In October 1962, Gillis became New England’s first nightly TV sports anchor on the old Channel 5 (WHDH-TV).
Gillis, who got his start in radio in New Bedford, was well-known as both a sports anchor and host of the “Candlepins” program. After the old Channel 5 went off the air, he served as sports director at WCVB-TV from 1972 to 1983 and hosted the bowling program until 1995.
His resume also included doing play-by-play for the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox.
“He wrote the blueprint for local sportscasting, which I use to this very day. He left an enormously large pair of shoes, which I am still trying to fill and he remains the conscience of our sports department,” said Mike Lynch, the current WCVB-TV sports anchor.
“A true Boston legend, there was no one better. He leaves a legacy of warmth, humor and mentorship to the many who followed in his footsteps. He will be missed,” the station said.
Between the above news and Bob Lobel’s recent departure from Ch.4, New Englanders of a certain vintage are feeling really fucking old this month.