Frank Deford, the prolific sports writer and commentator, has died at age 78. He is survived by his wife, Carol, and their two surviving children, Scarlet and Christian.
Read on to learn more about Frank Deford’s family.
1. Frank Deford’s Daughter Died of Cystic Fibrosis at Age 9
Frank and Carol’s daughter, Alexandra, died from cystic fibrosis at age 9. The year was 1980, and according to the Washington Post, and Alex had been struggling with the illness her whole life. The last thing she told her favorite nurse at the hospital was, “I’m going home to die now, but don’t tell my mother and father — it will upset them.”
Alexandra’s death and Frank’s experiences having a child with CF were chronicled in his 1982, 196-paged book, Alex: The Life of a Child. A dramatization of the book aired on ABC, and at first, Carol once told People, the idea of publicizing such a personal part of their life made her anxious. “I’m a very reserved person, very protective of my family and my feelings.. It seemed that being so exposed would be really difficult.” Carol was played by Bonnie Bedelia, and Craig T. Nelson starred as Frank.
2. Carol Is a Former Fashion Model
Carol is a former fashion model, and the couple met in Delaware. They were married in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1965.
According to the Washington Post, Carol quit college to become a model before marrying Frank. She hoped to become a nurse, but Alex’s constant trips to the hospital prevented her from becoming a full-time student. Eventually, she enrolled in a “flexible program” at Sarah Lawrence College. After Alex’s death, Carol received her master’s in social work.
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3. Carol and Frank Have Two Surviving Children
Carol and Frank have two surviving children: Christian (age 48) and Scarlet (age 37). Scarlet was adopted from the Philippines, just a few months after Alex passed away from cystic fibrosis.
Scarlet married Adam Winner at Holy Trinity Church in Westport, Connecticut, in 2009. The couple met at Syracuse University, where they graduated from.
4. Frank and Carol Have Two Grandchildren
Frank and Carol have two grandchildren: Annabel (7) and Hunter (5).
5. Christian Deford Appears Briefly in The Film About His Sister’s Death
Before Alexandra’s death, Carol and Frank moved to Westport, Connecticut. According to the Washington Post, Frank decided to tell Christian about the reality of Alex’s health after moving to suburban Connecticut. In the ’80s, Deford told the outlet, “I’d finally decided to tell him Sunday that she was dying, and in fact she died on Saturday . . . It had never occurred to me that because she knew the situation so well, that a 10-year- old wouldn’t understand . . . He just dissolved right in front of me. Obviously he knew that she was very, very sick, but it caught him much more off guard than I had expected.” He later added on, “[Christian] never went through any period in which he complained or cried — he’s a very private kid even now… He didn’t say much . . . He’s not that forthcoming.”
Frank made sure that Christian would have a small part in the movie about Alex’s life. Frank tells the Washington Post that they picked a small, unemotional scene, in which Alex and Carol were descending an escalator at a shopping mall. In the movie, Chris is standing just behind them. He was paid $82 that day for his work.
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