Award-winning sports writer Frank Deford dies at 78

Tina Ray
May 30, 2017

His wife confirmed to The Washington Post that he passed away on Sunday in Key West, Florida. In addition to his legendary sports coverage, Deford was an accomplished novelist, penning 18 books, including "Everybody's All-American", his 1981 novel that Sports Illustrated rated as one of the "Top 25 Sports Books of All Time". He retired this month from NPR's "Morning Edition" after 37 years as a contributor.

Deford was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2013 "for transforming how we think about sports".

"A dedicated writer and storyteller, Mr. Deford has offered a consistent, compelling voice in print and on radio, reaching beyond scores and statistics to reveal the humanity woven into the games we love", Obama said at the time. Deford won a Sports Emmy in 1988 for his work for NBC at the Seoul Olympics and a Cable Ace Award for writing the HBO documentary, "Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World".

"And perhaps just as important, I've been blessed with you, with a broad and intelligent audience - even if large portions thereof haven't necessarily given a hoot about sports".


Deford in a 2008 interview with Deadspin discussed his decades in the journalism business: "For my taste, I liked it better the way that it was". The acclaimed journalist has several television credits including his time as a correspondent for "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO between 1995 and 2015.

"In addition to being an huge talent, he was a consummate gentleman, a dear friend, and a beloved, original member of our "Real Sports" family", Gumbel said. It was called "The American Singapore".

Deford is survived by his wife Carol and two adult children, Christian and Scarlet.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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