GREENWICH, Conn. -- Happy birthday to Greenwich’s Francis Newton "Frank" Gifford!
Gifford, who lives in Greenwich, turns 84 on Saturday. The former American football player and sportscaster was born Aug. 16, 1930, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Gifford was named an All-American athlete and football player and graduated in the Class of 1952. In 1951, he ran for 841 yards on 195 carries at the University of Southern California.
He began his NFL career with the New York Giants by playing both offense and defense, a rarity when platoon football became popular after World War II. He made eight Pro Bowl appearances and made five trips to the NFL Championship Game. Gifford's biggest season may have been 1956, when he won the Most Valuable Player award of the NFL, and led the Giants to the NFL title over the Chicago Bears.
His Pro Bowl selections came at three different positions—defensive back, running back and wide receiver. He retired, in 1964, after making the Pro Bowl as a receiver.
Gifford once appeared as himself as a guest star on the television series, "Hazel," in the episode, "Hazel and the Halfback," which originally aired Dec. 26, 1963.In the story, Gifford is interested in investing in a local bowling alley.
After his playing days ended, Gifford became a commentator mainly for NFL games on CBS. His big break came in 1971 when he replaced Keith Jackson as play-by-play announcer on ABC's "Monday Night Football," joining Howard Cosell and Don Meredith, and continued on as a commentator until 1997.
Gifford also served as a reporter and commentator on other ABC programs, such as their coverage of the Olympic Games (perhaps most notably, the controversial men's basketball gold medal match between the United States and Soviet Union at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich), skiing, and golf, and has guest hosted "Good Morning America" on occasion.
Gifford was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977.
Gifford is a Board Member for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is named after Ronnie Lott and is given annually to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.
Gifford and his wife, television host Kathie Lee Gifford, were married on Oct. 18, 1986, and live in Greenwich. They have two children, Cody Newton Gifford and Cassidy Erin Gifford.
Gifford and his first wife, Maxine Avis Ewart, have three children, Jeff, Kyle and Victoria, and five grandchildren.
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