Foreman, George 1949-
FOREMAN, George 1949-
PERSONAL: Born January 10, 1949, in Marshall, TX; son of J. D. and Nancy Foreman; married, wife's name: Mary; children: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, George VI, Michi, Freeda George, Georgetta, Natalie, Leola. Religion: Christian.
CAREER: Boxer, preacher, and author. U.S. Job Corps, affiliated, beginning 1965; professional boxer, beginning 1969; ordained minister, Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1977; George Foreman Youth and Community Center, founder, 1984; television boxing commentator for HBO; television infomercial salesman.
AWARDS, HONORS: Olympic Gold Medal, 1968, for heavyweight boxing; World Heavyweight Champion, 1973-74, 1994-95.
(With Cherie Calbom) George Foreman's Knock-out-the-Fat Barbeque and Grilling Cookbook, Villard (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Connie Merydith) George Foreman's Big George Rotisserie Cookbook, Pascoe Publishing (Cincinnati, OH), 1999.
(With Barbara Witt) George Foreman's Big Book of Grilling, Barbecue, and Rotisserie: More than Seventy-five Recipes for Family and Friends, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
(Author of foreword) And the Fans Roared: The Sports Broadcasts That Kept Us on the Edge of Our Seats, Sourcebooks (Naperville, IL), 2000.
(With Connie Merydith) The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-reducing Grilling Machine Cookbook, Pascoe Publishing, (Rocklin, CA), 2000.
(With Linda Kulman) George Foreman's Guide to Life: How to Get up off the Canvas When Life Knocks You Down, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: World heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman was one of seven children born to J. D. and Nancy Foreman. He grew up in Marshall, Texas, where, in his teens, he became rebellious and misdirected. By age fifteen, Foreman was a mugger and alley fighter, until an ad for the Job Corps program caught his attention. Foreman joined the Corps 1965, and there learned the sport that would make him famous. After winning sixteen of eighteen fights as an amateur boxer, he qualified for the U.S. Olympic boxing team. Foreman won a gold medal in Mexico City's 1968 Olympic Games and turned professional the following year. He went on to win two world heavyweight championships, first in 1973 and again in 1994, when at age forty-five he became the oldest fighter ever to win the title.
Foreman tells his story in By George: The Autobiography of George Foreman, beginning with his troubled youth and documenting his rise to boxing fame. The book recounts some of his biggest fights, including his 1973 defeat of Joe Frazier, which earned Foreman his first heavyweight championship, and his historic fight against Muhammad Ali in Zaire, Africa, in which Ali knocked out Foreman after eight rounds, resulting in one of the greatest upsets in sports history.
Forman's autobiography also explores how, after losing to Jimmy Young in a twelve-round decision in 1977, he experienced a "religious awakening" which changed his life and inspired him to retire from boxing. After leaving the sport Foreman became an ordained minister, founded his own church, counseled prisoners, and in 1984 used the money he had saved during the eight years of his retirement to found the George Foreman Youth and Community Center. When an accountant warned him that investing any more of his own money in the center would leave him broke, he shocked the sports world by returning to boxing after a ten-year absence and winning twenty-four consecutive comeback fights.
In 1991 Foreman found himself contending for his second championship title against Evander Holyfield. Although he lost the fight by decision, he earned great respect from the boxing community for his unprecedented comeback. Finally, in 1994, Foreman earned the title of World Heavyweight Champion for a second time, twenty-one years after winning his first title, by defeating reigning champion Michael Moorer. The win earned Foreman the distinction of being the oldest heavyweight boxing champion in history.
William Plummer wrote in a review of By George for People that the book is "Foreman's fascinating act of reparation," and that he "spins a wonderful tale with characteristic humor."
Foreman is also the pitchman for the "Lean, Mean, Fat-reducing Grilling Machine," a kitchen appliance. The success of the grilling machine has inspired a number of grilling cookbooks that bear Foreman's name. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called George Foreman's Big Book of Grilling, Barbecue, and Rotisserie: More than Seventy-five Recipes for Family and Friends a "happy-go-lucky collection of . . . recipes inspired by his salad days of boxing all over the world" that include meat dishes, salads, and vegetable dishes. The reviewer noted that the "exotic concoctions are superior to the more domestic efforts, the most worrisome of which is an American version of Indonesian chicken satay with a peanut sauce made of peanut butter, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, honey and vinegar."
Foreman also shares his wisdom in George Foreman's Guide to Life: How to Get up off the Canvas When Life Knocks You Down, a small volume filled with practical advice. Foreman "shares his life lessons here, showing how to turn hardship to happiness . . . and achieve fulfillment no matter what life brings," according to a writer for Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly reviewer deemed it a "slim but wise book," noteworthy for its "simplicity, its directness and the vast pool of personal experience that Foreman calls upon." "With its hard-won lessons and congenial tone," the reviewer concluded, "this book can be of real use to many."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Foreman, George, and Joel Engel, By George: The Autobiography of George Foreman, Easton Press (Norwalk, CT), 1995.
Foreman, George, and Linda Kulman, George Foreman's Guide to Life: How to Get up off the Canvas When Life Knocks You Down, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Library Journal, November 1, 2002, review of George Foreman's Guide to Life: How to Get up off the Canvas When Life Knocks You Down, p.115.
People Weekly, June 12, 1995, William Plummer, review of By George: The Autobiography of George Foreman, p. 28
Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2000, review of George Foreman's Big Book of Grilling, Barbecue, and Rotisserie: More than Seventy-five Recipes for Family and Friends, p. 102; January 6, 2003, review of George Foreman's Guide to Life, p. 54.
Big George Foreman's Place, http://www.biggeorge.com (June 19, 2003).
Healthy-Grill.com,http://www.healthy-grill.com/ (June 19, 2003).
Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonandschuster.com/ (June 19, 2003).
When We Were Kings (documentary film), Polygram, 1996.*