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King of The Sports Page
Rick Reilly
May 16, 1994
This SI Classic from April 1986 examines the life of Jim Murray, America's top sports columnist, who, despite a series of tragedies, always keeps 'em laughing
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May 16, 1994

King Of The Sports Page

This SI Classic from April 1986 examines the life of Jim Murray, America's top sports columnist, who, despite a series of tragedies, always keeps 'em laughing

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A tour of the house is really more of a tour of Gerry—here we are at the Masters, at Pebble Beach, at the Dunes, at Madison Square Garden—until you arrive at a three-by-five photograph on the piano.

"This is my favorite," he says. "I don't know if she'd like it or not. But I like it. Look at those eyes. Look at them. There's just no jealousy in those eyes."

He fingers the frame, clears his throat.

"The final curtain is pretty bad, isn't it? The last scene, the last act, is pretty bad." Pause.

"Put it this way," he says. "It'll never sell in Dubuque."

You laugh. But Murray doesn't. He just smiles.

Fooled 'em again.

EPILOGUE, MAY 1994
Now 74, Jim Murray still writes three columns a week for the Times and still lives in that big house, though it's not nearly so empty these days. Thanks to laser surgery, Murray's eyesight has improved and the lights are up bright now. The Pulitzer he won in 1990 hangs in the front hall, not far from the Caritas Love of People Award he received in 1992 at a banquet that was attended by everybody in L.A. from James Gainer to President Reagan. And, lastly, he's not alone anymore. Her name is Linda McCoy, 50, and they first met when she served as his driver at the 1969 Indianapolis 500. She wrote him two years after Gerry's death to say how sorry she was, and they struck up a friendship, in writing. They began dating Murray-style—a U.S. Open here, a World Series there—and by 1991 she had moved in. "She's a gorgeous girl with a terrific sense of humor, "says Murray. "Basically, she's killing me keeping me young." Best of all, like Gerry, she thinks his lines are funny. "And even if she doesn't, bless her heart, she laughs anyway."

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