Longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Nahan dies at 81

Updated: December 27, 2007, 6:09 PM ET
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LOS ANGELES -- Longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Stu Nahan, also familiar to movie fans for his appearances in the series of "Rocky'' films, died Wednesday. He was 81.

His daughter, Kathy Derington, said Nahan was surrounded by family when he passed away at his home in Studio City.

[+] EnlargeStu Nahan
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesStu Nahan had a long career as a Los Angeles sportscaster, working Dodgers and Kings telecasts.

He had battled lymphoma since being diagnosed with that form of cancer in January 2006.

He played a small but vital role in the "Rocky" films as the play-by-play commentator who called all of the fictional boxer's title bouts. Nahan's voice was used for the play-by-play in the computer boxing game that helped spark the title character's comeback in the final film of the series, "Rocky Balboa."

Nahan also appeared as himself in films, perhaps most memorably in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" as the straight man to outrageous stoner/surfer Jeff Spicoli in a dream sequence in which Spicoli is being interviewed at the beach after winning a surfing competition. It's in that sequence, in response to one of Nahan's interview questions, that Spicoli calls surfing "a way of looking at that wave and saying 'Hey Bud, let's party.' "

A former minor league hockey goalie, Nahan had been a sports anchor for three different television stations in Los Angeles. He retired from TV in 1999, and most recently did pre- and post-game radio shows for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Among his other jobs, Nahan at one time worked telecasts of the Los Angeles Kings' NHL games, and current Kings broadcaster Bob Miller said Nahan was special.

"He was always visible at events, and it didn't matter what sport it was. Everybody knew Stu, and not only in Los Angeles. People knew Stu around the country,'' Miller said. "We'd go on Kings road trips and people would say, 'How's Stu Nahan doing?'

"He knew every player and he could joke with them. That's kind of the way he did his interviews -- kind of needling the player a little bit and getting the player to loosen up and kind of laugh with him. He was very good at that. He was a sportscaster who was at the events. He didn't just stay in the studio.''

Nahan was a goalie at McGill College in Montreal and was signed by the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs in 1946. He played for the minor league Los Angeles Monarchs, but his playing career ended when the Monarchs folded in 1952.

He began his broadcasting career in radio, doing play-by-play for a minor league baseball team in Modesto. He began his first nightly sports reports on a Sacramento television station. Nahan also hosted a children's TV program there, as "Skipper Stu.'' He later moved to Philadelphia, where he was "Captain Philadelphia'' on another children's show, and did play-by-play for the NHL's Flyers.

He returned to California in 1968 and started his long run as a sportscaster in Los Angeles.

Nahan's survivors include his widow, Sandy; children Kathy, Mark and Kevin from a previous marriage; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.