Frank Deford

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Frank Deford
Frank Deford.jpg
Frank Deford speaking at the Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, Connecticut, September 21, 2007
Born Benjamin Franklin Deford III
(1938-12-16) December 16, 1938 (age 75)
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Education Princeton University
Occupation Journalist, Novelist
Spouse(s) Carol Penner Deford

Frank Deford (born Benjamin Franklin Deford III[1] on December 16, 1938 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American sportswriter and novelist.

In addition to his 50-year tenure at Sports Illustrated, where he now holds the title of Senior Contributing Writer, Deford appears weekly on National Public Radio and as Senior Correspondent for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. He has written 18 books, nine of them novels. A member of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters 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.

In 2012 he became the first magazine recipient of the Red Smith Award. In 2013 he will be presented with the William Allen White Citation for "excellence in journalism" by the University of Kansas and will become the first sports journalist ever to receive the National Press Foundation's highest honor, the W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. Deford's archives are held by the University of Texas, where an annual lecture is presented in his name. He is a long-time advocate for research and treatment of cystic fibrosis.

Background[edit]

After graduation from Princeton in 1962, Deford began his career as a researcher at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his writing at Sports Illustrated, he was a commentator on CNN and has been a correspondent for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel since 1995; and a regular Wednesday commentator for NPR since 1980. His 1981 novel Everybody's All-American was named one of Sports Illustrated's Top 25 Sports Books of All Time and was later made into a film of the same title. Much of Deford's fiction is, however, set outside of the sports realm. The most recent of his novels is the acclaimed Bliss, Remembered, a 1930s romance between a pretty young American and the son of a German diplomat; the story is written from the point of view of the woman. He has also been the screenwriter on the films Trading Hearts (1987) and Four Minutes (2005).

In 1989, Deford left Sports Illustrated and NPR to serve as editor-in-chief of The National, the first daily U.S. sports newspaper. It debuted January 31, 1990 but folded after only eighteen months. The newspaper was published daily in tabloid format. It was praised for its editorial content, but was a victim of circulation problems. After then writing for Newsweek and Vanity Fair, Deford subsequently returned to Sports Illustrated as Senior Contributing Writer.

Deford served as chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for seventeen years, until 1999, and remains chairman emeritus. He became involved in cystic fibrosis education and advocacy after his daughter, Alexandra, was diagnosed with the illness in 1972. After Alex died on January 19, 1980, at the age of eight, Deford chronicled her life in the memoir Alex: The Life of a Child. The book was made into a movie starring Craig T. Nelson as Deford, Bonnie Bedelia as his wife Carol and Gennie James as Alex.

Deford grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest of three sons, and attended the Calvert School and Gilman School in Baltimore. He is a graduate of Princeton University and now resides in Westport, Connecticut, 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 the loss of Alex. Deford has two grandchildren; Annabel (b. 2010) and Hunter (b. 2012). Deford met his wife in Delaware and they were married in Newport, Rhode Island in 1965.[2][3]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

Published books[edit]

  • Five Strides on the Banked Track: The Life and Times of the Roller Derby, Publisher: Little Brown & Company (1971), ISBN 978-0-316-17920-1
  • Cut 'n' Run, Publisher Viking (1973)
  • There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America, Publisher: Viking Press (1975) ISBN 0-670-69858-X
  • Big Bill Tilden: The Triumphs and The Tragedy, Simon & Schuster (1976)
  • The Owner, Publisher: Viking Press (1978)
  • Everybody's All-American, Publisher: Viking (1981)
  • Alex: The Life of a Child, Publisher: Viking (1983) ISBN 0-670-11195-3
  • The Spy in the Deuce Court, Publisher: Putnam (1986) ISBN 0-399-13134-5
  • The World's Tallest Midget: The Best of Frank Deford, Publisher, Little Brown(1987) ISBN 0-316-17946-9
  • Casey On The Loose, Publisher: Viking Press (1988)
  • Love and Infamy, Publisher: Viking Press (1993)
  • The Best Of Frank Deford, Publisher, Triumph Books (2000) ISBN 1-57243-360-4
  • The Other Adonis: A Novel (2001) Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-4022-0011-0
  • An American Summer: A Novel (2002) Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-4022-0059-5
  • The Old Ball Game Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (2005) ISBN 0-87113-885-9
  • The Entitled, Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (2007) ISBN 1-4022-0896-0
  • Bliss, Remembered Publisher: The Overlook Press (2010)
  • Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (2012) ISBN 0802120156

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bunting, Glenn F. (January 11, 2004). "Picking Nits with Frank Deford". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ "Gambling in Delaware is a sure bet". CNN. May 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Deford Speech at CCC
  4. ^ http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals
  5. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.