Rosey Grier

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Rosey Grier
Rosey Grier.jpg
Grier at the 2008 Movieguide Faith and Value Awards Gala.
No. 76
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1932-07-14) July 14, 1932 (age 81)
Place of birth: Cuthbert, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 284 lb (129 kg)
Career information
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 1955 / Round: 3 / Pick: 31
Debuted in 1955
Last played in 1966
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Sacks 44.5
Games 141
Safeties 2
Stats at NFL.com

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier (born July 14, 1932) is an American actor, singer, Christian minister, and former professional American football player. He was a notable college football player for The Pennsylvania State University who earned a retrospective place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association 100th anniversary list of 100 most influential student athletes. As a professional player, Grier was a member of the New York Giants and the original Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams. He played in the Pro Bowl twice.

After Grier's professional sports career he worked as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign and was guarding the senator's wife, Ethel Kennedy, during the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Although unable to prevent that killing, Grier took control of the gun and subdued the shooter, Sirhan Sirhan.

Grier's other activities have been colorful and varied. He hosted his own Los Angeles television show and made approximately 70 guest appearances on various shows during the 1960s and 1970s.

As a singer, Grier first released singles on the A label in 1960, and over the following twenty-five years he continued to record on various labels including Liberty, Ric, MGM and A&M.1 His recording of a tribute to Robert Kennedy, "People Make The World" (written by Bobby Womack) was his only chart single, peaking at #128 in 1968.

Grier is known for his serious pursuit of hobbies not traditionally associated with men. He has authored several books, including Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men in 1973. Grier became an ordained Christian minister in 1983 and travels as an inspirational speaker. He founded American Neighborhood Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that serves inner city youth.

Early life

Born in Cuthbert, Georgia as one of twelve children, Grier was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time of Grier's birth and was elected president of the United States later that year.2

He played high school football at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, New Jersey.3

Professional career

After playing on the defensive line on the Penn State University football team, Grier was drafted as the 31st overall pick in the third round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He played with the Giants from 1955 to 1962, during which he led the team to a NFL Championship in 1956 and the Eastern Conference Championship in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. Grier was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1956 and 1960, and was named All-Pro at the defensive tackle position in 1956 and 1958–1962.4

Grier was then traded in July 1963 to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for defensive tackle John LoVetere and a high future draft pick.56 He was part of the "Fearsome Foursome", along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Lamar Lundy,7 often considered one of the best defensive lines in football history. His career ended in 1967 due to a torn Achilles tendon. Despite being the oldest member of the Fearsome Foursome, Grier is the last surviving member following the death of Deacon Jones on June 3, 2013.8

Sacks with Rams: 1963 (6), 1964 (6.5), 1965 (1.5), 1966 (7)

Post-football career

Evan Freed (left), Roosevelt Grier (right), 1967

After his retirement, Grier hosted the Rosey Grier Show on KABC-TV, a weekly half-hour television show discussing community affairs in Los Angeles.9

Grier served as a bodyguard for his friend, United States senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. He was guarding Ethel Kennedy, the Senator's wife, who was then expecting a child, the night that Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968. Grier and Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson heard shots fired ahead of them. As Grier caught up he saw men wrestling with gunman Sirhan Sirhan. Grier jumped into the fray. Grier states, "So I see George Plimpton has the gun pointed at his face, and I'm concerned that it is going to go off, so I put my hand under the trigger housing and I pulled back the hammer so it couldn't strike. I wrench the gun from Sirhan. I find the pin and I ripped it out and held it. Now I have the gun in my hand, so I shove it in my pocket." Grier later said, "I grabbed the man's legs and dragged him onto a table. There was a guy angrily twisting the killer's legs and other angry faces coming towards him, as though they were going to tear him to pieces. I fought them off. I would not allow more violence."1011

Grier was well known in the 1970s for his hobbies of needlepoint and macrame, practices not normally associated with "macho" sports figures. Grier has a daughter from a previous relationship named Sherryl Brown-Tubbs. He later married Bernice Lewis, who had one child, Denise, whom he adopted before getting divorced. He then married Margie Grier and had a son, Roosevelt Kennedy Grier, in 1972. He and Margie divorced in 1978 and remarried in 1980. Margie Grier died on June 10, 2011. He married Wichita school teacher Cydnee Seyler on April 30, 2013.12 A nephew, Mike "Big Daddy" Grier, followed his uncle's career in sports when he enrolled as a student at Boston University, but he played ice hockey instead of football.13 Grier released his autobiography 'Rosey: The Gentle Giant' in 1986.14

Movies and television

Grier and comedian Don Rickles in a Kraft Music Hall skit, 1968.

