Birthday: June 25, 1949
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Phyllis Ann George
Born Country: United States
Born in: Denton, Texas, United States
Famous as: Television Personality
Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Females
Spouse/Ex-: John Y. Brown Jr. (m. 1979–1998), Robert Evans (m. 1977–1978)
father: James George
mother: Diantha Cogdell
children: Lincoln Brown, Pamela Brown
Died on: May 14, 2020
place of death: Lexington, Kentucky
U.S. State: Texas
Phyllis George was a noted American businesswoman and television personality. She came too limelight after being crowned Miss America 1971 at the age of 21. After her stint as Miss America 1971, she debuted on television as a co-host of ‘Candid Camera’, later moving to CBS as a sportscaster, successfully co-hosting ‘The NFL Today’ for many years. At the age of 30, she left her successful television career and moved to Kentucky with her second husband, John Y. Brown Jr., when he became the 55th governor of the state. For the next four years, she served as the First Lady of Kentucky, establishing museum and doing welfare works, co-writing her first book, , 'The I (Love) America Diet’, during this period. Later she returned to the television and hosted shows and appeared in minor roles in number of films. She establishing ‘Phyllis George Beauty’, a line of skincare and cosmetics products, at the age of 54.
Childhood & Early Life
Phyllis Ann George was born on June 25, 1949, in Denton, Texas. Not much is known about her family background except that her father’s name was James Robert George, while her mother was Diantha Louise Cogdell. She was probably her parents’ only child.
In 1967, on graduating from school, Phyllis entered North Texas State University, now University of North Texas (UNT). Sometime during this period, she started working as a part time model, appearing especially in industrial promotion films. Once a week, she also attended speech building classes.
In 1969, while she was still a student at UNT, she unsuccessfully competed for Miss Texas, appearing in it as Miss Denton, finishing in the fourth place. In the following year, she competed for the same titles, but this time as Miss Dallas.
In 1970, she won the Miss Texas beauty competition. Since the Texas Christian University (TCU) offered a scholarship to Miss Texas honorees, she now moved to TCU. Later in the same year, she entered the Miss America beauty pageant, and was crowned crowned Miss America 1971 on September 12, 1970.
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As Miss America, Phyllis George traveled all over the country hopping from one city to another. She also appeared in numerous press conferences and talk shows, answering all types of questions ranging from teen problems and fashion to world affairs. Thrice, she appeared on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’.
As Miss America, she also addressed youth and church groups, attended pageants and festivals, appeared in commercials. In August 1971, she went on a 22 days trip to Vietnam, along with six other beauties, to entertain the US soldiers stationed there. She also visited Mexico and Bahamas.
Television Anchor & Businessperson
In 1972, Phyllis George debuted on television as a co-host of ‘Candid Camera’, a popular hidden camera reality television series. Later in the same year, she moved to CBS as regular sports staff, attending horse racing events, including the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes..
In 1975, she began co-hosting ‘The NFL Today’, continuing to do so till 1986. Concurrently, she also appeared in other programs, co-hosting three Super Bowl broadcasts and six Rose Bowl Parades during this period. In 1978, she also hosted a primetime series entitled ‘People’.
In 1979, she moved with her husband to Kentucky, where he was elected the 55th Governor. During this period, she took up many welfare activities, establishing the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in 1981, refurbishing the Governor’s house, taking care of abused women and children. .
In 1983, she published her first book, 'The I (Love) America Diet’, which she co-authored with Bill Adler. Eventually she would have six more books published; the last among them being ‘Never Say Never: Yes You Can!’ (2009).
In 1985, she was given a two week trial run for the CBS morning news program, eventually signing a three year contract as a permanent anchor and a co-host of ‘CBS Morning News’. In this capacity, she interviewed many celebrated newsmakers including the then First Lady, Nancy Reagan.
Possibly in 1986, Phyllis George resigned from CBS and started a food company called ‘Chicken by George’, selling marinated boneless chicken breasts through grocery shops. In 1988, after successful two year run, she sold the venture ‘Hormel Foods’.
In 1990s, she sporadically returned to the television, hosting her own prime-time talk show, ‘A Phyllis George Special’ in 1994. In the same decade, she also hosted ‘Spotlight with Phyllis George’ (1995) on The Nashville Network’ (TNN) and ‘Women's Day’ (1999) on Paxnet TV Network.
In 2000, she debuted in films, appearing in the role of Linda Banks, a minor character, in ‘Meet the Parents’. Three years later, she returned to entrepreneurship, creating ‘Phyllis George Beauty’, which markets a line of cosmetics and skincare products through television shopping network HSN.
Phyllis George was best known as a co-host of ‘The NFL Today’, the live pregame show broadcast before National Football League games on CBS. Since she was the first woman to have such a prominent role in television sports coverage, her co-hosts were initially skeptical, but were quickly proven wrong.
Awards & Achievements
In 1991, Phyllis George was declared ‘Celebrity Women Business Owner of the Year’ by the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Family & Personal Life
On December 12, 1977, Phyllis George married actor, Robert Evans. The couple divorced on July 22, 1978. They didn’t have any children.
On March 17, 1979, she married John Y. Brown Jr., a politician and businessman, especially known for building Kentucky Fried Chicken into a multimillion-dollar restaurant chain. The couple had two children, Lincoln Tyler George Brown and Pamela Ashley Brown. They divorced in 1998.
Phyllis George died on May 14, 2020, at a Lexington hospital, due to complications from Polycythemia, blood disorder.