“Muhammad Ali, This Is Your Life!”: Celebrate Ali’s Life & Times with This Touching 1978 TV Tribute

Tonight, we pass along the sad news that Muham­mad Ali, one of the great ath­letes and per­son­al­i­ties of our time, has passed away at the age of 74. Hav­ing bat­tled Parkin­son’s Dis­ease for decades, his pass­ing does­n’t come as a com­plete sur­prise. But, for any­one who remem­bers Ali in his prime, this news will cer­tain­ly come as a blow. There is per­haps not a bet­ter way to remem­ber Ali’s life and times than to watch the 1978 episode of This Is Your Life, the long-run­ning TV show that fol­lowed this for­mat:

Each week, an unsus­pect­ing celebri­ty would be lured by some ruse to a loca­tion near the stu­dio. The celebri­ty would then be sur­prised with the news that they are to be the fea­tured guest. Next, the celebri­ty was escort­ed into the stu­dio, and one by one, peo­ple who were sig­nif­i­cant in the guest’s life would be brought out to offer anec­dotes. At the end of the show, fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends would sur­round the guest, who would then be pre­sent­ed with gifts.

This show (record­ed in Eng­land in this case) is an endear­ing trib­ute to the champ, all the more mov­ing to watch now because Ali is gone. The high­light comes around the 38 minute mark, when Smokin Joe Fra­zier, Ali’s great rival, pays a sur­pris­ing vis­it.

Muham­mad you will be missed.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Muham­mad Ali Sings in Broadway’s First Black Pow­er Musi­cal (1970)

Muham­mad Ali Plans to Fight in Mars in Lost 1966 Inter­view

Muham­mad Ali Gives a Dra­mat­ic Read­ing of His Poem on the Atti­ca Prison Upris­ing

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.