April 21, 2004 by

Norris McWhirter

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Categories: Business, Extraordinary People, Military, Writers/Editors

nmcwhirter.jpgNorris Dewar McWhirter, the co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, died on April 19 from a heart attack. He was 78.
The London native did minesweeping duty during World War II as a member of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, and earned a law degree from Oxford University in 1948. A former track star, McWhirter spent the next three years working as a sports correspondent for London’s Observer newspaper then joined the British Broadcasting Corp. as a sports commentator. From 1952 to 1972, he covered numerous athletic competitions for the BBC, including Olympic track and field events.
McWhirter and his twin brother, Ross, wrote and edited the first Guinness Book of Records in 1955. Published by the Guinness brewery as a way to officially end trivia disputes in pubs, the book became a worldwide success. The 2002 edition, which was published in 37 languages, spent 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, making Guinness World Records the highest-selling copyright book of all time. For 30 years, McWhirter edited the annual anthology of extraordinary feats; he remained on staff as the book’s advisory editor until 1996.
McWhirter also produced “The Guinness Book of Amazing Animals,” “Guinness: The Stories Behind the Records” and “Norris McWhirter’s Book of Millennium Records.” In his spare time, he contributed articles on athletics to the Encyclopedia Britannica and regularly appeared on the British television show, “Record Breakers.”
Ross McWhirter was murdered in 1975 after offering a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Irish Republican Army bombers. A few months after his assassination, Norris published his memoir, “Ross, The Story of a Shared Life.”

One Response to Norris McWhirter

  1. ellery

    we had the pleasure of knowing you and some of your familey. and went to the memorial.rita and ray will never forget you .

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