Chet Forte

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Fulvio Chester "Chet" Forte, Jr. (August 7, 1935 – May 18, 1996) was an American television director and sports radio talk show host.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Forte's life in the sports world began as an All-State basketball star at Hackensack High School in Hackensack, New Jersey. He was named to the Star-Ledger's Team of the Century in 1999. From there he starred at Columbia University. In the 1956-57 season, he was named first-team All-American as a point guard, and beat out the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for player of the year.[1] He was short for a basketball player, but shot with deadly accuracy from the outside—the approximate location of today's three-point circle.

Forte was drafted in the 7th round of the 1957 NBA draft by the Cincinnati Royals, but did not make the team, and never played in the NBA.[2]

ABC Sports[edit]

Forte began working in TV, joining ABC Sports in the mid-1960s.

In 1970, Forte was named the first director of Monday Night Football.[1] His ability to present the game as entertainment spectacle as well as sporting event, under the mandate of executive producer Roone Arledge, made the show a huge success in both sports and pop culture.

Departure from ABC Sports[edit]

Despite his professional success, Forte had a huge gambling addiction which he kept behind the scenes. ABC executives feared his gambling activities were affecting his job which led to his departure from ABC in the mid-1980s.[3] He was also indicted by a federal grand jury on three-counts of mail fraud and tax evasion. He cooperated with the government and was spared prison time, receiving a five-year probation sentence.

Post-ABC activities[edit]

In 1989, he directed the roller derby program RollerGames.[4]

The next year, he became a talk show host at San Diego's XTRA, also known as "XTRA Sports 690." He co-hosted the Loose Cannons show with Steve Hartman. On the show, he openly discussed his addiction and offered to help others in a similar situation.

Death[edit]

Forte was working on-the-air days prior to his death on May 18, 1996 in San Diego, California; he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 60. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his cardiologist, Dr. Steven Gross, alleging that the doctor was negligent in his treatment of Forte. The jury agreed and awarded the family $1.7 million.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Chet Forte, 60, an Innovator in Television Sports", The New York Times, May 19, 1996. Accessed February 12, 2008.
  2. ^ http://collegehoopedia.com/players/chet-forte
  3. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1990-05-20/sports/sp-222_1_chet-forte
  4. ^ "Futuristic Fast Track". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. July 10, 1989. Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Family Wins Suit". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. September 6, 1998. Retrieved June 30, 2016.