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, Max Walker,” said Tom Malone, Nine Director of Sport.
“Max was a pioneer of the industry, making the transition from elite sportsman to television host seamlessly. He was a true Aussie character, whose enthusiasm and love for life was infectious. He will be sorely missed. Max was and will always remain, a treasured member of the Wide World of Sports Family.”
Career Highlights include:
· Cricket Commentator (1986 – 1991) alongside Richie Benaud, Tony Greig, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell
· Hosted Wide World of Sports (1988 – 1992) with Ken Sutcliffe and Ian Chappell
· Hosted AFL Sunday Footy Show (1993 – 1998) with Lou Richards, E.J. Whitten and Mal Brown
· Sports presenter for Nine News Melbourne
· International cricket career included: 34 test matches / 138 wickets
· Made his debut 1972/73 series against Pakistan at the MCG
· Career best figures of 8/143 v England at the MCG in 1974/75
Walker finished his autobiography simply: “One thing is certain. Cricket has given me a great deal of pleasure and a host of happy memories. Who could ask for anything more?”