Born in Manhattan, Riger later went to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He then served for three years during World War II in the Merchant Marines. After the war Riger earned a bachelor's degree from Pratt Art Institute. Fascinated by sporting events, Riger's first sports drawing was a moment in an Army versus Notre Dame college football game. This led him into a career that focused on professional football and baseball. He loved the sports and could discern critical gestures, scenes, facial expressions, and plays and then draw them. More than 1,200 drawings and more than 200 promotional and advertising drawings saw publication in Sports Illustrated.
To research his sketches, Riger began taking photographs. His eye behind the lens was sharp and realistic, and in 1960 he moved into a television career in front of the camera. Riger performed on the "Today Show", on "ABC's Wide World of Sports", and helped video the broadcasts of summer and winter Olympics from 1976 to 1984. An author as well, Riger wrote The Pros, and with help he co-authored many other sports books. He also directed and co-directed movies. This talented artist was the winner of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives' 1994 Sport Artist of the Year Award. However, the next year Riger found out he had glandular cancer. With renewed effort he finished his thirteenth book and wound up a photography exhibit that ran for five weeks. On May 19, 1995, Riger passed away.
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