George, Phyllis 1949-

views updated

GEORGE, Phyllis 1949-


Born June 25, 1949, in Denton, TX; daughter of Robert and Louise George; married Robert Evans, April 14, 1977 (divorced); married John Y. Brown, Jr., March 17, 1979 (divorced, 1998); children: Lincoln Tyler George, Pamela. Education: Attended North Texas State University and Texas Christian University.


Home—New York, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, McGraw-Hill, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.


Sportscaster and television host. Miss America, 1971; became cohost of Candid Camera, c. 1972; joined CBS regular sports staff, 1972; cohosted NFL Today Show, CBS, 1975-84; also cohosted broadcasts of three Super Bowl broadcasts and six Rose Bowl Parades; host of prime-time series People, 1978; cohost of Miss America telecasts, 1972-79; co-host of CBS Morning News, 1985; host of Spotlight with Phyllis George The Nashville Network (TNN), mid-to-late 1990s; host of Women's Day Television, Paxnet TV Network, 1999. Has made numerous guest appearances on television programs. Appeared in feature film Meet the Parents, 2000. Founded food company Chicken by George.


Zeta Tau Alpha.


Corecipient, Emmy award for NFL Today Show; Celebrity Businesswoman of the Year, National Association of Women Business Owners, 1991; Distinguished Service Award, Save the Children, 1994; Humanitarian of the Year, the Rosen Group, 1995; one of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World, 2001; one of fifty Greatest Women in Radio and Television, American Women in Radio and Television, 2001.


(With Bill Adler) The "I Love America" Diet, Morrow (New York, NY), 1983.

Kentucky Crafts: Handmade and Heartfelt, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1989.

Craft in America: Celebrating the Creative Work of the Hand, Summit Group (Fort Worth, TX), 1993.

Living with Quilts: Fifty Great American Quilts, text by Ann E. Berman, photographs by Rob Gray, GT Publishing (New York, NY), 1998.

Never Say Never: Ten Lessons to Turn "You Can't" into "Yes I Can," McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2002.


Since entering the media spotlight as Miss America in 1971, in a moment made all the more memorable when her crown tumbled off her head as she walked down the runway, Phyllis George has been a well-known presence on American television. Most notably, she became the first regular female sports-caster at the network level when she was hired by CBS in 1972. George later became a cohost for the NFL Today Show. When George's second husband, John Y. Brown, became governor of Kentucky, she put her career on hold. During this period, she became deeply involved in promoting the traditional crafts of Kentucky and published three books on the subject. She has since returned to working on television, proving her untiring enthusiasm for her work and her perennial appeal. In 2002, George distilled the ideas that have contributed to her success in the motivational book Never Say Never: Ten Lessons to Turn "You Can't" into "Yes I Can."

Born in Denton, Texas, George moved to New York City after becoming Miss America. She began her broadcasting career as a cohost on Candid Camera and soon thereafter was hired by the CBS sports department. The beautiful, confident, and bubbly young woman won the job of cohosting the network's NFL pregame show with Brent Musberger, Irv Cross, and Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder in 1975. Two years later, she married Hollywood producer Robert Evans, a union that lasted less than a year. After marrying Brown in 1979, George focused her energies on his election campaign and on raising their two children. When she became First Lady of Kentucky, she also became involved in restoring the decrepit governor's mansion, founded the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, and supported shelters for abused women and children.

George's popularity and contagious enthusiasm garnered attention for her first book, The "I Love America" Diet, coauthored with Bill Adler. Reviewers noted that readers would not find anything new in the book, which contained several diets following U.S. government guidelines, but recommended it as sensible, accurate, and flexible.

In 1985, George brought her family to New York City when she became the coanchor of the CBS Morning News. Her charm and familiarity with viewers won her the job, but some critics were shocked that the network would cast someone without experience as a journalist in the role. George's easy-going approach sometimes seemed at odds with her hard news assignments, and she resigned well before the end of her three-year contract. After returning to Kentucky, she started a food company called Chicken by George, which introduced marinated, boneless chicken breasts to grocery store shoppers. The company has since been purchased by Hormel Foods.

During the 1990s, George returned to television as the host of Spotlight with Phyllis George, a program on The Nashville Network (TNN). She also began appearing as host of Women's Day Television, on the Paxnet TV Network. In 1998, she and Brown divorced after nineteen years of marriage. In 2000, she took her first dramatic role as Linda Banks in the film Meet the Parents.

Having been in the public eye for more than thirty years, George has had her share of well-scrutinized achievements and failures. She reflects on these experiences in Never Say Never: Ten Lessons to Turn "You Can't" into "Yes I Can," and pulls from them guidelines for helping others strive for a better life. These lessons include "Be a risk taker," "Feel the power of being nice," and "Don't take yourself too seriously." In addition, George offers tales about her famous friends, including Muhammad Ali, Walter Cronkite, Ann Richards, and Roger Staubach. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called George "an expert on reinventing herself" and reflected that her book contained "simplistic yet undeniably useful" advice. George's stories about her friends were described as "uplifting and amusing."



Booklist, December 15, 1982, review of The "I Love America" Diet, p. 537.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1982, review of The "I Love America" Diet, p. 1290.

Library Journal, January 15, 1983, Shirley Theresa Weinstein, review of The "I Love America" Diet, p. 140.

New Republic, June 10, 1985, Judy Bachrach, "Television: Gorgeous George," p. 192.

Publishers Weekly, November 19, 1982, Sybil S. Steinberg, review of The "I Love America" Diet, p. 70; September 2, 2002, review of Never Say Never: Ten Lessons to Turn "You Can't" into "Yes I Can," p. 66.


Keppler Associates Inc., (April 29, 2003).*

About this article

George, Phyllis 1949-

Updated About content Print Article