Live 5’s Bill Sharpe celebrates big birthday, anniversary on the air

LIVE 5 ALERT DESK: Bill Sharpe celebrates big birthday, anniversary at Live 5

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Longtime Live 5 News anchor Bill Sharpe celebrates his 70th birthday this week.

William Herschel Sharpe, Jr. was born October 15, 1950, to William, Sr. and Kathryn. Born and reared in West Ashley, Sharpe has also spent his entire life and career in Charleston.

This year also marks 47 years for Sharpe at Live 5 WCSC.

Here are some fun facts about the year he was born to put into perspective how much things have changed since the Lowcountry’s most well known anchorman took his first breath.

According to, in the year 1950:

  • Minimum wage - 75¢ per hour
  • Average annual income - $3,210
  • Price of new house - $8,450
  • Movie ticket - 46¢
  • McDonald’s hamburger -15¢
  • Loaf of bread - 12¢
  • 10 pounds of potatoes - 35¢

According to The People in the year 1950:

  • Gallon of gas - 18¢
  • New car - $1,510
  • Men’s All Wool Suits - $28.90
  • One carat diamond ring - $399.00

In 1950, Harry S. Truman was President and Sam Walton opened the five-and-dime store that was the start of his Walmart empire. CBS received an FCC license to broadcast in color in 1950. Popular music artists were the Ames Brothers, Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, Guy Lombardo, Jo Stafford, Lloyd Glenn, Louise Jordan, Margaret Whiting, and Nat King Cole.

Sharpe will celebrate his birthday with his wife, Katherine, and their children.

Mayors and elected officials from across the Lowcountry and current and former co-workers recorded birthday greetings for Sharpe.

Sharpe joined the Live 5 News team on Oct. 3, 1973 at the age of 22. He started as a radio newsman who was shifting gears to television.

During the early 70s, scripts were hammered out on an electric Smith-Corona typewriter and radio interviews were recorded on reel-to-reel audio tape.

National news clattered out on a newsroom teletype machine and it was “film at eleven.” Videotape would take a bit longer to replace film cameras in local television newsrooms.

Sharpe has covered stories across the country and across the globe. Among his most memorable assignments are covering the installation of a new Pope in Rome, and interviews with President Ronald Reagan at the White House and with Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump while they were still candidates.

Sharpe graduated from St. Andrews High School, which is now West Ashley High. He earned a degree from Emory University in Atlanta in English Literature with a minor in French.

George Burns once said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

Sharpe is living proof of that sentiment. He still plays tennis and rides his bike daily.

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