Chris Berman lost his father on Monday, the 89-year-old who was credited with getting his now famous sportscaster son into football.
James Berman passed away on September 23, and though representatives for Chris Berman and ESPN did not disclose the cause of death, it has been known that James was in failing health.
Chris Berman was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, not far from where ESPN would later be headquartered in Bristol. His mother Peggy Shevell worked as a reporter and researcher for Time magazine, while his father James Keliner Berman was a corporate vice president with Raisler Corporation, a mechanical engineering and contracting company in New York
The family would move to Irvington, New York, where Chris grew up. It was during those years that James Berman instilled a love of football in his son.
Chris Berman also had the support of his father as he embarked on a broadcasting career. He started at a sports talk radio station in Westbury, Connecticut, making $23 a night. When ESPN was founded in 1979, Chris became one of its first employees, anchoring a number of sports broadcasts and even game shows.
“He is our most important person,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s vice president of production, in 2008. “He is the face of ESPN.”
Chris Berman had been caring for his ailing father and was on a leave of absence from ESPN. On Monday, the network tweeted a message of condolences to the Berman family.
“Condolences to the family of Chris Berman on the loss of his father, James. Chris’ father was a great fan of the NFL …,” ESPN tweeted.
The network added: “And he passed that love and enthusiasm on to his sons. Chris thanks everyone for their support and will be back next weekend.”
Others sent supportive messages to Berman after his father’s passing
So heartbroken and grieving for loss of Chris Berman’s dad, James, who was one of the finest men you could ever know. Still in our prayers.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 23, 2013
While Chris Berman cared for his father, Trey Wingo took over for Berman’s duties hosting ESPN NFL Countdown.