The Last Gentleman

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Cloe Poisson photo

I loved Arnold Dean, and my heart broke when I heard the news.

I worked at WTIC for 16 years, and part of that included the privilege — and it was exactly that — of being on the air with him a lot. There are some people who are so delightful that they pull something else out of you, something you barely even knew was there. Arnold was like that. He was a great broadcaster, but he also made the rest of us a lot better.

It has been said and will be said that Arnold was the last link in this market to a Golden Age of gentleman broadcasters, the guys with the honeyed tones and cultivated affability. That’s true, but my sense is that Arnold was always different, always special. I knew some of those other guys, and off the air, they could be surly, demanding, coarse. Arnold really was the beautiful spirit he appeared to be on the air, and it’s no exaggeration to say that his arrival in the newsroom, on a daily basis, lifted everybody’s spirits.

He had a great laugh and an expansive enjoyment for jokes at his own expense, which was fortunate, because I made a lot of them. That was the joy of it.  Getting Arnold to laugh at a joke about him was what made it worth doing. Whether anybody else laughed was incidental.

They were often jokes about his age.

“I was up at Fenway Park yesterday, and Ellis Burks seemed really happy to see me.”

“I think he thought you were Mrs. Yawkey.”

Chortles from Arnold.

In Tampa-St. Pete in 1999, I got to co-host an installment of “Sports Talk” with Arnold. I think about that a lot. I mean, this man was radio royalty, in every sense of the word, and I got to do his show with him.

We had been out of touch for a year or so,, what with one thing and another. That’s what hurts. I envy Al Terzi for having had that recent lunch with him. And that should be a lesson. If you love somebody, have lunch with them. You never know when one of you might be leaving.

I loved this man. We all did. He didn’t give you a lot of other options.

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17 thoughts on “The Last Gentleman

  1. Donald Whiteway

    Wonderful heartfelt tribute Colin. We will all miss the “gentleman” Arnold Dean. Thank you.

  2. Mark O'Brien

    You’re absolutely right, Colin. It’s as if the man never cultivated a persona. He simply and consistently was Arnold Dean.

    His, like Bob Steele’s, was a voice with which I grew up. So, one evening in 2004, when my son, Quinn, was playing basketball at Northwest Catholic — and we’d gone to see Northwest play at Rocky Hill High School — I was delighted to find Arnold Dean seated right behind me in the bleachers. I turned around, introduced myself, thanked him for his work, and told him I was a longtime fan. That started a wide-ranging conversation that lasted through the entire game, as if I’d been a friend on whose arrival Arnold had been waiting.

    Along with the Dean of Sports, we’ve lost a gentleman, indeed. Sadly, our children will never know what radio was like in the era Arnold’s passing ends.

  3. Bruce D. Blue

    This is sad and tragic news. I remember when I did my college internship with Colin and Ray. Arnold was always around to talk sports with and just have a great time. He was if I may use a present term the “wikipedia” of sports information and such a class act. He would lend me books from his office so I could learn about the players and the games we both loved. I will never forget his smile and ready laugh. His tribute to Bob Steele will never been forgotten either. Thanks Arnold for making this college student back then feel like a graduate in the school of sports knowledge. Sleep on my friend.

  4. david edelstein

    a beautiful guy–unpretentious to a fault. I knew him to be a good friend, husband, and a loving dad. He will be missed every day.

  5. Lou Lange

    Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Arnold, Colin. He was always affable amd warm on the air and we are poorer with his loss.

  6. Karl Lewis

    Several years ago, I spotted Mr. Dean at the Rent, walked up to him, and thanked him for being- as it were- a gentleman and a scholar. He looked a bit sheepish when I did this, but I got the impression that I was not the first to have done this. A gentleman sportscaster he was. I cannot think of another now.

  7. RH

    Small edit, but the “when I heard the news” link at the start of your post doesn’t lead to the news, just an old picture. I think this was the link you intended.

  8. Christopher Rigling

    Thank you Colin, for your heartfelt tr tribute. Arnold Dean was a true gentleman. Listening to him made me feel like a part of the Connecticut community, and like it was my home.

  9. Sue Morris

    I worked with Arnold Dean in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was “The Dean of Sports.” Although I was in the news department at WTIC AM & FM, he knew I had adored sports, and he gave me a break: to do some weekend sports and the Red Sox “wrap-up” show when no one else was available. Thanks to Arnold, I was able to pursue my passion and help out at “the shop.” There are so many other work-related things I could say about a member of my “radio family,” but mainly, my heartfelt condolences go out to the D’Angelo family. Arnold was simply the best, better than all the rest.

  10. Angela Dias

    You described Arnold’s spirit beautifully.Thanks for reminding us to tend to those we care about.

  11. bruce h alexander

    Steele. Arnold. Bertel. That real old chick in the a.m. who disliked me.
    WTIC. I am glad I’ve left CT, but yes…they were the pro’s, and today, no one comes close. My radio is ‘off’.

  12. Perry Ury

    Arnold Dean — what you saw and heard on and off the air was the “real deal”. I was with WTIC at the beginning of his Sports Talk Show. It was his personality that made it happen. No bluster, no hype — just Arnold.
    God Bless you Arnold. My condolences to the D’Angelo family.

    Perry Ury —- Sarasota, FL

  13. Joseph Majesky

    Thanks, Colin, for putting into words what I felt about Arnold. A worthy successor to the immortal Bob Steele.

  14. Greg Gilmartin

    Arnold will always hold a special place in my life. He hired me in 1977 to work with him in WTIC sports and it changed my career. He will always be one of the genuine good guys. We are all better shaving known him, heard him and laughed with him.

  15. Rita M. Reali

    Arnold was a real gentleman… and a true “gentle giant” in the Connecticut broadcasting world. I first met him in January of 1981, when I was a high-school news intern at WTIC-AM. Arnold’s genuine warmth and kindness were evident right from the start — and he always made time for a bit of conversation with everyone… even the shy 17-year-old kid who came in twice a week. Colin, you captured the real essence of this legend of a man. Thank you for sharing this reflection.

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