Georgia Frontiere

21 Nov 1927
18 Jan 2008
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Georgia Frontiere (born Violet Frances Irwin; November 21, 1927 – January 18, 2008) was an American businesswoman and entertainer.

She was the majority owner and chairman of the St. Louis Rams football team and the most prominent female owner in a league historically dominated by males.

During her nearly three decades in charge (1979–2008), the Rams made the playoffs 14 seasons, played in 25 postseason games, won 13 postseason games, reached the Super Bowl three times and won the championship game once in 2000. Her commitment to the team earned her the nickname “Madame Ram”.

Also a philanthropist, Frontiere created the St. Louis Rams Foundation, sat on the board of the local United Way chapter, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and the American Foundation for AIDS Research and made numerous charitable contributions both to the arts and to other organizations in St. Louis and elsewhere.

Frontiere was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Lucia Pamela, Miss St. Louis of 1926, KMOX radio’s ‘gal about town’, and the leader of America’s first all-girl orchestra (Lucia Pamela and her band of musical pirates), and Reginald Irwin, an insurance salesman and businessman.

Frontiere had early aspirations to work as an opera singer eventually travelling to Milan to train with the Milan Opera. By ten years old, she performed along with her mother and brother in the singing group, the Pamela Trio. The group traveled the state and entertained at ballrooms and state fairs.

Frontiere attended Soldan High School in St. Louis.

At fifteen, Frontiere’s parents divorced and she married a young U.S. marine who was heading to Europe during World War II, but the union was quickly annulled.

A few years later, the family moved to Fresno, California, where Frontiere performed at dinner theatres alongside her mother in a duo, the Pamela Sisters. During this time, she married her second husband, who was killed in a car accident near San Francisco shortly after the couple had wed.

In the early 1950s, Frontiere worked as a urologist’s secretary while acting in Fresno’s Garrick Little Theatre (where she met her third husband).

The couple divorced a short time later. She later married her fourth husband, a stage manager at the Sacramento Music Circus, but the couple split after five years.

In the late 1950s, Frontiere moved to Miami and had her own TV interview show. During this time, Frontiere met her fifth husband, a Miami television producer. They were married for a short time.

Later, she made appearances as part of NBC’s “Today” show cast. She also performed as a nightclub singer in Miami.[ While living in Miami, Frontiere was introduced to the then Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom (who was separated from his first wife) at a party hosted by Joseph Kennedy at his Palm Beach estate in 1957.

Kennedy was a fan of Georgia after seeing her on her morning show. Rosenbloom and Georgia were engaged in 1960, but it took Rosenbloom ten years to divorce his first wife (in a widely reported divorce negotiation).

Rosenbloom and Frontiere married in 1966, though they had been together for eight years and had two children by this point.

In 1972, Rosenbloom traded ownership of the Baltimore Colts for ownership of the Los Angeles Rams. During this time, the couple resided in Bel Air, California, and Frontiere became a part of the Los Angeles social scene, hosting numerous parties and philanthropic events.

Frontiere was also known to entertain guests in a section near the owner’s box at the Los Angeles Coliseum dubbed Georgia’s Grandstand.

In April 1979, Carroll Rosenbloom drowned while swimming off a Florida beach from an apparent heart attack. Some suspected foul play, although medical examiners found no evidence that his death was not due to natural causes.

Upon her husband’s death, Frontiere inherited a 70% ownership stake in the Los Angeles Rams. Carroll’s five children inherited the other 30%.

Often dubbed the first female owner of an NFL franchise, the League reported that Frontiere was actually the second female majority owner.

Violet Bidwill Wolfner inherited the Chicago Cardinals after her husband’s death in 1947 and owned the franchise until she died in 1962. However, during Frontiere’s tenure, she was the only active female majority owner in the NFL.

During her years as owner, Frontiere moved the Rams twice, first relocating from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1980 to Anaheim (a deal Carroll made in 1978), then to St. Louis in 1995.

Initially criticized and harassed for being a woman in a league dominated by men and for not being capable of running a football team, Frontiere quickly asserted control of the Rams and addressed her detractors during her first press conference saying, “There are some who feel there are two different kinds of people — human beings and women.”

