One of the best sportscasters in this part of the world, Frank Deford is dead. He was not just a sportscaster, but a consummate novelist, great author and an exceptional human being. He was 78.
The legendary writer, Frank Deford, reportedly died Sunday at his home in Key West. His wife reportedly confirmed the news to the press. The author and broadcaster was not keeping well for sometimes and there were concerns about his failing health in recent weeks. Frank Deford cause of death is said to be pneumonia, though it is yet to be confirmed.
Born on December 16, 1938, Deford 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.
His books also did very well as his fans waited for new and newer account from their favorite sports writer. Over the years he authored as many as 18 books, nine of them novels. 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.
Deford, whose full name was Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Deford III spent around five decade. He was appointed the chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation from 1982 to 1999 after the death of his daughter, Alexandra, in 1980.
Deford 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.
It was merely four weeks ago that the legendary sportswriter retired from NPR. After serving as many as 37 years of appearing on NPR’s Morning Edition, Deford call it quites on May 3. In his final broadcast on May 3, 2017, he thanked his longtime listeners, but he also acknowledged the importance of his colleagues.
While being very emotional, Deford said, “I have survived so long because I’ve been blessed with talented and gracious colleagues, and with a top brass who let me choose my topics every week and then allowed me to express opinions that were not always popular. Well, someone had to stand up to the yackety-yak soccer cult…Thank you for listening. Thank you for abiding me,” Deford said in his last statement. “And now, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I bid you goodbye, and take my leave.”
He spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a graduate of Princeton University and resided in Key West, Florida, with his wife, the former Carol Penner, who had been a fashion model. They have two surviving children: Christian (b. 1969) and Scarlet (b. 1980). Scarlet was adopted as an infant from the Philippines a few months after his daughter Alexandra’s death from cystic fibrosis at age 8 on January 19, 1980. Frank Deford funeral service details are yet not available. We will update as soon as we get details.