Robertson at Louisiana Tech in 1967
|Born||Phil Alexander Robertson
April 24, 1946
Vivian, Louisiana, USA
|Education||Louisiana Tech University|
|Occupation||Hunter, businessman, reality television star|
|Denomination||Churches of Christ|
|Spouse(s)||Marsha Kay Carroway (m. 1966)|
|Relatives||Silas Robertson (brother)|
Phil Alexander Robertson (born April 24, 1946) is an American professional hunter, businessman (Duck Commander), and reality television star on the popular television series Duck Dynasty. He is also featured on the television show Buck Commander, a hunting program on the Outdoor Channel.
He attended Louisiana Tech University, where he played football, but turned down an opportunity to play professionally with the Washington Redskins. He received a master's degree in education and spent several years teaching.
Robertson was the subject of controversy after a 2013 interview he did with GQ magazine, where he said that homosexual behavior is sinful. As a result, A&E suspended him from Duck Dynasty. Facing what was reported as "a strong backlash from Robertson's supporters", A&E lifted the suspension after nine days.
Robertson, a devout Christian, is married with four children.
Early life and education
Robertson was born in Vivian, Louisiana. He was the fifth of seven children of James and Merritt Robertson (née Hale). Because of financial setbacks during his childhood, the family lived in rugged conditions, having no electricity, toilet or bathtub. The family rarely went into town to buy groceries, and instead lived off of the fruits and vegetables they grew in their garden; the meat from deer, squirrels, fish and other game they hunted and fished; and the pigs, chickens and cattle they raised.
In his book, Happy, Happy, Happy, Robertson recalls that "It was the 1950s when I was a young boy, but we lived like it was the 1850s ... but we were always happy, happy, happy no matter the circumstances."
College and football
As an athlete in high school, Robertson was all-state in football, baseball, and track, which afforded him the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech in Ruston on a football scholarship in the late 1960s. At Tech, he played first-string quarterback for the Bulldogs, ahead of Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, the first overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft. When he arrived at Tech in 1966, Bradshaw caused a media frenzy on account of his reputation of being a football sensation from nearby Shreveport. Robertson was a year ahead of Bradshaw, and was the starter for two seasons in 1966 and 1967, and chose not to play in 1968.
In his time at Louisiana Tech, Robertson completed 179 of 411 passing attempts for 2,237 yards. He threw 12 touchdowns, but had 34 interceptions. It was thought Robertson had the potential for a pro career, but Robertson was more interested in hunting. Bradshaw once remarked about Robertson's love of hunting, saying "... Phil Robertson, loved hunting more than he loved football. He'd come to practice directly from the woods, squirrel tails hanging out of his pockets, duck feathers on his clothes. Clearly he was a fine shot, so no one complained too much."
When Paul Harvey approached Robertson with a recruitment to play professionally for the Washington Redskins, he declined because football conflicted with his hunting. Besides, football was only about holding up his scholarship to him, while Bradshaw practically lived and breathed the sport. Robertson put it in this way: "Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks."
As an avid duck hunter, Robertson was dissatisfied with the condition of duck calls. He began to experiment with making a call that would produce the exact sound of a duck. He invented his first Duck Commander call in 1972. He received a patent for this call and the Duck Commander Company was incorporated in 1973. Today, the company of Duck Commander is a multi-million dollar business, headed by his son, Willie Robertson.
In a 2013 special election Phil Robertson made a television commercial endorsing candidate Vance McAllister, who had never held political office. McAllister defeated the thought-to-be frontrunner, state senator Neil Riser. Many attributed the strength of McAllister's come-from-behind victory to the Robertson endorsement.
On December 18, 2013, A&E announced the indefinite suspension of Robertson from the network following an interview with Drew Magary of GQ. When during the interview for a featured article in GQ's January 2014 issue entitled "What the Duck?" Robertson was asked what he thought was sinful and responded, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men." He paraphrased a Biblical passage from First Corinthians by saying "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right." Robertson also questioned the appeal of same-sex relationships saying that a vagina is more appealing to a man. Robertson said that he does not judge anyone, but leaves that up to God saying, "We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus—whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"
In response to initial criticisms A&E released a statement from Robertson saying, "I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me." later that day the network announced his suspension. After a strong backlash from supporters, including a Facebook page that accumulated 1.5 million likes and statements from political figures condemning the move, A&E lifted the suspension before any episode was affected.
