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Formula One (F1) broadcasting legend, Murray Walker, died at the age of 97. The British Racing Drivers’ Club announced the sad news on March 13, 2021. They called Walker “the nation’s” favorite “commentator.”
He was born on Oct. 10, 1923, in Birmingham, England, U.K. His name given at birth was Graeme Murray Walker. The broadcaster was also a known actor. He was in “Driving Ambition,” “Grandstand,” and “Murray Walker’s Motorsport Madness.”
His father participated in professional motorcyclist racing from around 1920 to 1935. He and his mother would go with his father to his various races.
In 1955, he married Elizabeth Allen. Sixty-six years later she became his widow. His father — Graham Walker — was a journalist, motorcycle racer, and fellow broadcaster. As a commentator, he was known for his comical mistakes while commentating and his “Murray-ism.”
He commentated races for over 50 years and never took a driving test for himself. While working for ITV, his last race was the 2001 United States Grand Prix. At the age of 77, he retired in 2001.
The broadcaster survived cancer in 2013. This is attributed to the fact that he fell while walking and injured his hips. Doctors were able to find his cancer at an early stage by doing blood tests.
For over 10-years he commentated with retired champion James Hunt. At first, the pair were wary of each other. Hunt was known as a party animal and there was an age difference. However, they soon warmed up to each other.
During an interview in 2013, Walker stated that the BBC could not afford to send him or Hunt to long-distance non-European races — like the one held in Brazil. Instead, the commentators would broadcast from BBC studios and acted “like they were there.”
The F1 broadcaster will be missed by many people. Most refer to him as “a gigantic personality,” “a wonderful man,” and “decent, honest, likable.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
IMDb: Murray Walker
Motorsport: Murray Walker obituary: F1 broadcasting legend dies aged 97; by Adam Cooper
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