26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors

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26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors Empty 26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors

Post  2write on Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:30 am

26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors

When it's time to hang up the cleats, many sports stars turn to Hollywood for the next chapter in their careers. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Bubba Smith and Bruce Jenner are just a few of the notable names that have traded in the gym for a new adventure in the studio.

Chuck Norris
The martial arts master is a full-fledged action star with films like The Delta Force, Missing in Action, The Way of the Dragon and Firewalker.
Norris hit it big on television with CBS' Walker, Texas Ranger, which ran from 1993-2001. He will next appear in The Expendables 2.

Andre the Giant
Starting out as a French professional wrestler, André gained international fame for roles in films such as Conan The Destroyer, Micki + Maude [pictured] and The Princess Bride.
His career was cut short when he died of congestive heart failure, a complication of his acromegaly, when he was just 46.

Bubba Smith
Former Michigan State All-American Charles “Bubba” Smith played nine seasons in the NFL as a defensive end, including one Super Bowl-winning season with the Baltimore Colts. Best known as Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies, he also appeared in a series of memorable Miller Lite commercials. Smith died in his Los Angeles home in August 2011 at 66 years old from acute drug intoxication and heart disease.

Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor played his entire professional career with the New York Giants franchise as a linebacker, earning a widely held reputation as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, though his legacy has been marred by severe drug and alcohol abuse. His first film role came in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday and he has since appeared alongside Jean Claude Van Damme in 2003’s In Hell. He played himself on The Sopranos and in Adam Sandler’s football flick, The Waterboy.

Howie Long
Howie Long was selected as a second round pick in the 1981 NFL draft, chosen by the Oakland Raiders. He played 13 seasons with the program before retiring after the 1993 season. He went on to appear in action films such as Firestorm and Broken Arrow. Currently, Long serves as a spokesman for several companies and appears as a studio analyst for Fox’s NFL coverage.

Bob Uecker
"Mr Baseball" to Johnny Carson, the retired MLB catcher is currently the announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the Major League trilogy, Uecker appeared as a parody of himself as Cleveland Indians broadcaster Harry Doyle. Most recently, he voiced "The head of Bob Uecker" on an episode of Futurama.

Fred Williamson
Dubbed "The Hammer" during his professional football days, the Northwestern alum played Diahann Carroll's love interest in the sitcom Julia. Williamson went on to star in a number of Blaxploitation movies like "Tough Guys," "Three the Hard Way" and "That Man Bolt," and formed his own production company.
Williamson's numerous other credits include 2004's Starsky and Hutch movie, Robert Rodgriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn and the original Italian film Inglorious Bastards. He said of his stunt work in Bastards, "I don't use stunt doubles, man. Because first of all, there's no black actors my size in Hollywood, and certainly none in Italy where we did the film."

Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw can currently be seen as a football analyst and co-host on Fox’s NFL Sunday after 14 seasons as quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2001, Bradshaw became the first and only NFL player to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has appeared in the 1978 film Hooper, 1981’s The Cannonball Run and with a memorable nude scene in the 2006 Matthew McConaughey-Sarah Jessica Parker romcom, Failure to Launch. A man of many talents, Bradshaw also recorded several country and gospel albums.

OJ Simpson
As difficult as it may be to fathom now, O.J. Simpson -- the former football player at the center of one of the biggest murder trials in history and currently serving a prison sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping -- once played the endearing security guard who went into a burning apartment to save a cat in Towering Inferno.
He also played the hapless Officer Nordberg, opposite Leslie Nielsen, in all three installments of the Naked Gun trilogy.

Lou Ferrigno
The Brooklyn native won his first Mr. Universe bodybuilding tile at the age of 21 and in a rare feat, picked up a second International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness title the following year.
Along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ferrigno was featured prominently in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron.
He's best known for his green-skinned turn in The Incredible Hulk, and has since appeared in numerous film and TV projects such as The King of Queens, ABC's short-lived Trauma Center and Supernatural.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
A former professional bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger broke into Hollywood as the title character in Hercules in New York in 1970 (credited as Arnold Strong). His breakthrough role came in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, recently remade with Jason Momoa, though he is perhaps best known as the Terminator. Currently, Schwarzenegger is filming The Expendables 2 after fulfilling his duties as Governor of California.

Esther Williams
Before she became the star of MGM musicals like Million Dollar Mermaid and Neptune's Daughter, the Los Angeles native earned three national championships in breaststroke and freestyle competitions as a teen.
Busby Berkeley choreographed the elaborate swimming scenes for Wiliams' pictures, which were filmed in a special 90-foot square, 20-foot deep pool on the MGM lot, complete with hydraulic lifts, hidden air hoses and special camera cranes for overhead shots.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
After playing football at the University of Miami and going on to play for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rose to fame as a pro wrestler with the WWE. He appeared briefly in the opening sequence of The Mummy Returns and subsequently starred in its follow up, The Scorpion King. As of late, Johnson has expanded his credits to include kid-friendly fare such as The Tooth Fairy and The Game Plan.

