Vale: Lou Richards

Legendary AFL commentator Lou Richards has died, aged 94.

Legendary AFL commentator Lou Richards has died, aged 94.

He died peacefully at a Melbourne nursing home, where he has been resident for several years, this afternoon.

“The family are with Lou at the moment,” Nine sports presenter Tony Jones said.

“He was a remarkable man and I loved him.”

Richards rose to fame in the sporting world as a star player for Collingwood Football club, playing 250 games throughout his 14-year career. He was captain of the club from 1952 to 1955, leading the side to a premiership in 1953.

Richards also had a long career in the media, beginning as a sport journalist for The Argus and later The Sun News-Pictorial where he gained the nickname of “Louie the Lip”. He was a popular commentator on both radio and television, on Seven and Nine, including with his great mate Jack Dyer. He appeared on Sports Talk in 1959, and followed with appearances on Daly at Night, World of Sport, League Teams, and regular appearances on both The Footy Show and the Sunday Footy Show.

At the end of 2008, Richards retired from hosting the handball segment on the Sunday Footy Show, and subsequently made only occasional public appearances.

He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1981, was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2008.

In 2013 Collingwood President Eddie McGuire said, “If it wasn’t for Lou, it (football) wouldn’t be the big-time entertainment that it is today.”

Long-time colleague and producer Gordon Bennett, who worked with Richards on League Teams and World of Sport and commented, “It was Lou and Ron Casey that pushed Seven’s football to the forefront and made it so popular. The fans all loved Lou. He was their hero. Even though he was a Collingwood player, people from all teams loved chatting to him.”

Channel Seven Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin said: “Lou Richards was not only a great football personality on Channel Seven, he was a television pioneer and his legacy can be seen today in sports entertainment television.

“He was and always will be a beloved member of the Seven family from who we learned a great deal.  Lou will be missed, but always remembered fondly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Nine statement:

It is with profound sadness that all of us at Nine mourn the passing of Lewis Thomas Charles Richards, better known as simply Lou.

A legend of Australian Rules Football, Lou was a huge personality on and off the field.

He clocked up an impressive 250 games with the Collingwood Football Club, including captaining the team to its 1953 Premiership win.

‘Louie the Lip’ as he was affectionately known, then went on to carve a hugely successful media career. He was a pioneer in combining sports journalism and entertainment. In doing so, he paved the way for the legion of footballers who chose to make journalism their calling post-football.

Lou was a favourite face on The Sunday Footy Show in its early years with his hugely popular segment, Lou’s Handball. He also made regular appearances on Wide World of Sports, The Footy Show, Nine News and Today.

Lou Richards was, and always will be, a much loved member of the Nine family.

He may no longer be with us in the flesh, but his memory will be cherished. His legacy will be honoured and respected for generations to come.

Our deepest sympathies are extended to his daughters Nicole and Kim and their extended family.

Source: Nine News, Wikipedia, IMDb

8 Responses

  1. Following that stunning tribute by Nine News and Tony Jones, I was ignorant in just how integral Lou Richards was to the media and football in general. He really was a trailblazer and that package narrated by Jones followed by the final personal monologue was lump-in-the-throat TV. He mightn’t be officially a legend yet, but it seems he’s been an unofficial legend for some time already. RIP

    1. Lou got inducted into the AFL HOF in it’s inaugural class in 1996 for his playing career. A elevation to legend status (due to his post-football media career), is now inevitable, but is being prevented somehow.

      The AFL must look at allowing other notable football figures than players and coaches (such as media, and footballers who have made a major impact transitioning into the football media post-career, like Lou Richards, Bob Davis and Jack Dyer did) to be elevated to legend status.

      It feels like tonight, the last visible link to the pioneering era of Australian Rules coverage on television, has left us: and will leave a major hole in the hearts of many who have watched the game evolve in the last sixty years.

      1. Legends can only be elevated for their playing and coaching record. Lou’s media influence was greater than his playing influence so unless the rules change, he can’t become a legend based on his media career. I don;t see why he couldn’t also be posthumously inducted again in the media category.

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