Her inheritance came as a surprise to many fans (though not to close friends and family) who thought Steve Rosenbloom, the former owner’s son from a previous marriage and the Rams’ vice-president, would take a leadership role in the team’s management.

However, Frontiere couldn’t navigate the conflicts between General Manager Don Klosterman and Rosenbloom and fired Rosenbloom after four months.

During the 1970s, the Rams were a perennial contender, but a championship or a Super Bowl appearance eluded them.

Yet, without Carroll, the team lacked organizational direction, which Frontiere sought to establish. During preseason, Frontiere drafted a position paper where she asserted her role as the team’s boss.

Believing that a lack of direction was responsible for the Rams’ inability to win a championship (despite fielding talented teams), she told Sports Illustrated, “Right now, we don’t have much leadership.

Oh, they played well—they’re trying to earn their positions—and I’m not talking about the coaching. We have good coaching. I’m talking about the top. There are some things that have to be ironed out.”

That next season, the Rams finally reached Super Bowl XIV but lost to the three-time champion Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 After the Super Bowl, Frontiere increased her national profile appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in an American Express commercial with the Rams players.

By the mid-1980s, Frontiere had passed much of the Rams’ daily financial and football management responsibilities on to key executives. According to ESPN, “When it came to football matters, Mrs. Frontiere delegated to longtime team president John Shaw, to whom she granted considerable autonomy.”

As the decade began, the ’70s Rams players gradually retired, but the team still reached the playoffs seven times between 1980 and 1989. In 1980, the team moved out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (a severely outdated facility that was too big to sell out for most games and resulted in frequent blackouts) and into the California Angels’ Anaheim Stadium. In the early 1990s, the Rams franchise suffered from poor attendance.

Average attendance had fallen to 45,000 fans per game, well below a peak of 62,000. Because of this, the Rams’ finances suffered as well. In 1994, the Rams claimed to have lost $6 million, and made only $7.6 million during the previous four seasons.

As well, Frontiere attracted some negative publicity. In 1986, Frontiere’s seventh and final husband, composer Dominic Frontiere, stirred controversy after being arrested and jailed for ten months for lying to a government agent as part of a federal investigation that came from allegedly scalping 1,000 Super Bowl tickets.

Frontiere was not implicated and though the event brought unfavorable media attention, she stood by Dominic Frontiere during his trial and incarceration). The pair divorced in 1987.

As the 1990s began, the Rams’ fortunes had sunk very low.

Most home games were blacked out, and the team hardly figured into the Los Angeles sports scene at all. Frontiere attempted to have a new stadium built in Los Angeles to improve ticket sales but local government officials were not interested due to unfavorable economic conditions (the end of the Cold War resulted in large-scale layoffs by defense contractors in Southern California).

This and the extreme lack of fan support prompted her to move the team to her hometown of St. Louis.

Frontiere has been married seven times. She married her first husband, a young military man, at age 15; the marriage was soon annulled. Her second husband, Francis J. Geiger, died in an auto accident in San Francisco.

In the 1940s and 1950s, she married three more times: to Bruce B. Johnson, a fellow actor at the Garrick Little Theater in Fresno, California; to Wallace Hayes, a stage manager at the Sacramento Music Circus; and to William J. Wyler, a Miami television personality.

In 1957, she met her sixth husband, then-Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom; they had two children before marrying in 1966: Dale “Chip” Rosenbloom and Lucia Rosenbloom Rodriguez. Rosenbloom, who traded ownership of the Colts to Robert Irsay in exchange for his ownership stake in the Rams, died in 1979.

In 1980, she married her seventh husband, composer Dominic Frontiere; they divorced in 1988 but she kept his last name. She spent the last 19 years of her life with Earle Weatherwax although they never married. She had homes in Malibu, California, St. Louis, and Sedona, Arizona

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Frontiere spent the rest of the year undergoing treatment, but her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died in UCLA Medical Center on January 18, 2008. She was 80 years old. A statement put out by her children read, “Our mom was dedicated to being more than the owner of a football team.

