Roman Gabriel Biography

Roman Gabriel is a retired American football player who is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, birthday, family life, achievements and other fun facts.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 5, 1940

Nationality: American

Famous: American Football Players American Men

Age: 79 Years, 79 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Roman Ildonzo Gabriel Jr.

Born in: Wilmington, North Carolina

Famous as: American Football Player

Height: 6'5" (196 cm), 6'5" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Lisa Katolin (m. 1980–2005), Suzanne Horton (m. 1960–1971), Tedra Bidwell (m. 1972–1980)

father: Roman Gabriel Sr.

mother: Suzanne Gabriel

children: Amber Noel Gabriel, Brandon Gabriel, Ram Allen Gabriel, Roman III Gabriel, Rory Jay Gabriel

U.S. State: North Carolina

Notable Alumni: North Carolina State University

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Roman Gabriel is a retired American football player who is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He was born to a Filipino immigrant father and an Irish-American mother in Wilmington, North Carolina. Gabriel first emerged as a talented athlete in high school and went on to become a star quarterback at the ‘North Carolina State University’. During his distinguished NFL career in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, he played for the ‘Los Angeles Rams’ and the ‘Philadelphia Eagles’. His 16 years long career as a quarterback included playing 11 seasons for the ‘Los Angeles Rams’ and five for the ‘Philadelphia Eagles’. His best years as a player were between 1966 and 1975, during which he constantly remained in spotlight for his remarkable performances. His career also saw him dealing with several knee and shoulder injuries, but he successfully made a comeback after recovering from them. Gabriel, the first Asian-American to start at quarterback in the NFL, retired from the sport in 1977, and embarked on a broadcasting career. He also began promoting celebrity golf tournaments to benefit various charities, working for multiple sclerosis, leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Additionally, he was associated with organizations like the Special Olympics and the Salvation Army.

  • Roman Gabriel started playing American football at the ‘New Hanover High school’. After getting a sports scholarship, he joined the ‘North Carolina State University’ in Raleigh and became a star quarterback there. He was voted ‘All-American’ and ‘ACC Player of the Year’ twice, in 1960 and 1961. After finishing college, Gabriel was selected by the ‘Los Angeles Rams’ in 1962, and that was the start of his distinguished professional career. He wore the number 18 jersey during his 11 seasons with the Rams. He earned ‘The NFL Most Valuable Player Award’ in 1969. In 1971, Gabriel missed parts of every game he played due to knee and shoulder injuries, and his problems only became worse in 1972. He joined the ‘Philadelphia Eagles’ in 1973 where he donned the number 5 jersey. He was able to recover from his injuries and regain his form. He was awarded ‘The NFL Comeback Player of the Year’ in 1973. Gabriel retired from the NFL after the 1977 season. He was one of the six quarterbacks to toss more than 200 career touchdown passes.
  • From 1980 to 1982, Gabriel served as the coach at the ‘Cal Poly Pomona’. He became the offensive coordinator for the ‘Boston Breakers’ in 1983. After that, he worked as a game analyst for the ‘Carolina Panthers Radio Network’ for seven seasons. Gabriel set 22 school records and nine conference records. For these accomplishments, he was voted into the ‘College Football Hall of Fame’ in 1989, 12 years after his retirement from the NFL. He was also on the ACC's ‘50th Anniversary Football Team’, announced in 2003. Apart from his association with American football and sportscasting, Gabriel also acted in a few films. He played the role of a prison guard in ‘Skidoo’ in 1968, but the highlight of his acting career was the 1969 film ‘The Undefeated’.
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Family & Personal Life
  • Roman Gabriel was born on August 5, 1940, in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is the son of a Filipino immigrant who came to the United States in 1925. His father Roman Gabriel Sr. was a cook and waiter in the ‘Atlantic Coastline Railroad Company’. His mother Edith was an Irish-American from West Virginia. He grew up in Wilmington among a handful of Filipino families. He attended the ‘New Hanover High School’ and played American football, basketball and baseball there, making all-state in all three. He became a star quarterback at the ‘North Carolina State University’ in Raleigh. Gabriel had a chance to turn pro in baseball after college, as he had an offer from the ‘New York Yankees’, but decided to stick to American football.
  • He got married and divorced thrice. He married Suzanne Horton in 1960, but they divorced in 1971. He got married to Tedra Bidwell in 1972. Eight years later, they got divorced in 1980. His third and last marriage with Lisa Katolin took place in 1980, but it also ended in a divorced in 2005. Gabriel and his former wife Lisa were deeply committed to charity work. He promoted celebrity golf tournaments for charities working for multiple sclerosis, leukemia and muscular dystrophy. He was also associated with the Special Olympics and the Salvation Army. Gabriel has four sons and a daughter. He moved to Wilmington after his retirement.

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- Roman Gabriel Biography
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Last Updated
- April 12, 2019
Roman Gabriel

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