Clinton E. Frank, the 1937 Heisman Trophy winner and head of his own Chicago advertising agency for two decades, died Tuesday in Evanston Hospital after a brief illness. He was 76.
Mr. Frank, who gained football fame at Evanston Township High School before attending Lawrenceville (N.J.) School and Yale University, became the Elis` second consecutive Heisman Trophy winner, beating out Colorado`s Byron
``Whizzer`` White, who later became a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Mr. Frank, a two-time All-American quarterback and captain in 1937, also received the Maxwell Award after his senior year in which he scored three touchdowns in his team`s 19-0 victory over Brown.
After graduation from Yale in 1938 with a degree in economics, Mr. Frank joined the Chicago advertising firm of Blackett-Sample-Hummert Inc., where he stayed 10 years before becoming advertising manager of E.J. Brach and Sons, the candy makers.
In 1949, Mr. Frank became a partner in the advertising firm of Price, Robinson and Frank, which Mr. Frank turned into Clinton E. Frank Inc. in 1954. Mr. Frank sold the agency to Campbell-Ewald Co. of Detroit in 1976.
``Our agency is nothing but people,`` Mr. Frank once said.
Mr. Frank and Jay Berwanger were two of the first three Heisman Trophy winners. But they met playing rugby, not football. Both football greats were members of an amateur rugby club on the North Side just prior to the start of World War II. The team also had another notable player: Joseph Kennedy Jr.
``Clinton was a good rugby player,`` said Berwanger, the University of Chicago great who won the first Heisman Trophy in 1935. ``We all thought we were good. I`m not sure the English did.``
During World War II, Mr. Frank served as an aide to Gen. James L. Doolittle, eventually reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Berwanger had a lifelong friendship with Mr. Frank, and had played golf with him as recently as two weeks ago.
``He seemed fine,`` Berwanger said. ``In fact, he took all the money.``
Berwanger saw Mr. Frank play football only on film and videotape. He called him ``a very aggressive player,`` who stood out on defense as well as offense.
``He was a great player,`` Berwanger said. ``He won the Heisman, didn`t he?``
Perhaps his most treasured award was the Yale Medal from his alma mater.
The Heisman winners have formed an elite fraternity. Like Berwanger, Mr. Frank made many return trips to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York for the annual Heisman presentation. The group also gets together for other football functions and golf outings.
``We`re all good friends, and we all respect what we`ve accomplished,``
Berwanger said. ``Clinton was a wonderful man. We`re going to miss him.``
After selling his advertising agency, Mr. Frank turned his attention to other causes, founding the Brain Research Foundation at the University of Chicago and the Eye Research Institute in Boston, as well as the American Academy of Arts.
Mr. Frank also was a three-time winner of the Good Shepherd Award from the Lambs, the country home that helps mentally retarded children. Mr. Frank also served on the board of directors of Baxter Travenol Laboratories Inc. and Northwestern University Hospital as well as being a governing member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
He also was active in the Yale Club of Chicago, a director at Passavant Hospital and a past president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies as well as past president of the Chicago Advertising Club. He also served on the Illinois Racing Board.
Mr. Frank is survived by his wife, Margaret Rathje Frank; three sons, Clinton Frank Jr., Arthur A. Frank III and Thomas Clinton Mullins III; six daughters, Marcia Frank, Laurie Frank Dorsey, Cindy Frank McCarthy, Ann Mullins Johnson, Cathy Mullins and Susan Mullins Schaefer; and a brother, Arthur A. Frank Jr.
Visitation is between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday at the Frank home in Northbrook. Services are at 4 p.m. Friday at the Kenilworth Union Church, with burial following in the church Memorial Garden.