George Michael, 70, a high-rated and hyperanimated Washington sportscaster whose extensive use of game highlights from across the country on his nationally syndicated show has now become the norm in the industry, died Thursday at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Mr. Michael was a popular rock-and-roll DJ in Philadelphia and New York before making a successful transition to television, where his boisterous style and unremitting hustle made him one of the dominant personalities in Washington for years. He represented sports as entertainment, with what some regarded as a team-friendly approach, especially to the hometown Redskins.
Washington Post sportswriter Gary Pomerantz once wrote that Mr. Michael -- who once called himself "King George" as a Philly rock jock -- was the "P.T. Barnum of Washington-area sportscasters, hip with the lip, the Daddyo of the video."
Mr. Michael worked at WRC (Channel 4), an NBC-owned-and-operated station, from 1980 to 2008. With his bronzed face, receding golden hair and brilliant teeth, he was one of the most immediately recognizable figures on local television, joining news anchors Doreen Gentzler and Jim Vance and weatherman Bob Ryan to form the area's dominant local TV news team in 1989.