28 October 2007

10 Sportsmen Turned Actors

So OJ is back in the news (and court) again, this time for allegedly being involved in an armed confrontation in a casino hotel room. His life would make an unbelievable movie. Which brings me to the next list; sports stars who have made the leap to the big screen. I don't mean sportsmen who have appeared as themselves (David Beckham in Goal) or in films about their sport (Bobby Moore as a POW in Escape to Victory anyone?). I', talking about ex-sportsmen who have ended thir playing days and have made a new career in the movies:

  • Vinnie Jones - Football - after making a name for himself as Wimbledon/Wales hard man and for grabbing Paul Gascoigne's balls he made the giant leap to become a big-screen hard man, though his acting abilities are on a par with his skills on the pitch (Mean Machine, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)
  • Johnny Weissmuller - swimming - winner of five Olympic gold medals, one bronze and setting ove 60 world records on the 1920's he went on to become the quintessential movie Tarzan (Tarzan the Apeman etc)
  • The Rock - pro-wrestling - if you can call wrestling a sport, Dwayne Douglas Johnson kept his wresting name when he changed his showbiz career to movies, using his physique to play in a number of action films (The Mummy Returns, Doom)
  • Jim Brown - American football - a record breaking line backer for the Cleveland Browns and considered by many as one of the best footballers ever, he first appeared in a film, Rio Conchos, in 1964, but he quit the game when the Browns refused to let him finish acting duties in The Dirty Dozen in 1967 (The Dirty Dozen, Any Given Sunday)
  • Carl Weathers & Mr T - American football and pro-wrestling. Real sportsmen were used as Rocky's opponents in the boxing films but they weren't boxers. Carl Weathers played pro American and Canadian League football before becoming Apollo Creed (Rocky, Predator), whilst Laurence Tureaud appeared in WWF and pro-wrestling bouts but is more famous as BA Baracus and James "Clubber" Lang (The A-Team, Rocky III)
  • John Matuszak -American football - won the Superbowl twice and entered the World's Strongest Man competition before becoming Sloth in the cult film The Goonies (Caveman, The Goonies)
  • OJ Simpson - American football - nicknamed "The Juice", Orenthal James Simpson was the first footballer to rush more than 2000 yards in one season before moving into acting, most famously in the Police Squad/Naked Gun series. His became even more famous when he was accused (and acquitted in a huge media-circus televised trial) of double murder of his wife and her lover. The police chase was broadcast live on US news channels and made him the most notorious sportsman-turned-actor. he hasn't appeared in a film since. (Capricorn One, the Towering Inferno)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger - bodybuilding - Austrian born former Mr Universe went on to become one of the most successful and famous actors of the 1980's with a string of muscle-bound roles. Having given up acting to pursue a career in politics. he is now Governor of California. But hey you knew all that (Terminator, Total Recall)
  • David Prowse - bodybuilding, weightlifting - represented Great Britain in weightlifting in the 1962 Commonwealth Games, was chosen as the physical form of Darth Vader after his height was noticed in the Green Cross Code road safety advertisements. He had a few other minor roles and though he spoke the dialogue on set in the Star Wars films he didn't realise his Bristolian accent would be over-dubbed by James Earl Jones in the final cut. (Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange)
  • Eric Cantona - football - enigmatic footballing supremo, Cantona helped re-shape Manchester United into the force it is today, helping them win their first Championship for 26 years and being in the squad that won the European Cup in treble-winning 1998-99 season` (though not playing in the final due to suspension). His post-playing career has included a number of acting roles, mainly in French films and he was used extensively in European Nike sportswear advertising. (Elizabeth, Les Enfants du Marais)

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