Awardwinning author frank deford, celebrated primarily as a sportswriter, was also a budding novelist and biographer at the time of his daughter s birth. Scarlet, a native filipino, was adopted by deford, 47, and his wife, carol, 43, less than a year after the death of their natural daughter, alexandra. After exactly a year of their daughters burial, alex and carol deford would. Carol penner deford is the wife of the legendary sportswriter frank deford. The book was later made into a 1986 television movie. This is a wonderful book, but the kindle version is abbreviated. May 3, 2017 frank deford bids farewell to the ringling brothers circus and has some further thoughts on taking a final bow. Frank deford, often considered the finest sportswriter of his. Cf foundation mourns loss of frank deford cf foundation. Eightyearold gennie james, who played sally fields daughter in places in the heart, is a texan who retained traces of her southern accent, said. My life as a sportswriter by frank deford atlantic monthly press 2012biography is a collection of highlight stories from his long years as a sportswriter. Frank deford books list of books by author frank deford. I read, alex the life of a child gunnar esiason blog. It is frank defords timeless book about his daughters short battle with cf.
His account is the basis for an abc special wednesday at 9, starring young gennie james as alex, craig t. Her husband a native of baltimore worked as a sportswriter for sports illustrated for over 50 years. He is a senior contributing writer at sports illustrated, a commentator on hbos real sports with bryant gumbel and the author of 17 books. Scarlet was adopted as an infant from the philippines a few months after his daughter alexandras death from cystic fibrosis at age 8 on january 19, 1980.
I love frank defords writing and this was his most popular book. So, thank you alex, for living, and thank you, frank deford, for sharing your daughter with the rest of us. Frank deford, who wrote about sports with panache and. Deford kept a journal of alexs courageous stand against the disease, documenting his familys struggle to. Frank deford is a sixtime national sportswriter of the year, senior writer for sports illustrated, commentator on nprs morning edition, correspondent for hbos realsports with bryant gumbel and the author of 14 books.
After her death in 1980 at the age of 8,her father, frank deford, who was a famous. The best of frank deford, according to frank deford. Remembering three mile island, frank deford, manuel. A passage in the book describes a boorish, selfinvolved, complaining woman who brought her daughter to the hospital for a foolish little dogbite,as deford described it, out of which she was. The foundation remembers legendary sports journalist frank deford, whose young daughter, alex, lost her fight to cystic fibrosis in 1980. Frank deford talks about daughter alex the morning call.
Nelson as deford, bonnie bedelia as carol deford and daniel corkill as her brother, christian. Sports writer and commentator frank deford, who won awards for his work with sports illustrated magazine and npr, has died at 78. From 1982 to 1999, he served as chairman of the cystic fibrosis foundation. Frank defords accomplishments include his fifteen years as national chairman of the cystic fibrosis foundation. It was here that he wrote many of his 20 books, and some of the most important pieces in his 50year career at sports illustrated. Years later, her father, awardwinning sportswriter frank deford, put his talented pen to paper to record his memories of her life and death.
My life as a sportswriter is as unconventional and wideranging as frank defords remarkable career, in which he has chronicled the heroes and the characters of just about every sport in nearly every medium. Frank deford was a longtime advocate for research and treatment of cystic fibrosis. He has been elected to the hall of fame of the national association of sportscasters and sportswriters and has been awarded both an emmy and a peabody. Alex lived to be 8 years old, passing in early 1980. Frank deford 19382017 was an author, commentator, and senior contributor to sports illustrated. His work has appeared in virtually every medium, including print, where he has written eloquently for sports illustrated since 1962. Frank deford is among the most versatile of american writers. Nelson as deford and bonnie bedelia as his wife, carol. Ive always known about the book, and its success in becoming a tv movie, but for some reason i had always hesitated to pick it up and read it. Frank deford does a beautiful job paying tribute to his late daughter and conveying the. Scarlet was adopted as an infant from the philippines a few months after his daughter.
Frank deford pictured, the awardwinning sports writer and commentator whose elegant reportage was a staple for years at sports illustrated, has died aged 78 at his home in key west, florida. The book was made into a 1986 tvmovie adaptation of which starred craig t. The book is quite short, which turns out to be a mercy. Deford met his wife in delaware and they were married in newport, rhode island in 1965. This is as one might expect, a highly emotional read. Hes 64, trim, wears silk ties, french cuffs, and natty sports coats. I really felt that i would be irresponsible if i did not write the book. Over time, a memoir by frank deford the new york times. The films script earned an emmy nomination in 1986. As chairman emeritus, he continues to speak to audiences throughout the country.
