Frank Deford speaking at the Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, Connecticut, September 21, 2007
|Born||Benjamin Franklin Deford III
December 16, 1938
|Spouse(s)||Carol Penner Deford|
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 was presented with the William Allen White Citation for "excellence in journalism" by the University of Kansas and became 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.
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. However, much of his fiction is set outside of the sports realm. His most recent novel 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 was also 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. Published daily in tabloid format, it debuted on January 31, 1990 but folded after only 18 months. It was praised for its editorial content, but was a victim of circulation problems. After 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 from 1982 until 1999 and remains chairman emeritus. He became a cystic-fibrosis advocate after his daughter Alexandra was diagnosed with the illness in 1972. After she died at 8 on January 19, 1980, he 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 Alex's death. 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.
Awards and accomplishments
- Member of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame
- Six-time U.S. Sportswriter of the Year winner
- Twice voted Magazine Writer of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review
- National Magazine Award recipient for 1999 Sports Illustrated article on Bill Russell
- Peabody Award recipient for writer on 1999 HBO documentary "Dare to Compete"
- Christopher Award winner
- University of Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism
- Winner of a 1988 Emmy Award for his work as a writer during the Seoul Olympics
- Winner of a CableACE in 1994 for writing the HBO Sports documentary Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World
- Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism recipient in 2003
- Received ten honorary degrees, most recently in 2011 from Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland.
- 2012 Denver Press Club, Damon Runyon Award Recipient
- 2013 William Allen White Foundation National Citation at the University of Kansas
- 2013 Awarded a National Humanities Medal for "transforming how we think about sports." 
- 2013 PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing 
- 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
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Frank Deford|
- Frank Deford Archive at SI
- Frank Deford's Insider Archive also at SI
- Frank Deford at the Internet Movie Database
- Frank Deford, NPR Biography
- Frank Deford articles at Byliner
- Frank Deford at Yahoo!
- Bunting, Glenn F. (January 11, 2004). "Picking Nits with Frank Deford". Los Angeles Times.
- "Gambling in Delaware is a sure bet". CNN. May 27, 2009.
- Deford Speech at CCC
- Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.