Frank Gifford – Life and Death of The American Football Player

Frank Gifford was famous as an American football player and television sportscaster. He was born on August 16, 1930, as Francis Newton ‘Frank’ Gifford in Santa Monica, California.

His parents were Weldon Gifford and Lola Mae. It is known that his father worked as an oil driller. Because of poor grades at high school, Gifford initially didn’t get an athletic scholarship for the University of Southern California as he hoped for.

Frank Gifford Football & Television Career

Gifford graduated from the Bakersfield High School and joined University of Southern California (USC) in the second attempt for an athletic scholarship. He was named All-American athlete and player after running 841 yards on 195 carriers in 1951.

Frank Gifford joined NFL for the New York Giants where he played both in offensive and defensive positions. With eight Pro Bowl appearances, Gifford rose to prominence after being named as the Most Valuable Player of NFL in 1956. This was after he led his side to the title over Chicago Bears.

Throughout his entire career as a professional footballer, Gifford played as a wide receiver and halfback for the New York Giants. He played for the team from 1952 through 1964. Gifford had a total of 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns on 840 carries. He was regarded as one of the most dynamic players in the field and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977.

After retiring from his regular gameplay, Gifford’s broadcasting career began to flourish. He became a broadcaster for CBS, covering football, golf, and basketball.

He started a career as a commentator for NFL games on CBS. Later, he replaced Keith Jackson as play-by-play announcer on ABC’s ‘Monday Night Football’ after it was launched in 1970, and worked until 1997. The man became a household name on “Monday Night Football’ for about 27 or 28 years.

He also was the host for British TV network Channel 4’s NFL Coverage. Apart from his career in sports, Gifford also guest starred in NBC television series ‘Hazel’. Likewise, he appeared as himself in the episode ‘The Shortest Yard’ of the ABC sitcom ‘The San Pedro Beach Bums’.


Gifford was nominated for two Emmy awards for his Television appearances. The first was in 1974 for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Programming. The second was in 1976 for Outstanding Sports Personality.

That was not all; he got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1997, Gifford won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sports Emmy Awards.

Frank Gifford’s Net Worth

Gifford lived a sound life before dying at the age of 84, leaving behind a net worth of $20 million for his family. Frank Gifford acquired his wealth through his salary as a commentator and a player.

Death and Funeral Service

Frank Gifford died on Sunday morning, August 9, 2015, at his Greenwich, Connecticut home, a week shy of his 85th birthday. While it has commonly been assumed that the man died from natural causes, his family believes his death was facilitated by the effects of a brain disease he got from football head injuries.

He was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), a degenerative brain disease. His family made the diagnosis public so people, including the medical community, would have a better awareness of the disease.

Following his death in 2015, Frank’s son Cody Gifford accepted a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for his father from the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Frank’s funeral service was private, with just his family and closest friends. He was buried in a family plot located near their home in Connecticut.

His wife Kathie Lee Gifford had this to say about their life together:

“There’s no question that Frank was the love of my life. In a world where people seem to get divorced because they have a hangnail, we were committed to our marriage and to one another.”

Personal Life

Gifford’s last wife until his death was Kathie Lee Gifford and they were living together with their daughter and son. He met Kathie Lee on the set of “Good Morning America” and they got married on October 18, 1986.

Frank Gifford was previously married to Maxine Avis Ewart whom he dated during college. They had 3 children; Victoria, Kylie and Jeff with five grandchildren.

He was reported to have had an affair with other women and afterwards, got married to a fitness trainer called Astrid Lindley. The marriage ended in a divorce. Also, there was a time it circulated that the man was having an affair with Johnny Carson’s wife Joanne.

Quick Facts about Frank

Full Name: Francis Newton “Frank” Gifford

Profession: Retired Football Player, Sportscaster

Height: 6′ 1″ (1.85 m)

Weight: 196 lbs (89 kgs)

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Nationality: American

Date of Birth: August 16, 1930

Place of Birth: Santa Monica, California, United States

Education: University of Southern California

Marital status: Married (Kathie Lee Gifford)

Children: 5

Died: August 9, 2015

Frank Gifford Earnings: $20 million