Phyllis George, the former Miss Texas and Miss America who made history as a sportscaster on the CBS pregame show The NFL Today, has died. She was 70.
George died Thursday after a long struggle with a blood disorder at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, a family spokeswoman announced.
George's role in 1974 as Allen Funt's co-emcee of CBS' Candid Camera launched her career in television. That year, the network recruited her to join Brent Musburger and Irv Cross on the cast of The NFL Today. (Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder would come aboard the Sunday program later).
One of the first women to have a nationally prominent role reporting for TV sports, she also covered horse racing events, including the Preakness and Belmont stakes.
George became the host of the entertainment show People, the TV version of the magazine, in 1978. Seven years later, she co-anchored the CBS Morning News, where she interviewed prominent guests including Nancy Reagan.
George was married to Hollywood producer Robert Evans from 1977-78 — she was the fourth of his seven wives — and to John Y. Brown Jr. from 1979-98. (Brown owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and the NBA's Boston Celtics and served as the governor of Kentucky from 1979-83.)
"Phyllis was a fighter, and her children have shown her incredible love during this struggle," Brown said in a statement. "She was an incredible first lady for Kentucky."
Born on June 25, 1949, in Denton, Texas, George attended the University of North Texas for three years. She was crowned Miss Texas in 1970, and that got her into Texas Christian University, which awarded scholarships to Miss Texas honorees. She then studied classical piano at TCU until she won the Miss America pageant in fall 1971.
She worked on The NFL Today from 1975 until 1984.