When the football season kicks off this fall, legendary NFL star and sportscaster Frank Gifford will not be among the crowd of fans. Gifford, 84, died on Aug. 9 of natural causes at his Connecticut home.
Gifford rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s, helping the New York Giants win five Eastern Conference titles and one NFL championship. His achievements earned him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976.
Gifford was a diverse player, taking on the positions of defensive back, halfback and flanker, before retiring for the second time in 1964. He retired the first time in 1961 after sustaining injuries in a game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Although his football days were over, Gifford enjoyed a second career as a successful sportscaster in the “Monday Night Football” lineup. In 1971, he joined NFL player Don Meredith and broadcaster Howard Cosell and the popular show.
While fellow footballers, such as Tom Brady, the current face of Ugg Australia, and former Jets’ quarterback Joe Namath, who appeared in a 1973 ad for Hanes hosiery, became fashion spokesmen, Gifford instead ventured off field into the world of Hollywood. He appeared in about 12 films, including “Up Periscope” in 1959.
Gifford, along with wife Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of the “Today” show, was a godparent to Kendall Jenner.
Gifford is survived by his wife and five children.