New York City
In New York City, Whitney was one of the first supporters and largest underwriters of the USO. She was honored as USO Woman of the Year for her financial support and her support during World War II at which time she hosted a radio show called "Private Smiles". The show aired around the world from Kansas City. Her show was reported to have a better rating than her dear friend, Walter Cronkite.
In a nod to Marylou's radio persona husband Sonny later named a race horse "Pvt Smiles". Unfortunately Pvt Smiles competed against Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes
Marylou Whitney and the American Sportscasters Association (ASA)
Marylou Whitney, a current ASA member, served as Honorary Dinner Chairman of the American Sportscasters Association’s eighth annual Hall of Fame Dinner (December 3, 1992) and their ninth annual dinner (December 2, 1993). Both events were held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
In 1992, Mrs. Whitney served alongside Michael J. Roarty, former Vice President of Marketing for Anheuser Busch (General Chairman); Senator Jack Kemp (Honorary Co-Chairman); Senator Bill Bradley (Honorary Co-Chairman); ASA President Lou Schwartz (Dinner Chairman); and former boxing champ Jose Torres (Journal Chairman). The Master of Ceremonies for the event was veteran talk show host Larry King.
The honorees included: Vin Scully (Hall of Fame Inductee); Bob Costas (Sportscaster of the Year Award); Bud Greenspan (Graham McNamee Award); Arthur Ashe (Sports Legend Award); and John Madden (Sports Personality of the Year).
There was also a touching tribute to the “Voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers” Red Barber, who passed away that year, by former broadcasting partners Mel Allen and Vin Scully.
In 1993, Mrs. Whitney once again served as Dinner Chairman along with Mike Roarty (General Chairman), and Lou Schwartz (Dinner Chairman). ABC’s Robin Roberts was the evening’s Introductions Host, ASA Chairman Dick Enberg served as Host, and ASA Board of Director Jon Miller was the Master of Ceremonies.
The honorees included: Howard Cosell (Hall of Fame Inductee); Marty Glickman (Hall of Fame Inductee); Bob Costas (Sportscaster of the Year Award); Merle Harmon (Graham McNamee Award); and A.J. Foyt (Sports Legend Award).
The ASA also gave out a special “Upset of the Year” Award to recognize the stunning victory of racehorse Lil E. Tee, a 17 to 1 longshot that won the Kentucky Derby that year. Mrs. Whitney, along with legendary Chicago Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse, made the presentation to David Downs, who was Vice President of Sports Programming at ABC Sports at the time, for their live coverage of the event.
Some of the celebrity guests at the events included: New York Yankees great Yogi Berra, sportscasting legend Curt Gowdy; WWE President Vince McMahon; former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda; “Voice of Boxing” Don Dunphy; Metropolitan Opera singer Robert Merrill; NBA Commissioner David Stern; former President of NBC Sports Dick Ebersol; Boston Celtics play-by-play announcer Tommy Heinsohn; former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca; world renowned artist LeRoy Neiman; NBC Sportscasters Don Criqui and Charlie Jones; Rachel Robinson, wife of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson; former Miss America and actress Mary Ann Mobley; founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa and many others.
Read more about this topic: Marylou Whitney
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