Frank Deford, one of the best known sportscasters in the entire history of television and media, who retired from active job earlier this month died at his home on May 28. The news that shocked many of his fans not just in the US but in other parts of the world came so sudden and so unexpectedly, that they found it hard to believe.
Many people at first thought it was an internet or social media prank. But finally they had to believe that the inevitable had happened and their favorite broadcaster was no more. Frank Deford was 78. The news of his death was confirmed by his wife Carol Deford.
He was in the business of sports coverage for more than five decades. In his entire career he never looked tired or out of steam. For the last fifty years he was writing for Sports Illustrated, and spent 37 years as a weekly fixture on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” where in his distinct booming voice, he offered thoughtful insights on the world of sports.
Earlier this month, while Deford delivered his final Sweetness And Light segment for the network, he bowed out with the same verbal gymnastics he has employed on air for the past 37 years. “Yes, this is my swansong, my farewell, my last hurrah. Adieu, adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen,” Deford said.
While retiring from his long job at NPR, Deford had said, “The wonderful thing about delivering sports commentary on NPR was that because it has such a broad audience, I was able to reach people who otherwise had little or no interest in sport — especially as an important part of our human culture…Nothing has pleased me so much as when someone — usually a woman — writes me or tells me that she’s appreciated sports more because NPR allowed me to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture”.
78-year old Deford was born on December 16, 1938. He was best known for his contribution to Sports Illustrated magazine from 1962 until his death in 2017. Besides, he worked as a correspondent for the Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel television program on HBO. A member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, Deford was six times voted Sportswriter of the Year by the members of that organization, and was twice voted Magazine Writer of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.
The renowned sportscaster is survived by his wife Carol, son Christan and daughter Scarlet. His books were well recieved and included Five Strides on the Banked Track: The Life and Times of the Roller Derby, Cut ‘n’ Run, There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America, Big Bill Tilden: The Triumphs and The Tragedy, The Owner, Everybody’s All-American, Alex: The Life of a Child, The Spy in the Deuce Court, The World’s Tallest Midget: The Best of Frank Deford, Casey On The Loose, Love and Infamy, The Best Of Frank Deford, The Other Adonis: A Novel, An American Summer: A Novel, The Old Ball Game, The Entitled, Bliss, Remembered, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter. Frank Deford funeral service details are yet to be made available and will be updated here when available.