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Tom Larson, Legendary Sports Broadcaster, Dead at 84

Tom Larson, Legendary Sports Broadcaster, Dead at 84

Tom Larson, the legendary sportscaster who vowed to grow a beard until the Boston Bruins won a sixth Stanley Cup, has died at 84. 

His son, Jeff, broke the news to The Boston Globe, sharing that Larson passed on Wednesday in Fredericksburg, Virginia, from cancer complications. 

Larson, born Lanny Lee Larson, began his sportscasting career in Bloomington, IL, Peoria, IL, and Lansing MI. He settled into Boston in 1969 and joined the Bruins’ pre and postgame shows. He also became a Boston Red Sox TV personality around the same time. 

Tom Larson’s first two years with the NHL team were highly successful. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. To show his dedication to his home team, Larson publicly vowed not to shave his beard until they won another title. That didn’t happen until 2011 when the Bruins overtook the Vancouver Canucks. 

Tom Larson Grew His Beard For 39 Years

Despite the nearly four decades, Tom Larson held his word. 

“During the mid-70s, I’d grown a beard,” he said in 2011, per Boston Radio Watch. “And there was a lot of negative reaction to it. They were calling me ‘Pinko’, ‘Commie’ and [saying] how they couldn’t enjoy watching the hockey game because Larson had a beard and all of this.”

Larson admitted that he “had no idea” what he was getting into when he made his pledge, but after so much time went on, he realized how important his promise was to Bruins fans.

“It struck me that if I said I wouldn’t shave it until the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, the reaction would be different. It would be, ‘Yeah Larson, alright!’ Now it’s connected with Bruins success!”

When the sports personality finally shaved his face, he admitted he had become “accustomed” to the beard and said he’d probably let it grow back. 

Aside from his stints with the Bruins and Red Sox, Tom Larson worked with WHDH radio as the sports director from 1981 through 1988. He finally joined NESN in 1985 and became the Bruins and Red Sox contributing host. He was also a writer for Front Row