October 2, 2011 in Nation/World

Football classic’s author dies at 69

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Peter Gent poses with copies of his best-seller “North Dallas Forty” in New York in 1974.
(Full-size photo)

BANGOR, Mich. – The seamier side of professional football was exposed by former NFL player Peter Gent’s “North Dallas Forty,” the 1973 novel that became a sports movie classic depicting the drugs, sex, greed and self-preservation of the game.

Gent had an unlikely five-season career playing for Dallas before penning the story loosely based on the Cowboys. It later became a movie, nestled between comedy and tragedy, showing the drinking and drugging by thinly disguised football characters.

Gent, who died Friday at his boyhood home in western Michigan, seemed pleased with how the movie turned out but usually didn’t watch it years later, his son said Saturday. Gent went on to write several more books.

“He was just a brilliant guy who had a lot of other interests. He read a lot and loved history,” Carter Gent said. “Watching sports didn’t do much for him.”

He said his father died from a pulmonary illness at his home in Bangor where he’d lived since 1990. He was 69.

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