Athletes Turned Actors

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Athletes as Actors

 Athletes turned actors- There are several professional athletes who have turned actors over the years and it’s been a common career change. However, some have tried it, only to fail. Some of these guys found success on TV shows and big screen films while others went down as one hit wonders. But we may not see them getting an Oscar or Emmy rather some have become very successful in their second careers.
Going through a list of athletes turned actors is a tough sell, mainly because there really aren’t a lot of good ball players who made much of an impact in their thespian trade. However, a handful of them have been able to make a successful transition from one career to the next. This list takes a few liberties as it includes body builders and wrestlers, but some of the most entertaining “athletes” come from those athletic classifications, and if felt unfair to ignore them.Here's our roundup of some of the more memorable athlete-turned-actors stories.

Jim Brown

He might have been the greatest of all time. Some even say that he was, even if his days in the league were abbreviated. But after he walked away from the football field, Brown went on to have a quite, successful movie career.
Pro Sports Career: Played football for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965 on the position of Halfback.
Notable Acting Roles:
  • Robert Jefferson in The Dirty Dozen (1967)
  • Slammer in I'm Gonna Git you Sucka (1988)
  •  Montezuma Monroe in Any Given Sunday (1999)
  • Fireball in The Running Man (1987)
  • Appeared on the TV shows CHiPs (1979, 1983), Knight Rider (1984), T.J. Hooker (1983-84), and The A-Team (1986)
Sure it would be nice to see Jim Brown take on more versatile roles but when you consider he was one of the greatest football players ever along with his very successful movie career it is hard to deny him first place on this list. Everyone remembers his performance in The Dirty Dozen which launched his movie career. Since then he has starred in over 30 movies and also produces and directs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

He was the first to really make it big in the film business. All signs pointed to a short, unsuccessful career in acting. After all, he had a heavy Austrian accent, and his long and confusing last name seems impossible to pronounce. But somehow he managed to find staying power with a few key roles.
Pro Sports Career: Mr. Universe of 1968, IFBB Mr. Olympia for 1970-1975, 1980
Notable Acting Roles:
  • Arnold Strong 'Mr. Universe' in Hercules in New York (1970)
  • Conan in Conan the Barbarian (1982)
  • Conan in Conan the Destroyer (1984)
  • The Terminator in The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2 (1991), and Terminator 3 (2003)
  • Kalidor in Red Sonja (1985)
  • John matrix in Commando (1985)
  • Dutch in Predator (1987)
  • Ben Richards in The Running Man (1987)
  • Julius Benedict in Twins (1988)
  • Douglas Quaid in Total Recall (1990)
  • Detective John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop (1990)
  • Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997)
Who can forget when Arnold took on the iconic role of Conan, or when he became the ultimate soldier in Commando? He even took risks, such as plying his trade to comedy in films like Twins and Kindergarden Cop. But his most important role saw him playing a character that wasn’t even human. In the Terminator franchise, Arnold became an emotionless killing machine, and we loved it. Almost enough to forget that he almost single handedly created the corny one liners that populated his movies. But anyone who can take the simple phrase “I’ll be back” and foist it into the lexicon of the times deserves to be the number one guy on the list.

Alex Karras

Pro Sports Career: Played football as defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions from 1958-1962 & 1964-1970
Notable Acting Roles:
  • Mongo in Blazing Saddles (1974)
  • Sheriff Wallace in Porky's (1981)
  • George Papadapolis in the TV series Webster (1983-89)
  • TV sportscaster in Buffalo '66 (1998)
Who can forget Karras’s great performance as Mongo in Blazing Saddles?He later proved to be a successful actor as he appeared in more movies and many television shows including Webster in which he was one of the main characters along with his wife Susan Clark.

Jason Lee

Professional skateboarding is not exactly the sport you might think of when you hear about pro athletes becoming actors. However when you think of the skill level and the athletic ability involved along with the competitiveness I think it deserves to be here with the other sports.
Pro Sports Career: Former professional skateboarder from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Notable Acting Roles:
  • Brodie in Mallrats (1995)
  • Banky Edwards in Chasing Amy (1997)
  • Zavitz in Enemy of the State (1998)
  • Azrael in Dogma (1999)
  • Jeff Bebe in Almost Famous (2000)
  • Brodie Bruce/Banky Edwards in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
  • Brian Shelby in Vanilla Sky (2001)
  • Lance Dowds in Clerks II (2006)
  • Earl Hickey on the TV series My Name is Earl (2005-present)
Jason Lee is the youngest on the list and also probably the one with the brightest future as an actor. Lee is just perfect as the character Earl Hickey in the TV series My Name is Earl which started airing in 2005. Lee also recently appeared in the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks and was also the voice of Underdog which was released in 2007.

Carl Weathers

Pro Sports Career: Played football as Linebacker for the Oakland Raiders (1970-71) and the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League (1971-73).
Notable Acting Roles:
  • Apollo Creed in Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), and Rocky IV, Dillon in Predator (1987)
  • Action Jackson in Action Jackson (1988)
  • Chubbs in Happy Gilmore (1996)
  • Chubbs in Little Nicky (2000)
  • Col. Brewster in Tour of Duty (1989-90)
  • Adam Beaudreaux in Street Justice (1991-93)
  • Chief Hampton Forbes in The Heat of the Night (1993-94)
Carl Weathers was perfect in the roll as Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies. He also has proven his acting ability in several TV series including Street Justice which aired from 1991 to 1993.
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