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Tribute Biofile Jay Larkin

Posted on 08/09/2010

The former Showtime Network boxing czar, senior VP and executive producer Jay Larkin has passed away at age 59. He was a friendly, accessible, kind-hearted, and very likeable man, as reflected in this Biofile interview which we did in 2002.

Hobbies/Interests: “Play with my kids, go to the theater.”

Favorite Movies: “Godfather I, II.”

Musical Tastes: “Classical Beatles, 60’s rock, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Rahmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Dvorak, who am I missing? Schubert, Chopin, big band, jazz singers, Sinatra, Bennett, Basie, Ella Fitzgerald. If I was condemned to listen to one album the rest of my life on a desert island, it’s Sinatra and Basie Live At The Sands.”

Funny Boxing Memory: “Oh my. A funny memory was Marvin Hagler asking Gil Clancy on the air, if he could go to the bathroom. Marvin was doing color commentary with Gil for CBS. And he leaned over to Gil and said, I got to go pee. On the air! That cracked me up [smiles].”
Early Boxing Memory: “Holyfield-Douglas was the fulfillment of a promise, the vindication of a prediction that I made in 1986 – that Evander Holyfield would be heavyweight champion of the world. Sometimes you just feel things. Sometimes you look at a fighter and you take his skills and you combine his heart and his courage and I was convinced from the first time I saw Holyfield he would be heavyweight champion of the world. And I told that to his promoters Lou and Dan Duva and they said, You’re nuts! But we hope you’re right. And in 1989, the late Dan Duva turned to be and said, You were right.”

Favorite Boxers: “Number one fighter of all time – Marvin Hagler. Many other fighters who I love as people and as fighters…certainly Evander Holyfield. Tommy Hearns, who I admire to no end. Big Marciano fan, Lamotta fan. Robinson. Fighters who are there to lay everything on the line are the fighters I’ve always loved the best.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Hagler-Leonard. The whole fight. One of the most exciting nights I’ve had in my life was being at that fight. I’ve seen that fight now twenty times. And every time I see it, I think the other guy won. The night I watched it live I was convinced Marvin won. I watched in on tape and I was certain Ray won. It’s been that way since I watched the fight. Back and forth every time. The two most exciting events I’ve been to so far – Woodstock in 1969 and Hagler-Leonard in 1987. The electricity and the excitement in the air. I was there helping out Caesars Palace, working the press row in Ray’s corner.”

Most Painful Moment: “Benn-McClellan. Well, the outcome. It was one of the most amazing fights I’ve ever seen, let alone been associated with. The way it ended. In the hospital at three o’clock in the morning was tragic. And the aftermatch was tragic.”

Another Memory: “Holyfield-Tyson I was an astounding boxing event. Holyfield-Tyson II was probably my proudest moment as a television producer. Once the ear-biting occurred, it ceased to become a sports event and became a news event. And we covered it as a news event. I was enormously proud of my team.”

Person Most Admired: “My personal hero – a man whose photo I have on my wall in my office is Winston Churchill. I’ve made a hobby of studying Winston Churchill.”

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