She loved the Rams’ players, coaches and staff. The warmth and generosity she exuded will never be forgotten.” She is survived by two children, six grandchildren and her companion of 19 years, Earle Weatherwax.Georgia Frontiere (born Violet Frances Irwin; November 21, 1927 – January 18, 2008) was an American businesswoman and entertainer.

She was the majority owner and chairman of the St. Louis Rams football team and the most prominent female owner in a league historically dominated by males.

During her nearly three decades in charge (1979–2008), the Rams made the playoffs 14 seasons, played in 25 postseason games, won 13 postseason games, reached the Super Bowl three times and won the championship game once in 2000. Her commitment to the team earned her the nickname “Madame Ram”.

Also a philanthropist, Frontiere created the St. Louis Rams Foundation, sat on the board of the local United Way chapter, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and the American Foundation for AIDS Research and made numerous charitable contributions both to the arts and to other organizations in St. Louis and elsewhere.

Frontiere was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Lucia Pamela, Miss St. Louis of 1926, KMOX radio’s ‘gal about town’, and the leader of America’s first all-girl orchestra (Lucia Pamela and her band of musical pirates), and Reginald Irwin, an insurance salesman and businessman.

Frontiere had early aspirations to work as an opera singer eventually travelling to Milan to train with the Milan Opera. By ten years old, she performed along with her mother and brother in the singing group, the Pamela Trio. The group traveled the state and entertained at ballrooms and state fairs.

Frontiere attended Soldan High School in St. Louis.

At fifteen, Frontiere’s parents divorced and she married a young U.S. marine who was heading to Europe during World War II, but the union was quickly annulled.

A few years later, the family moved to Fresno, California, where Frontiere performed at dinner theatres alongside her mother in a duo, the Pamela Sisters. During this time, she married her second husband, who was killed in a car accident near San Francisco shortly after the couple had wed.

In the early 1950s, Frontiere worked as a urologist’s secretary while acting in Fresno’s Garrick Little Theatre (where she met her third husband).

The couple divorced a short time later. She later married her fourth husband, a stage manager at the Sacramento Music Circus, but the couple split after five years.

In the late 1950s, Frontiere moved to Miami and had her own TV interview show. During this time, Frontiere met her fifth husband, a Miami television producer. They were married for a short time.

Later, she made appearances as part of NBC’s “Today” show cast. She also performed as a nightclub singer in Miami.[ While living in Miami, Frontiere was introduced to the then Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom (who was separated from his first wife) at a party hosted by Joseph Kennedy at his Palm Beach estate in 1957.

Kennedy was a fan of Georgia after seeing her on her morning show. Rosenbloom and Georgia were engaged in 1960, but it took Rosenbloom ten years to divorce his first wife (in a widely reported divorce negotiation).

Rosenbloom and Frontiere married in 1966, though they had been together for eight years and had two children by this point.

In 1972, Rosenbloom traded ownership of the Baltimore Colts for ownership of the Los Angeles Rams. During this time, the couple resided in Bel Air, California, and Frontiere became a part of the Los Angeles social scene, hosting numerous parties and philanthropic events.

Frontiere was also known to entertain guests in a section near the owner’s box at the Los Angeles Coliseum dubbed Georgia’s Grandstand.

In April 1979, Carroll Rosenbloom drowned while swimming off a Florida beach from an apparent heart attack. Some suspected foul play, although medical examiners found no evidence that his death was not due to natural causes.

Upon her husband’s death, Frontiere inherited a 70% ownership stake in the Los Angeles Rams. Carroll’s five children inherited the other 30%.

Often dubbed the first female owner of an NFL franchise, the League reported that Frontiere was actually the second female majority owner.

Violet Bidwill Wolfner inherited the Chicago Cardinals after her husband’s death in 1947 and owned the franchise until she died in 1962. However, during Frontiere’s tenure, she was the only active female majority owner in the NFL.

During her years as owner, Frontiere moved the Rams twice, first relocating from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1980 to Anaheim (a deal Carroll made in 1978), then to St. Louis in 1995.

Initially criticized and harassed for being a woman in a league dominated by men and for not being capable of running a football team, Frontiere quickly asserted control of the Rams and addressed her detractors during her first press conference saying, “There are some who feel there are two different kinds of people — human beings and women.”

