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Don Meredith

Don MeredithAKA Joseph Donald Meredith

Born: 10-Apr-1938
Birthplace: Mt. Vernon, TX
Died: 5-Dec-2010
Location of death: Santa Fe, NM
Cause of death: Cerebral Hemorrhage

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Football, TV Personality, Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Dallas Cowboys, Monday Night Foorball

Don Meredith "Dandy Don", as he was called overcame childhood polio to become a popular and highly successful college and professional all-star quarterback, known for his passing accuracy and aw-shucks demeanor. After retiring from the field, he had a long career as a television sportscaster opposite erudite egomaniac Howard Cosell on ABC's Monday Night Football.

As a college player, Meredith was a two-time All-America quarterback for Southern Methodist University, completing 60.6% of his pass attempts for over 3,000 yards. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but instead became the first player for the Dallas Cowboys -- he had signed a "personal service contract" with Clint Murchison in November 1959, before the team had its "Cowboys" nickname and about two months before Murchison's franchise officially came into existence. With the Cowboys, Meredith rode the bench for two years, but made the starting lineup in his third season, 1963. He threw for 17,199 yards in his pro career, with a 50.7% pass completion rate, leading the team to two NFL Championship Games but losing both to the Green Bay Packers. He surprised fans and teammates by retiring after the 1968 season at the age of 31, when he was still at his athletic peak and clearly could have played at least several more years.

He worked briefly as a stockbroker with little success and considered returning to the football field, but instead joined Monday Night Football in 1971. He won an Emmy in his first year with the powerhouse telecast, causing Cosell, Meredith's bombastic booth-mate, to offer this appraisal: "Don Meredith's erratic march to the Emmy, the most treasured of all broadcast awards, in his first year of TV work has to be regarded as one of the great feats of modern times". Meredith's trademark on TV was a relaxed, folksy style, and a habit of singing "The Party's Over, Turn Out the Lights" when he thought that the game had been decided. As he had done as a player, Meredith quit when he was still popular and successful, in 1985.

He also recorded country music in the 1960s, and had some success as an actor in the 1970s and '80s, on the TV drama Police Story and in a series of overwrought made-for-TV movies including Mayday at 40,000 Feet!, The Night the City Screamed, and Undercover with the KKK. In 1985 he performed in a stage production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple as the slovenly Oscar Madison, with another Monday Night Football booth-mate, Frank Gifford, co-starring as the fastidious Felix Unger. After the late 1980s Meredith and his wife lived in quiet retirement in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he died of a brain hemorrhage in 2010.

Father: Jeff B. Meredith (owned Meredith Dry Goods, d. 1991)
Mother: Hazel White Meredith (d. 1988)
Brother: Billy Jack Meredith (Docutel ATM executive, b. 1933)
Wife: Alma Lynne Shamburger (div. 1963, one daughter)
Daughter: Mary Donna Meredith
Wife: Alma Lynne Shamburger (m. again, div.)
Wife: Cheryl King (m. 4-Sep-1965, div. 9-Nov-1971, one son, one daughter)
Son: Michael Shayne Meredith (b. 22-Sep-1967)
Daughter: Heather Meredith
Wife: Susan Schloss Lessons Dullea (m. 31-Jul-1972, until his death)

    High School: Mt Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, TX (1956)
    University: Southern Methodist University (attended, 1956-59)

    NBC Sportscaster (1974-77)
    ABC Sportscster (1970-73 and 1977-85)
    Maxwell Club's Bert Bell Award 1966
    Emmy 1971, Outstanding Achievement In Sports Programming
    Texas Sports Hall of Fame 1977
    College Football Hall of Fame 1982
    Endorsement of Unilever Lipton Tea
    4-H Club
    Stroke 2004
    Risk Factors: Polio, Smoking, Emphysema

    SPORTS FRANCHISE HISTORY
    Dallas Cowboys QB (1960-68)

    TELEVISION
    Monday Night Football Sportscaster (1977-85)
    Police Story Bert Jameson (1973-75)
    Monday Night Football Sportscaster (1970-73)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Three Days of Rain (May-2002)
    Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1-Jul-1994)

Appears on the cover of:
Sports Illustrated, 16-Sep-1968


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