Herb Juliano

In Herb's Archive this month, a discussion about the controversey over Gipp's deathbed conversion to Catholicism.

Father James Haggerty, C.S.C. was Gipp's rector when he lived in Sorin.

Father James Haggerty, C.S.C. was Gipp's rector when he lived in Sorin.


An excerpt from Notre Dame Odyssey by Herb Juliano.

Chet (Grant) and I talked again today about the raging controversy over whether or not George Gipp converted to Catholicism while on his deathbed. The mystery of the missing Gipper scenes from the movie "Knute Rockne, All American" has been getting a lot of ink lately. There has been much misguided speculation about the reasons for the deletions. Some say the film was cut because of legal objections raised by Rockne's heirs, a teammate of Gipp's or a sportswriter portrayed in the film. Another explanation offered for the cuts is that they were made because of legal action brought by Gipp's descendants. Gipp and his family were Protestants, and a brother, Alexander Gipp, did indeed threaten to sue in 1940 because of the presence of a priest in the deathbed scene, which he felt implied that Gipp had converted to Catholicism. Nothing came of the threat. But implied or not, Chet Grant insists that he received a letter from Father James Haggerty, C.S.C., the priest who attended Gipp during the latter's illness, stating that he (Father Haggerty) did indeed convert Gipp to Catholicism shortly before Gipp died. The only problem is, Grant seems to have misplaced the letter. (Author's Note: Chet Grant died in 1985. I have not been informed of the disposition of his private papers. I can only hope that somewhere, some day, that letter will turn up.)


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