Together with joint author Mark Schlabach, Phil Robertson in 2013 published a memoir titled Happy, Happy, Happy.With co-author Mark Schlabach (2013). Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander. Howard Books. ISBN 978-1476726090.
Phil Robertson and Marsha "Kay" Carroway started dating in 1964 as "high school sweethearts." The couple was married in 1966. Despite early troubles in their marriage due to Robertson's "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle," a 2013 editorial published by Yahoo TV correspondent Kelly Woo described the Robertsons' union as a "long-standing, rock-solid marriage." Their first son, Alan, was born while they were attending college.
Robertson is a devout Christian, a member of the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, and is outspoken about his beliefs. He had various personal problems in his 20s including excessive alcohol drinking, causing a separation in the marriage for a period and he credits a subsequent religious awakening for being able to overcome the problems. Robertson opposes abortion and has called it a violation of the Declaration of Independence. He frequently speaks about the issue during public appearances.
- Meehan, Sarah (December 19, 2013). "Will Under Armour continue to outfit 'Duck Dynasty' star after anti-gay comment?". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Magary, Drew (January 2014). "What the Duck?". GQ (New York). Retrieved December 21, 2013.
- Macatee, Rebecca (December 23, 2013). "Phil Robertson Breaks Silence on Anti-Gay Remarks; Duck Dynasty Star 'Will Not Give or Back Off'". E! Entertainment. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- Rothman, Michael (December 20, 2013). "'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson Has Made Other Anti-Gay Comments in the Past". ABC News. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
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- "Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson had impoverished childhood with no running water or electricity". Starcasm. May 7, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Jimmy Watson, Birth home of 'Duck Dynasty' stars up for sale in Hosston". The Shreveport Times. September 23, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013.[dead link]
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- "He will never duck challenge". The Palm Beach Post. November 8, 1983. p. D5.
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- Fox, Larry (November 1979). "Terry Bradshaw, Steel Drivin' Man". Boys' Life (Boy Scouts of America) 69 (11): 6–10. ISSN 0006-8608.
- Zaldivar, Gabe (April 1, 2013). ""Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson Once Gave Terry Bradshaw Starting QB Spot". Bleacher Report. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- Anderson, Holly (March 22, 2012). "Duck Punt: How Phil Robertson found stardom after giving up football". Sports Illustrated Campus Union. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
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- "Willie Robertson". Duck Dynasty. A&E TV. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- Grace, Stephanie (2014-04-11). "McAllister seems more expendable than Vitter". Advocate (Baton Rouge). p. 11B.
- Merrigan, Tara Wanda (December 19, 2013), "Readers React to GQ's 'Duck Dynasty' Story and Phil Robertson's Indefinite Suspension", GQ, retrieved December 21, 2013
- Goldberg, Lesley (December 18, 2013), "'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks", The Hollywood Reporter, retrieved December 21, 2013.
- Rice, Lynette (December 20, 2013). "'Duck Dynasty': Crisis experts weigh in". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
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- "'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson suspended by A&E". Fox News Channel. December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
- "Gov. Jindal on Phil Robertson Suspension: I Remember When TV Networks Believed in 1st Amendment". Office of the Governor, State of Louisiana. December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- "Sarah Palin Admits She Defended Phil Robertson's Anti-Gay Remarks Before Even Reading Them". Huffington Post. December 27, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Woo, Kelly (April 16, 2013). "How Did the 'Duck Dynasty' Couples Meet?". Yahoo TV. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
- "'Duck Dynasty' Stars Phil, Miss Kay: How Jesus Christ Saved Their Marriage, Restored Their Family". Christianpost.com. 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
- Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (December 19, 2013). "Phil Robertson's suspension from 'Duck Dynasty' sends fans rallying to his side". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Schenk, Ruth (August 14, 2013). "Keeping God in command: Phil Robertson, family living out faith on small screen". The Southeast Outlook. Retrieved August 25, 2013. "For Phil, seven years between the ages of 21 and 28 were like sliding down a muddy river bank. He drank too much whiskey, ran wild, smoked marijuana, popped pills and hunted ducks, leaving his wife, affectionately called "Miss Kay," to raise their three sons alone."
- Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson preaches anti-abortion message - UPI.com
- Sifuentes Jr., Rey (April 8, 2013). "Duck Dynasty Star captivates NTCC crowd". Daily Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.