Former Kentucky first lady Phyllis George, a broadcast television pioneer who became the first female co-anchor of the football pregame show “The NFL Today,” has died. She was 70.
Her death was confirmed by her children, CNN’s senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown and entrepreneur Lincoln Brown.
George was born in Denton, Texas, on June 25, 1949. A trained classical pianist in her youth, she attended North Texas State University before becoming the 50th Miss America in 1971.
As Miss America, George made multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and other talk shows, which led Robert Wussler, the president of CBS Sports, to recruit her for a sportscasting job. She joined “The NFL Today” in 1975, working alongside Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder.
George married John Y. Brown Jr. in 1979. Shortly after their marriage, he decided to run for, and eventually won, the race for Kentucky governor. The local press affectionately called Phyllis “flypaper” because everywhere the Browns went, the crowds turned out for her, not him, much to the pride and amusement of her new husband.
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