Phil Alexander Robertson (born April 24, 1946) is an American professional hunter, businessman (Duck Commander), and reality television star on the popular television series, Duck Dynasty. He is also featured on the television show Buck Commander, a hunting program on the Outdoor Channel.
Early life and education
Born in Vivian in northern Caddo Parish in far northwestern Louisiana, Robertson was the fifth of seven children of James and Merritt Robertson. He has four brothers (James, Harold, Thomas, and Silas) and two sisters (Judith and Janice). Because of financial setbacks in his childhood, the Robertson family had to live in rugged conditions – no electricity, no toilet, no bathtub (although they did have one pipe for running water), and insufficient lodging. His family rarely went into town to buy groceries, and instead lived off the land – fruits and vegetables they grew in their garden, the meat from deer, squirrels, fish and other game they hunted and fished, and the pigs, chickens, and cattle they raised.
In his book, Happy, Happy, Happy, Robertson recalls that “It was the 1950s when I was a young boy, but we lived like it was the 1850s…but we were always happy, happy, happy no matter the circumstances.”
Halfway between Vivian and Hosston is the Robertson birth home, a restored log cabin. In September 2013, it was for sale at an asking price of $750,000. The property is owned by a Robertson cousin, Nathan Hale, who acquired it for an initial $55,000 investment c. 2009.
College and football
As an athlete in high school, Robertson was all-state in football, baseball, and track, which afforded him the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech University in Ruston on a football scholarship in the late 1960s. There he played first-string quarterback for the Bulldogs, ahead of Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, the first overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft. When he arrived at Tech in 1966, Bradshaw caused a media frenzy on account of his reputation of being a football sensation from nearby Shreveport. Robertson was a year ahead of Bradshaw, and was the starter for two seasons in 1966 and 1967, and chose not to play in 1968. It was thought he had the potential for a pro career, but his mind was elsewhere. In an interview with ESPN, Robertson stated that:
“One time a bunch of geese came over and I was over there with the coach and talking about techniques or whatever, a big skull session on the practice field. I heard these geese. Remember we were practicing in the fall of the year — and the grand passage as we call it — the ducks and geese were coming from Canada. I heard these blues and snow geese coming over and I sort of fell into a trance. Of course I had my headgear next to my chest and I’m looking toward the sky and finally one of them coaches looked around, and he started cursing at me, “What are you doing son? Get over here! What are you looking up at?” I said, “A bunch of them geese, Coach. Boy they pretty, ain’t they?” He said, “Get your butt over here.”
And this was most certainly not a secret; even Bradshaw claimed that:
“The quarterback playing ahead of me, Phil Robertson, loved hunting more than he loved football. He’d come to practice directly from the woods, squirrel tails hanging out of his pockets, duck feathers on his clothes. Clearly he was a fine shot, so no one complained too much.”
When Paul Harvey confronted Robertson with a recruitment to play professionally for the Washington Redskins, he declined because football conflicted with his hunting. Besides, football was only about holding up his scholarship to him, while Bradshaw practically lived and breathed the sport. Robertson put it in this way: “Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks.”
Degrees and first jobs
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in education, Robertson spent several years teaching. He said while his students claim he was an excellent teacher, spending time in a classroom brought him to the conclusion that his time and talents would be better spent in the woods.
Early career and founding of Duck Commander
Career, decline, and salvation
Robertson initially supported his family as a teacher, also finding income as a commercial fisherman. In the 1970s, his marriage became strained. Robertson, now running a bar, was falling prey to alcohol, and at times would kick his wife and children out of the house. He began to commit many crimes, and would hide out in the woods for weeks at a time to avoid the authorities. His wife, Kay, put the whole scene in this way:
But he thought he was looking for his freedom…I told our kids, I said, ‘The devil is in your dad now. Your dad is made from God. He has a good heart and is a good man, but right now Satan is occupying him and his mind. Don’t hate your dad. You hate Satan and the forces beyond him.’
The only thing that kept Kay in the marriage was the quote, “One man, one wife, for one life”.
In 1975, while Robertson was running a bar, his sister, Jan, asked a fellow Christian man to go to the bar with her to discuss the gospel with Robertson and hand out Bibles to the patrons. Robertson forced the man to leave, but allowed Jan to continue handing out Bibles and warned the patrons of the bar not to harm her. After a series of distressing incidents and a period of time spent away from his wife and children, Robertson returned and found the man who had come to the bar with his sister. They discussed Robertson’s life, and after he learned of the forgiveness offered by Jesus and the promise of Heaven, Robertson repented of his sins and was baptized in the presence of his wife and children. He was 28 at the time.
An avid hunter, Robertson was “in the know” about everything related to hunting, especially that of duck hunting, and was extremely unsatisfied with the condition of duck calls of that day. He began to experiment with making a call that would produce the exact sound of a duck. He aimed at making a call for duck killers, not professional callers. He claimed that “No duck would even place in a duck calling contest.” He invented his first Duck Commander call in 1972. He received a patent for this call and the Duck Commander Company was incorporated in 1973.Today, the company of Duck Commander is a multi-million dollar empire, headed by his son, Willie Robertson.
Robertson is presented in Duck Dynasty as the patriarch of the entire Robertson clan. He always sticks to his rugged outdoor ways, which often comes into conflict with the culture of today. He is not often seen working at the Duck Commander office, and mostly stays at home either hunting or cooking with Kay.
A rumor circulated that Robertson and his family were under pressure to eliminate their family prayer and the use of guns from Duck Dynasty. When asked about it, the family insisted it had never happened.
When A&E decided to add bleeps to the show to add “spice”, Robertson went to the network and told them to not make it seem like they use profanity, as they do not. Also, while they did not cut prayers, they did cut out the part of Robertson’s prayer where he said “in Jesus’ name”. When A&E told them that they did not want to offend the Muslim population, Phil asked, “What year is it?” They replied “2012.” He pointed out that the year was 2012 A.D., or in the year of Our Lord. He asked them why they would take someone out who the entire universe is based on. He also asked A&E how many Muslims were watching Duck Dynasty.
On December 18, 2013 A&E indefinitely suspended Robertson following anti-homosexual comments made by the duck magnate published in GQ magazine. The network released the following statement: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.” Robertson rebutted that it is an intrusion on his freedom of speech and that he is “turntup about the firing”. 
Robertson and Marsha “Kay” Carroway started dating in 1964, when Kay was only 14 years old. They married two years later, in 1966. They had their first son, Alan, while they were still attending college.
Robertson is a devout Christian, being a member of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe and is outspoken about his beliefs. He is a recovering alcoholic and left his wife Kay for a time before discovering Christ and being baptized. In an interview prior to the release of his autobiography, he said:
My message is to get human beings to love God, love their neighbor and for the life of me I just don’t see the downside of human beings not being so mean to one another and actually care for one another and not steal from one another and not murder each other for their tennis shoes. That’s the message I have. …
America and the world, we have a love problem. I’m trying to get people aware of that. A loving person is not going to pick up a spear or a knife because when the Ten Commandments were written it was before guns, and God was saying, ‘Look, quit murdering each other.’ Now I’m just trying to say, ‘Folks, let’s try to love one another no matter what the color of their skin.’