Don GillisBoston is mourning the loss of a TV sportscasting legend today with the passing of former channel 5 sports anchor Don Gillis. Gillis was 85 years old.

In the 1950’s, Gillis worked with Curt Gowdy on the Red Sox radio broadcasts at WHDH. He also hosted a weekly sports radio program with writers from the Boston Herald Traveler and other personalities.

On the television side, he was the first anchor in Boston to do a sportscast, starting in 1962. He was also the long time host of candlepin bowling programs on the station right up until 1995.

He was also the father of former channel 7 sportscaster Gary Gillis.

WCVB report: Don Gillis, Dean Of Boston TV Sports, Dies


8 thoughts on “Boston TV Legend Don Gillis Passes Away

  1. We should put Don on the Evaluation list. Posthumously he would ace the course and be ‘Approved’ by everyone. Don, from my recollection, did a fabulous job and was a positive icon in the same way that Bob Lobel was a negative one. As host of candlepin bowling, Don taught me what a ‘Half-Worcester’ was. Godspeed to a great sports media man of Boston. Hall of Fame? Without a second thought.


  2. Very understated. From the school of allowing the highlights speak for themselves. A classy guy. His son, Gary, was very nice and from the same mold.


  3. Not even the biggest hater out there could give Don Gillis a “Disapprove.”

    Good idea, Chris.

    Don Gillis: “Approve!”


  4. Saturday mornings during my youth would not have been the same without Don Gillis. Many hours spent watching Candlepin Bowling with my Dad. A great sports voice in New England, and a fine gentleman.


  5. Don Gillis was just a class act all the way around.I have the best memories of him and am very saddened.I’m glad he was in Boston so I could watch him when i was a kid.Don,you will be sorely missed!


  6. The man who once wondered “What Will Sox Fans Do After They Win The World Series”?

    He figured Sox fans would diminish considerably in number, because there would be no more drama left for them.

    Yet another clueless member of the mediacracy gone bye, bye. Love him for his mutton chops, bad suits, and Saturdays at 12:30 hosting “Candlepin Bowling” on Channel 5 & Channel 40 in Springfield (Via Microwave), but other than that, let him go to that place where hack, clueless, love myself, to hell with the fans, sportswriters & sportscasters, like the embittered Dick Young go. His self-important drivel won’t be missed!


    1. On behalf of myself and my family I would like to thank those of you who took the time to offer your remembrances of Don. Your kindness and consideration is appreciated and will always be remembered.


      Gary Gillis


      I never heard my father discuss what Sox fans would do after they won the World Series. Do you recall where or when it was that you heard that?

      He did have some awful sportcoats and the old photos of the long sideburns are worth a chuckle. I know I am biased here but I can state unequivocally that he took the preparation of his nightly sportscasts seriously. He chose the highlights and the words he used quite carefully. He was never hack, certainly not clueless and never in love with himself. He loved what he did for a living and was grateful for the opportunity.

      I also know that he always felt that he had a responsibility to the fans because he has access which they did not. Embittered? I think you are projecting.

      As for his “self-important drivel” – my father never lost sight of the fact that he reported on grown men who played games for a living. Not exactly life and death. As a matter of fact every time we would pass Children’s Hospital on the way to the ballpark he would make sure that we shared a prayer for the kids inside who were dealing with things that were a little more important than going striking out three times or missing a field goal. Thank you for allowing me to set that straight.


      1. Gary
        Growing up in the old neighborhood, Valley and Sterling Rds, I remember your dad’s great smile,
        maybe that’s why Richie went into dentistry, and the hundreds of 33 record albums with the bold, black D.A.G.initials written on them given to my mom and dad. (I think my mom and Linda have saved a few of the classic Frank and Dean ones)
        Mostly, I remember him as a great dad to you and your brother and sisters and a wonderful neighbor,
        but above all, a gentle man.
        Gary, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


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