Frank Gifford, a star on the football field for the New York Giants and later a star in the broadcasting booth with the “Monday Night Football” team, died on Sunday at age 84.
Former football star, broadcaster, Frank Gifford dead at 84
DALLAS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (FILE) (JULY 18, 2003) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
1. STILL PHOTO – NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE GREATS FRANK GIFFORD AND WALT GARRISON OUTSIDE THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR FORMER COWBOYS PRESIDENT TEX SCHRAMM
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES (FILE) (NOVEMBER 4, 2014) (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES-MUST COURTESY USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
2. STILL PHOTO – MICHAEL STRAHAN RECEIVES HIS NFL HALL OF FAME RING FROM HARRY CARSON AND FRANK GIFFORD
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA (FILE) (SEPTEMBER 16, 2015)(REUTERS-ACCESS ALL)
3. STILL PHOTO – KATHIE LEE GIFFORD AND FRANK GIFFORD ARRIVE FOR THE WEDDING OF CAROLINE MULRONEY AND ANDREW LAPHAM
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE) (AUGUST 14, 2012) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
4. STILL PHOTO – KATHIE LEE GIFFORD AND FRANK GIFFORD LEAVE FUNERAL SERVICES FOR AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER MARVIN HAMLISCH
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE) (JULY 28, 2000) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
5. STILL PHOTO – KATHIE LEE GIFFORD HUGGING FRANK GIFFORD
STORY: Frank Gifford, a star on the football field for the New York Giants and later a star in the broadcasting booth with the “Monday Night Football” team that helped popularize the NFL, died on Sunday (August 9) at age 84, his family said.
Gifford, who was married to TV talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford, died suddenly of natural causes at his Connecticut home, his family said in the statement released to NBC.
“Deeply grateful to all 4 ur outpouring of grace,” Kathie Lee Gifford tweeted, adding his family was “finding comfort in knowing where Frank is.”
One of the National Football League’s best and most versatile players in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Gifford’s skill, good looks and gracious manner made him an all-around celebrity in New York City.
Gifford was a key player for the Giants during their 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Colts in the 1958 NFL title game, which was decided in the league’s first sudden-death overtime period.
It came to be known as “the greatest game ever played” and sports historians say its dramatic finish and national TV coverage set football on a path to become the most popular sport in the United States and a multibillion-dollar industry.
Gifford, who played mostly as a running back and wide receiver, led the Giants to the NFL championship in 1956 while winning the league’s most valuable player award, and helped take them to the title game in five other seasons.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
ABC hired him in 1971 for the second season of its “Monday Night Football,” which brought the NFL into prime-time viewing hours and became a must-see ritual for sports fans.
Gifford was born on Aug. 16, 1930, and grew up in oilfield towns in the Southwest and California. He was an All-American at the University of Southern California and a popular figure on campus who married the homecoming queen.
The Giants made him their No. 1 draft choice in 1952 and in his 12 seasons with them, he played defensive back, running back, wide receiver and quarterback, as well as returning punts and kickoffs.
In 1986, he married his third wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, who was 23 years younger and who often spoke glowingly about their marriage on her talk show, “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.”
Gifford had three children with his first wife, Maxine, and two with Kathie Lee Gifford.