Her inheritance came as a surprise to many fans (though not to close friends and family) who thought Steve Rosenbloom, the former owner’s son from a previous marriage and the Rams’ vice-president, would take a leadership role in the team’s management.

However, Frontiere couldn’t navigate the conflicts between General Manager Don Klosterman and Rosenbloom and fired Rosenbloom after four months.

During the 1970s, the Rams were a perennial contender, but a championship or a Super Bowl appearance eluded them.

Yet, without Carroll, the team lacked organizational direction, which Frontiere sought to establish. During preseason, Frontiere drafted a position paper where she asserted her role as the team’s boss.

Believing that a lack of direction was responsible for the Rams’ inability to win a championship (despite fielding talented teams), she told Sports Illustrated, “Right now, we don’t have much leadership.

Oh, they played well—they’re trying to earn their positions—and I’m not talking about the coaching. We have good coaching. I’m talking about the top. There are some things that have to be ironed out.”

That next season, the Rams finally reached Super Bowl XIV but lost to the three-time champion Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 After the Super Bowl, Frontiere increased her national profile appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in an American Express commercial with the Rams players.

By the mid-1980s, Frontiere had passed much of the Rams’ daily financial and football management responsibilities on to key executives. According to ESPN, “When it came to football matters, Mrs. Frontiere delegated to longtime team president John Shaw, to whom she granted considerable autonomy.”

As the decade began, the ’70s Rams players gradually retired, but the team still reached the playoffs seven times between 1980 and 1989. In 1980, the team moved out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (a severely outdated facility that was too big to sell out for most games and resulted in frequent blackouts) and into the California Angels’ Anaheim Stadium. In the early 1990s, the Rams franchise suffered from poor attendance.

Average attendance had fallen to 45,000 fans per game, well below a peak of 62,000. Because of this, the Rams’ finances suffered as well. In 1994, the Rams claimed to have lost $6 million, and made only $7.6 million during the previous four seasons.

As well, Frontiere attracted some negative publicity. In 1986, Frontiere’s seventh and final husband, composer Dominic Frontiere, stirred controversy after being arrested and jailed for ten months for lying to a government agent as part of a federal investigation that came from allegedly scalping 1,000 Super Bowl tickets.

Frontiere was not implicated and though the event brought unfavorable media attention, she stood by Dominic Frontiere during his trial and incarceration). The pair divorced in 1987.

As the 1990s began, the Rams’ fortunes had sunk very low.

Most home games were blacked out, and the team hardly figured into the Los Angeles sports scene at all. Frontiere attempted to have a new stadium built in Los Angeles to improve ticket sales but local government officials were not interested due to unfavorable economic conditions (the end of the Cold War resulted in large-scale layoffs by defense contractors in Southern California).

This and the extreme lack of fan support prompted her to move the team to her hometown of St. Louis.

Frontiere has been married seven times. She married her first husband, a young military man, at age 15; the marriage was soon annulled. Her second husband, Francis J. Geiger, died in an auto accident in San Francisco.

In the 1940s and 1950s, she married three more times: to Bruce B. Johnson, a fellow actor at the Garrick Little Theater in Fresno, California; to Wallace Hayes, a stage manager at the Sacramento Music Circus; and to William J. Wyler, a Miami television personality.

In 1957, she met her sixth husband, then-Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom; they had two children before marrying in 1966: Dale “Chip” Rosenbloom and Lucia Rosenbloom Rodriguez. Rosenbloom, who traded ownership of the Colts to Robert Irsay in exchange for his ownership stake in the Rams, died in 1979.

In 1980, she married her seventh husband, composer Dominic Frontiere; they divorced in 1988 but she kept his last name. She spent the last 19 years of her life with Earle Weatherwax although they never married. She had homes in Malibu, California, St. Louis, and Sedona, Arizona

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Frontiere spent the rest of the year undergoing treatment, but her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died in UCLA Medical Center on January 18, 2008. She was 80 years old. A statement put out by her children read, “Our mom was dedicated to being more than the owner of a football team.

She loved the Rams’ players, coaches and staff. The warmth and generosity she exuded will never be forgotten.” She is survived by two children, six grandchildren and her companion of 19 years, Earle Weatherwax.

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