Frank Gifford was a well-known American football player and television sports commentator who spent 12 years with the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) before going on to a 27-year career as an announcer and commentator for ABC’s “Monday Night Football.” He was a running back and flanker with the Giants during his playing career, winning the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 1956. During his high-profile sports career, he appeared in five league championship games and was named to eight Pro Bowls. During his sporting career, he developed an interest in show business. He took acting training during the offseason and played in tiny roles in some feature films during the 1950s. He was tall, well-built, good-looking, and popular. He also hosted a sports show on local radio stations and worked as a commercial model and product endorsement on television. His incredible run of success continued even after his playing days were over. He became a CBS broadcaster after retiring from active athletics, covering football, golf, and basketball. With his humor and charisma, he quickly became a famous commentator, and when he became the announcer for ‘Monday Night Football,’ he reached even greater heights of renown. He was also frequently in the news due to his sensational personal life.
Childhood and Adolescence
Francis Newton “Frank” Gifford was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 16, 1930, to Lola Mae and Weldon Gifford, an oil driller. During the Great Depression, his father struggled to find job, and he grew up in poverty.
Bakersfield High School was his alma mater. He had a passion for sports since he was a child, but due to his low high school grade point average, he was unable to obtain an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC). So he went to Bakersfield Junior College and played football for a season, making the Junior College All-American team and earning the grades he needed to enroll at USC. In 1952, he received his bachelor’s degree from USC.
Career of Gifford
The NFL’s New York Giants selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 1952 draft. After a rough first two seasons with the Giants, he opted to leave in 1954. However, Gifford was persuaded to stay by the Giants’ new head coach, Jim Lee Howell, and offensive coordinator, Vince Lombardi. Gifford was also made a permanent left halfback by Lombardi.
Gifford’s performance improved during the next few months, and he was named the league’s MVP after helping the Giants win the NFL title in 1955. He spent his whole playing career with the Giants, serving as a defensive back and running back on both sides of the ball.
He grew into a well-known player with a sizable fan base. Tall, beautiful, and charming, he dabbled with show business in the 1950s, taking acting classes in the offseason. Following that, he appeared in films such as ‘That’s My Boy,’ ‘The All American,’ ‘Darby’s Rangers,’ and ‘Up Periscope.’
He also worked as a television commercial model and product endorsement. Even though he was a busy athlete, he started presenting a sports show on a local radio station and even published sports columns.
He was knocked unconscious by Chuck Bednarik on a passing play during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960, which was an awful affair. He sustained a significant head injury that forced him to miss several months of work.
In 1962, he rejoined the Giants as a flanker. He continued to play for a few more seasons, setting multiple records in the process, including touchdowns, points, and receiving yards. In 1964, he called it a day as a footballer.
Even throughout his playing career, Gifford dabbled in local television and radio, and after retiring, he became a CBS commentator, covering football, golf, and basketball.
In 1971, Roone Arledge chose him to be the play-by-play announcer on ABC’s ‘Monday Night Football,’ which was in its second season at the time. For the next 27 years, until 1997, he would be affiliated with the show.
Don Meredith and Howard Cosell were his broadcast colleagues on the show, and his low-key style of delivery nicely counterbalanced his partners’ more colorful tendencies. The show quickly gained a large following and went on to become the longest-running prime-time sports show in television history.
He also contributed to other ABC sports shows as a reporter and pundit, including coverage of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. For many years, he also hosted the network’s trademark sports show, ‘Wide World of Sports.’
In 1986, Al Michaels took over as the show’s play-by-play announcer, and Gifford was promoted to commentator. When Michaels was covering post-season baseball games for the network, he provided play-by-play announcements.
Achievements & Awards
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1975.
Frank Gifford was the recipient of two Emmy Awards: Outstanding Sports Personality (1977) and Lifetime Achievement Award (1980). (1997).
In 1995, he was awarded the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1952, Frank Gifford married Maxine Avis Ewart, his undergraduate love. They were the parents of three children. This relationship ended in divorce.
Astrid Lindley, a fitness trainer, was his second wife. From 1978 through 1986, they were married.
Later, in 1986, he married Kathie Lee Johnson, a television personality. This union resulted in the birth of two more children.
Suzen Johnson, a former flight attendant, had a romance with Gifford in 1997, according to sources. Other reports of his extramarital affairs surfaced as well. Despite his infidelities, his wife refused to divorce him, and the couple remained married till the end.On August 9, 2015, he died of natural causes.
Estimated Net Worth
Frank Gifford was a $60 million dollar net worth American football player and sportscaster.