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Roosevelt Grier

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A singer, one of the NFL's greatest football stars, a heroic body guard, an actor, social activist, and a minister of God, Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier has successfully worn many hats in his life. Born on a Georgia peanut farm, one of 13 children, Grier was 22 when he and his family migrated north to New Jersey. A track scholarship allowed Grier entrance into Penn State University. From there, he was recruited into the NFL where he was first a linebacker for the New York Giants and then a tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, where he became part of the legendary "Fearsome Foursome" that included Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen, and Deacon Jones. Retiring from football in 1968, Grier became a bodyguard for Senator Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 presidential election. It was Grier who wrestled alleged assassin Sirhan Sirhan to the ground after the younger Kennedy was shot. Following the end of his football career, Grier turned to the entertainment industry. It was not his first foray into performing as he had signed a contract with a booking agency in 1959 and briefly toured the nightclub circuit as the "300-pound Perry Como." The 6'6" Grier was a popular guest on talk shows and loved talking about one of his favorite hobbies, needlework. In 1969, he made his first stab at an acting career in the failed television pilot Battle Brigade/Carter's Army. He then became a regular on Daniel Boone for its last season. Grier made his feature-film debut in Lee Frost's memorable low-budget exploitation film The Thing With Two Heads (1972), in which Grier's head was grafted alongside the head of racist scientist Ray Milland. It was a decidedly inauspicious beginning for a film career as a supporting actor that, while never prolific, became even more sporadic after 1980. Grier has done his most notable work in television in such miniseries as Roots: The Next Generation (1978) and telemovies as The Sophisticated Gents (1981). A devout Christian since the late '60s, Grier is also a minister who actively preaches all over the world. Between 1994 and 1995, Grier generated controversy when he became the spiritual counselor of accused murderer and former football star O.J. Simpson. Grier claims that during their many sessions together, Simpson never incriminated himself. Grier's philanthropic work includes a place on the board of directors for the Special Olympics, a position he has held since 1968, and a position as an activist director for the Milken Family Foundation, a large philanthropic organization that funds worthy social causes.



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