Jim Brown
Sporting News' "greatest professional football player ever" Jim Brown played for the Cleveland Browns before leaving for the green pastures of Hollywood.
He's perhaps best known for his breakout roll in The Dirty Dozen and continues to act today.

Carl Weathers
The football linebacker played briefly with the Oakland Raiders, appearing in 7 games in 1970, before transferring to the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League in 1971. By 1974, Carl Weathers had retired from athletics and hit Hollywood. He has since starred opposite opposite Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky films, as well as 1987’s Predator, 1996’s Happy Gilmore and a slew of short-lived TV series.

Jason Lee
Currently serving as a recurring guest star on NBC’s Up All Night, Jason Lee rose to television prominence with the peacock’s former series, My Name is Earl, and TNT’s Memphis Beat. Lee also has several big screen credits to his name, including Chasing Amy, Dogma, Almost Famous and more. But before Hollywood, the Orange County native made a name for himself in the skateboarding community as a professional boarder in the late 1980s and early 1990s, co-founding Stereo Skateboards with Chris Pastras in 1992.

Gina Carano
Muay Thai fighter Gina Carano is probably best known as her turn as "Crush" on American Gladiators.
She's also appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire and the Fight Girls TV series.

Ray Allen
The Boston Celtics guard only has two movies on his resume but one's a biggie -- he co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee's 1998 drama, He Got Game.
The NBA all-star also appeared in James Toback's Harvard Man, and as a guest on numerous talk shows.

Kareem Abdul- Jabbar
All-time NBA leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's IMDB profile will never eclipse his contributions to basketball, but he does have a few iconic credits to his name.
Playing co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane!, he enjoyed one of the film's more memorable scenes when a young passenger acknowledged that he was, in fact, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Alex Karras
Perhaps best known as "Webster's Dad," Karras (aka "The Mad Duck") enjoyed a career as football player and professional wrestler before settling into acting in his middle age.
He starred alongside real-life wife Susan Clark on the ABC comedy Webster for six seasons.

Merlin Olsen
Another veteran of those long-gone Los Angeles Rams, Olsen spent his entire football career with the team before leaving for a career in commentating and acting.
He played farmer Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie until departing for a starring gig as Father Murphy on an NBC series of the same name. The show followed a foster dad posing as a traveling priest -- which doesn't sound creepy at all.

Rosey Grier (aka Roosevelt Grier)
The Penn State alum and former NY Giants and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle was at Robert Kennedy's side when he was shot in 1968 and helped apprehend Sirhan Sirhan immediately afterwards.
He has appeared in films like The Thing With Two Heads and Skyjacked, wrote a book on needlepoint, appeared as a regular on The Daniel Boone Show and The White Shadow, and has even performed at Carnegie Hall as a singer.

Ed Marinaro
New York City native Ed Marinaro set over 16 NCAA records while playing football at Cornell University. He went on to appear in two Super Bowl’s with the Minnesota Vikings, though he also played for the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks throughout his nine-year professional career. On the big screen, Marinaro’s only credit is 2006’s Circus Island, though he previously appeared on ABC’s Laverne & Shirley, NBC’s Sisters and NBC’s Hill Street Blues. He can currently be seen on Spike’s football comedy Blue Mountain State as the team coach -- and husband of Denise Richards -- and has a guest role on the NBC soap Days of our Lives.

Fred Dryer
NFL defensive end Fred Dryer turned to acting when his tenure with the Los Angeles Rams came to an end.
His foreboding stature (6'6") lent him to action roles, including a starring role on NBC cop drama Hunter.

Shaquille O'Neal
Basketball player, musician, actor, entrepreneur... there's little Shaquille O'Neal hasn't tried his hand at.
The retired center will never live down one credit to his resume, though. He starred as titular genie Kazaam in the 1996 comedy. It earned a dismal 4% on Rotten Tomatoes and ranks on IMBD's "Worst 100" list.

Bruce Jenner
Currently a featured player on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Jenner broke the world record in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games (and appeared on a Wheaties cereal box cover as a result.)
He stepped in for Erik Estrada on NBC's highway patrol series CHiPs in the 1981-82 season, and has made the reality show rounds with appearances on The Apprentice, Skating With Celebrities and I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

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26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors Empty Re: 26 of Hollywood's Most Popular Athletes-Turned-Actors

Post  2write on Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:33 am


I am shocked they didn't mention JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME. He is definitely more of a Sportsstar than say Chuck Norris. Van Damme succeeded as a sportsman first and only tried his hand at movies at the ripe age of 28 years when he shifted to USA.


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