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Iconic Sports Writer Frank Deford Dead At 78

Photo: Bob Child/AP

Frank Deford, the legendary sports writer who worked for Sports Illustrated and NPR for decades, died yesterday in his home in Key West. Deford wrote some of Sports Illustrated’s most celebrated profiles, and he began to work as a correspondent for NPR’s Morning Edition in 1980. He retired from the program earlier this month.


Deford began working for SI in 1962, and he remained a contributing writer at the magazine into 2017. Deford spent time as a correspondent with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel starting in 1995, and he won an Emmy and Peabody for his work. When he wasn’t working as a sports writer or commentator, he found time to write 17 books. It’s rare for anyone to remain relevant in the sports world for over 50 years, and in our 2008 interview with Deford, he spoke at length about his career and how things have changed for him as the industry completely evolved during his time as a writer.

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