Dan Cook of San Antonio Paper–Known for ‘Fat Lady’ Quote–Dies at 81

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Dan Cook, a San Antonio sports writer who helped popularize the phrase “the opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings,” died Thursday. He was 81.

The San Antonio Express-News, for which Cook worked for 51 years, reported that he died after a long illness. Cook was also the sports anchor at San Antonio television station KENS for 44 years.

Cook uttered the now-ubiquitous phrase while discussing an NBA playoff series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Bullets on a 1978 newscast.

The Yale Book of Quotations later concluded it was first quoted in print in 1976, attributed to Texas Tech sports information director Ralph Carpenter, and was a variation on an old Southern saying.

Between his newspaper and television duties, Cook wrote six columns a week and delivered two sports telecasts and two radio commentaries each day. He was also the executive sports editor for the Express-News from 1960 to 1975.

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