|Born||March 6, 1949|
|Citizenship||United States of America|
|Alma mater||Ohio University|
|Occupation||Television sports commentator|
Barbara Levine (born March 6, 1949) is an American television sports commentator.
Early life and education
Barbara Levine was born on March 6, 1949, in Miami, Florida, to Joe and Dorothy Levine. After attending local schools, she attended Ohio University. She was enrolled in her first theatrical performance class as a toddler and by eight, she and her older sister were performing song and dance in the Miami Beach, Florida. Her father, a serious all seasons, all sports fan, watched them with this youngest daughter by his side, teaching her all he knew, play-by-play, about every sport they watched together. As a result, she led the field in sports knowledge when competing for Boston's first female sports broadcasting spot.
Her career in communications began in 1971 as promotions manager for Sonesta Hotels. In April, 1973, 24-year-old Borin was chosen from 200 applicants when WNAC launched its campaign to put the first woman behind their Sports Desk. She was the contestant adjudged to be "knowledge and confident, based on her cool all-or-nothing audition". Borin's interview included her belief that tie games in football and hockey should be ended and that too many athletes, especially in baseball, are "pampered" with overblown injuries.
On Sept. 16, she was refused postgame entry to the dressing room for an O. J. Simpson interview, though many of the players favored her entrance. O. J. agreed to come out of the dressing room for his Borin interview. Despite New England Patriots' Coach Chuck Fairbanks' pledge to allow her into the team dressing room for interviews, on October 7, 1973, Borin was denied entry following a scuffle with police. She threatened to sue Coach Fairbanks for reneging on her agreed upon entry as a professional sports reporter. Borin then ran a film on the post-game controversy highlighting her interview with Boston Celtics Coach Tom Heinsohn who welcomed her into player locker rooms to perform her job. "I have to conduct my interviews in the players parking lot and that puts me an hour behind my competitors," she argued during her battle for equal "news-gathering" rights.
Borin tried to convince New York Jets Joe Namath to allow her to do her job by meeting him in the locker room by saying: "Don't think of me as a woman! Think of me as a sportscaster." His response was: "It's tough not to think of you as a woman." Barbara's A-list interviews included Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, John Havlicek, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Mickey Mantle.
Barbara married Walter Dunfey of the Dunfey Hotel chain in 1975 and left broadcasting shortly thereafter. Divorcing the hotel magnate in 1981, she began pursuing activist political interests, spending time in Washington, DC, where she had ties to the Kennedy family as an outgrowth of her former husband's hotelier enterprises. These ties led to several headline rumors that the first Boston female sportscaster and the then divorcing Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy were romantically involved.
Settling permanently in New Hampshire, Barbara became a real estate broker in 1982, active in the Seacoast area in public TV, real estate brokerage, politics on local, state, and federal levels, civic activities, the arts, and philanthropic start-ups.
She married New Hampshire golf professional, Dan Franzoso, in 1988 who died in 2001 after a long battle with brain cancer. In 1992, Barbara Franzoso, who had known Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton for many years, was appointed Deputy Executive Director of Bill Clinton's Presidential Inaugural Committee.
In 1993, she became one of the sports groundbreakers on the weekly "Sports Gals" talk show on New England's WEEI Sports Channel. Reflecting on having been a female sports pioneer, Franzoso says she's still an all sports fan but believes she "worked in an era when much greater emphasis was on payment for what was done on the field. Now they're paid regardless of how they perform."
In 2015, Portsmouth, New Hampshire Public Media created local television's "The Senior View" weekly talk show starring Barbara Franzoso and her round table guests which was favorably reviewed as bringing "chemistry, balance to local discourse".
- White, Diane, At Large column, "The New Face in Sports News", Page 41, The Boston Globe, April 19, 1973
- Ads & Agencies, Boston Globe, Page 56, October 25, 1971
- Craig, Jack, SporTView column, "Destiny Awaits Ch. 7's Barbara", Page 83, The Boston Globe, March 18, 1973
- Fripp, Phil, Medley column, Page 31, The Boston Globe, March 22, 1973
- Craig, Jack, SporTView The Monday After column, "Blackout Law-An Addendum", Page 22, The Boston Globe, September 17, 1973
- Craig, Jack, The Monday After column, Page 26, The Boston Globe, October 15, 1973
- Craig, Jack, SporTView column, "Ch.7's Borin Slams Fairbanks on Ban", Page 53, The Boston Globe, October 8, 1973
- Craig, Jack, SporTView column, "Ratings Little Affected by Anti-Blackout Rule", Page 26, The Boston Globe, October 29, 1973
- Cheshire, Maxine, "The Sportscaster And the Senator?" The Washington Post, June 28, 1981
- Brudnoy, David, "Young, Successful and First", The Saturday Evening Post, October 1974
- Today's People column, The Boston Globe, Page 2, June 30, 1981
- Schwartz, Dan and South, John, "False Rumors Wreck Ted and Joan's Reconciliation", P. 19, National Enquirer, Page 19, July 21, 1981
- Covey, Terrill, "Doctor Comes to Aid of Golf Pro Who's In Fight For His Life", Seacoastonline, Portsmouth, N.H., March 25, 2001
- McCabe, Bruce, "'Sports Gals' New on Sportschannel", Page 8, The Boston Globe, August 21, 1993
- Horn, Clare, "Where Are They Now? column "Barbara Borin", The Boston Globe, Page 295, April 4, 2004
- Morang, Ralph, "The 'Senior View' Brings Chemistry, Balance to Local Discourse", Page 85, Portsmouth Herald, November 18, 2015
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