CNN reports the death of its very first sports anchor, Nick Charles. After battling bladder cancer since 2009, Charles died Saturday (6/25) at age 64.
Charles began anchoring sports on CNN on June 1, 1980, the day the network began. For most of the next two decades he co-hosted “Sports Tonight” with Fred Hickman, covering the whole range of sports.
The son of a taxi driver, Charles grew up in inner-city Chicago and put himself through college driving a taxi. In fact, his bio says he was still driving a taxi when he auditioned for his first TV job at WICS-TV (ABC) Springfield, IL. Until then he had been known as Nick Nickeas, but was told that his Greek surname sounded too ethnic. At age 24 he adopted the name Nick Charles.
His TV career took him to Baltimore and Washington, DC before being hired for the launch of CNN.
“His passing is a loss to CNN, to the sports world and to the fans and friends everywhere who were with him to the end of his extraordinary life,” said Jim Walton, Charles’ field producer in his early days and current president of CNN Worldwide.