Merchant, Larry

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MERCHANT, LARRY (1931– ), U.S. sports broadcaster and writer, known for his acerbic style of commentary. Merchant was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father ran a laundry and dry-cleaning business; his mother was a legal secretary. Merchant received a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1951, and after serving as a reporter for Stars and Stripes while in the Army, he began his journalism career in 1954 as sports editor of the Wilmington News in North Carolina. He was named sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News at 26, and moved to the New York Post as a sports columnist in 1965. He left the Post a decade later and moved into television, becoming the hbo boxing commentator in 1978. hbo officials said they wanted Merchant to become another Howard *Cosell, himself an outspoken sportscaster. In a 2003 interview, Merchant said: "It's not my job to be a cheerleader. I'm skeptical of hype." He covered many of the top boxing events of the late 20th century, including Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, and Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks. In 1985, Merchant received the Sam Taub Memorial Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcast Journalism. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002. He wrote the award-winning hbo documentary series "Legendary Nights," which focused on famous boxing matches. Merchant played himself in two movies that featured boxing scenes, the 2001 remake of Ocean's 11 and I Spy in 2002. He is the author of three books on sports: … And Every Day You Take Another Bite (1971), The National Football Lottery (1973), and Ringside Seat at the Circus (1976).

[Alan D. Abbey (2nd ed.)]