Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dandy Don Meredith Turns Out Lights, Ends Party

SANTA FE, N.M. -- "Dandy" Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and sports entertainment legend throughout the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday of a brain hemorrhage. He was 72.

Meredith’s irreverent personality and farm boy sense of humor gained him a widespread following. It also propelled the then experimental “Monday Night Football” program into a national sensation. During his time as Howard Cossell’s co-anchor on the show, Meredith often served as a folksy foil to Cossell’s bombastic and pompous behavior.

During his stint on “Monday Night Football,” Meredith had to overcome the trauma of spending so many consecutive hours in the same room as Howard Cossell.

Meredith had told close friends, “I don’t know what gets into that man’s craw. He drove a boxing official to commit suicide over the Mancini-Kim fight, he called Alvin Garrett a ‘little monkey,’and he got all broken up over John Lennon’s death but couldn’t stand when I sang Willie Nelson songs. I get that he’s a war veteran and all, but I’d like to see a birth certificate, if you know what I mean. Seemed a little red to me.”

Meredith eventually turned to drugs, once claiming that he was “a mile high” before a broadcast, and Lipton Tea. The beverage manufacturer paid Meredith to sponsor the product and gave him unlimited quantities of tea in return. Following in the fashion of the 1950s beat-nicks, Meredith became an incorrigible tea smoker. Doctors claim that the heroic intake of the substance led to a slow, consumptive blight on the parts of his brain left in tact after years of conversations with Howard Cossell.

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