I read his book about his precious baby girl many times. Whether he was writing a novel or a longform sports feature or the story of the sickness and death of his daughter, frank deford was simply outstanding. From legendary sixtime national sportswriter of the year and npr commentator frank deford comes a richly detailed, pageturning tale. Deford reflected upon his work with the cystic fibrosis foundation. The entitled by frank deford nook book ebook barnes. My life as a sportswriter, published in 2012, deford said he had written about his daughter to make her short life mean something. This book is so poignient, i must have cried at each and every chapter. He won both an emmy and a peabody award for his broadcasting. Frank deford is survived by his wife and their two surviving children, scarlet and christian. Writer and commentator frank deford is the author of sixteen books. Of a daughter, dying young by frank deford october 24, 1983 12.
Deford wrote for sports illustrated magazine from 1962 until his death in 2017,2 and was a correspondent for the real sports with bryant gumbel television program on hbo. I had been putting it off because it is a very sad topic but i gathered up the fortitude to read the book. His latest novel, bliss, remembered, is a love story set at the 1936 berlin olympics and world war ii. Deford penned it in memory of his daughter, who died of cystic fibrosis in 1980. The entitled is a baseball masterpiece, like the natural and field of dreams. The life of a child, i wanted to make wonderful memories with my kids. They have two grown children a son, christian, and a daughter, scarlet. An illustrious author, deford wrote 18 books over the course of his career. It was adapted into a 1986 abc telefilm with craig t. It made me realize how short and precious life is and to make every moment count. Advertisement skip well, sure, i said, deford wrote, as casual as i could be myself.
The events of the book were adapted into a film by abc in 1986 starring craig t. Deford joined sports illustrated in 1962, fresh, and fresh out of princeton. The life of a child was written in memory of his daughter who died from cystic fibrosis in 1980. The life of a child, his memoir about his daughter s battle with cystic fibrosis, became a tv movie with craig t. In 1983 he published a memoir that chronicled his daughter alexs short life. His daughter, alexandra, passed away as a child in 1980. Frank deford wrote this book shortly after his daughter, alex, died in 1980 from cystic fibrosis at the age of eight.
Frank deford, often considered the finest sportswriter of his generation for his detailed psychological profiles of athletes and coaches, but who also won acclaim for his novels, his frequent. Frank deford, extraordinary sportswriter and longtime. Frank deford one of the most famous and elegant sportswriters of all time has died. Frank defords reassuring voice is familiar to many for his sports commentary each wednesday on nprs morning edition. Deford updated his memoir in 1998 to include an epilogue on how his family and alexs childhood friends progressed following her death. Deford kept a journal of alexs courageous stand against the disease, documenting his familys struggle to cope with and celebrate the daily fight she faced. Renowned sports writer and commentator frank deford, 78, died on sunday, just a few weeks after his last piece aired on morning edition. Deford also was national chairman in the 1980s of the cystic fibrosis foundation, a disease that killed his daughter, alexandra, at age 8 in 1980, and inspired him to write a book about her that. A native of baltimore, deford is a graduate of princeton university.
Deford said he had written about his daughter to make her short life mean something. In 1990, he was editorinchief of the national sports daily, one of the most ambitiousand ill. Alexandra deford was 9 years old when she went home from the hospital. The book is written in a very conversational style. He wrote more than a dozen books and in 20 he was the first sportswriter to receive a national humanities medal. He grinds no axe in this book with the possible exception of joe dimaggio. Deford, whose daughter lost her battle with cystic fibrosis at age 8, recorded the impact of her life in his book, alex.
Frank deford susan ragan ap sports writer and commentator frank deford, who won awards for his work with sports illustrated magazine and. Deford lost his daughter, alexandra, to the disorder on january 19, 1980 when she was just eight years old. Deford would go on to become an advocate to find a cure for the disease and serve as chairman of the cystic fibrosis foundation. It is one of the best books i have read, but i cant imagine having to read it again. Writer frank deford takes his tale of love and loss onto. Nelson portraying deford and bonnie belinda his wife. Awardwinning author frank deford, celebrated primarily as a sportswriter, was also a budding novelist and biographer at the time of his daughters birth. Deford is to be commended for his openness about the full range of emotions he experienced throughout the nine years of his daughters life. Defords discussion of how they came to adopt their daughter, scarlett.1065 717 1132 582 218 1346 1239 1488 47 1116 757 638 1465 871 35 1370 518 1568 1439 43 1302 818 1435 46 1108 781 786 119 884 1299