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Frank Gifford

  • Birthplace: Santa Monica, California
  • Birthday: August 16
Date of passing: 
August 09, 2015

Obituary

Obituary: 

Frank Gifford was an NFL halfback and flanker for the New York Giants who went on to become a commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1998. He provided play-by-play alongside partners that included Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. He was also the husband of Today show host Kathie Lee Gifford.

Gifford’s football career gained traction in college, when he was the star of his team at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s. His work in show business began at the same time: in 1951 he doubled for Jerry Lewis in the comedy That’s My Boy. The following year he appeared in Bonzo Goes to College as a football player and was also the No. 1 draft pick (11th overall) of the Giants.

Gifford played both offense and defense for the Big Apple team, and made eight Pro Bowl appearances and five trips to the NFL Championship Game. In 1956, he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player as New York won the NFL title with a victory over the Chicago Bears. In 1960 he was injured during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles and was forced to sit out for 18 months. He returned in 1962 as a flanker and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He retired after the 1964 season, his 12th in the league, all with the Giants. In 1977 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When he was still with the Giants, he signed a contract with Warner Bros. for film and television roles and hired an acting coach. He appeared in the films The Unknown Man; Sally and Saint Anne; The All American, starring Tony Curtis; and in Jerry Maguire as himself. He often appeared as himself on television as well, including episodes of such series as The Reporter, Webster, Life Goes On, Coach, Spin City and Psych.

Frank Gifford was an NFL halfback and flanker for the New York Giants who went on to become a commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1998. He provided play-by-play alongside partners that included Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. He was also the husband of Today show host Kathie Lee Gifford.

Gifford’s football career gained traction in college, when he was the star of his team at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s. His work in show business began at the same time: in 1951 he doubled for Jerry Lewis in the comedy That’s My Boy. The following year he appeared in Bonzo Goes to College as a football player and was also the No. 1 draft pick (11th overall) of the Giants.

Gifford played both offense and defense for the Big Apple team, and made eight Pro Bowl appearances and five trips to the NFL Championship Game. In 1956, he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player as New York won the NFL title with a victory over the Chicago Bears. In 1960 he was injured during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles and was forced to sit out for 18 months. He returned in 1962 as a flanker and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He retired after the 1964 season, his 12th in the league, all with the Giants. In 1977 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When he was still with the Giants, he signed a contract with Warner Bros. for film and television roles and hired an acting coach. He appeared in the films The Unknown Man; Sally and Saint Anne; The All American, starring Tony Curtis; and in Jerry Maguire as himself. He often appeared as himself on television as well, including episodes of such series as The Reporter, Webster, Life Goes On, Coach, Spin City and Psych.

Gifford began doing a five-minute sports show for the CBS Radio network during the height of his football career, and he took over the sports segment entirely in 1962 and worked the first Super Bowl for CBS in 1967. Also, for ABC, he hosted Wide World of Sports and sports specials like Battle of the Network Stars. He covered the 1972, 1976 and 1984 Summer Olympics, as well as the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Winter Games.

He was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his Monday Night Football coverage: one for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Programming in 1974 and the other for Outstanding Sports Personality in 1976. He was also the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award in 1995, for his contributions to pro football coverage in radio and television. Additionally, he authored several books, including 1976’s Gifford on Courage, about the 10 most courageous athletes he knew.

Gifford died August 9, 2015, in Riverside, Connecticut. He was 84.

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

2 Nominations No Emmys
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