Renowned sports commentator Darrell Eastlake, best known for Wide World of Sports, has died aged 75.
He died following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and emphysema at a nursing home on the Central Coast.
Eastlake had been calling rugby league for NBN-3 in Newcastle before he began working for the Nine Network in 1982. He worked in TV and radio for more than 40 years, perhaps best known for his enthusiastic coverage State of Origin during the 1980s and early ’90s, as well as Formula 1, ironman, weightlifting and superbikes.
He was pulled from the commentary team at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games for his over-excited performances.
Ken Sutcliffe worked alongside Eastlake and remembers a man who was full of enthusiasm.
“Darrell used to get to a fever pitch from very early on in the game,” Sutcliffe told The Daily Telegraph in 2013.
“He’d get so excited that David Hill, our executive producer, stood behind Darrell in the broadcast box at Lang Park with a rolled up Courier Mail.
“He’d belt him over the head if he started getting too carried away but Darrell just kept on calling in his own unique style.
“He had his own unique style. You heard his voice and you knew you were watching State of Origin.”
Eastlake started his working life as a baggage handler at Qantas, then ran a surf shop before entering the media.
Tom Malone head of Nine sports said in a statement, “Darrell’s impact on Australian sport cannot be overstated. He was one of the leading voices and faces of Wide World of Sports. He revolutionised sports like Weightlifting, Formula 1, and Superbikes with his trademark excitement and “HUUGE” commentary. Better than most, he understood that sport is entertainment, and for the average person, a momentary escape from their everyday life
“His inimitable commentary was central to the early success of State of Origin, especially his love of King Wally, Lang Park, and the underdog Queenslanders. He loved athletes and he loved sport and shared that passion and love with all of us through the television. Our thoughts are with his wife Julie and his family and friends.”