Grier has appeared in a number of films and television shows. One of the first football stars to successfully transition to acting, he made about 70 television guest appearances, including a role as one of the security contingent in The Brain Killer Affair episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) as well as a cameo playing an athletic trainer in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie. He became a regular cast member starting in 1969 on the series Daniel Boone15, Make Room for Granddaddy, and The White Shadow.16 In one White Shadow appearance, he donned his #76 Los Angeles Rams jersey from his NFL playing days. Grier also sang the song "It's All Right to Cry" for the children's album and TV program Free to Be… You and Me. Grier appeared on the television game show Match Game 74 as a panelist. Grier starred in films including The Thing with Two Heads (1972), The Glove (1978), and The Seekers (1979). Grier appeared in the 1974-1976 NBC TV series Movin' On with Claude Akins, filmed in Grier's home state of Georgia. He appeared in a third season episode of Quincy, M.E. called Crib Job, in which he played himself as the director of a group called Giant Step, and 2 episodes of Kojak, one in the third season and one in the fourth season, as a bounty hunter called Salathiel Harms. He also appeared on an episode of CHiPs during the first season in 1977, where he plays a distraught motorist who, during a routine traffic stop, proceeds to destroy his car in frustration by pulling it apart piece by piece. Grier also guest voiced in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday".

Community service

Grier has also written a number of books, and now travels the United States as an inspirational speaker. He is a cofounder of American Neighborhood Enterprises, an organization that works to help disadvantaged city dwellers buy homes and receive vocational training. Grier was ordained a Christian minister in 1983, and the next year he founded his nonprofit resource center for inner-city teens, developing spiritual and educational programs for disadvantaged youths.

Grier is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is also on the Milken Family Foundation board of trustees and serves as its program administrator of community affairs.

He has been honored by Penn State as recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1974, and the Alumni Fellow Award in 1991. He was named to the NCAA's "List of the 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes” published to commemorate the NCAA's 100th anniversary. In 1997, he was inducted into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame.

Bibliography

  • Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men (1973)
  • Rosey, an Autobiography: The Gentle Giant (1986)
  • Winning (1990)
  • Shooting Star: Sometimes You Find What You Didn't Even Know You Were Looking For... : A Novel (1993)
  • Rosey Grier’s All-American Heroes: Today’s Multicultural Success Stories”(1993)17
  • The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever (2008)

References

  1. ^ Roosevelt Grier biography at All Music Guide
  2. ^ McClellan, April D. (1994-01-02). "Tackling trouble in the inner city Former NFL lineman Rosey Grier shifts his social work to Kansas City". The Kansas City Star. p. I1. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Will. Rosey never forgot his roots, often returning to his home town to run track with a local track hero named Bruce "Red Beard". "Gentle Giant", New Jersey Monthly, December 19, 2007. Accessed July 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Rosey Grier Statistics". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  5. ^ Wallace, William (1963-07-09). "Giants Trade Grier for Ram Tackle and High Draft Choice". The New York Times. p. 35. 
  6. ^ Gifford, Frank; Peter Richmond (2008). The Glory Game:How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever. New York: Harper Collins e-books. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-06-171659-1. 
  7. ^ Ayto, John; Ian Crofton (2006). Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2nd edition ed.). New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 260. ISBN 0-304-36809-1. 
  8. ^ "NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones dead at 74". Fox News. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Current Biography Yearbook: 1975. New York: H. W. Wilson Company. 1975. p. 178. 
  10. ^ Ed Pilkington, The night Bobby died, Guardian (UK), January 13, 2007, Accessed January 7, 2007
  11. ^ Gifford, Frank; Peter Richmond (2008). The Glory Game:How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever. New York: Harper Collins e-books. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-06-171659-1. 
  12. ^ Tanner, Beccy (2013-10-27). "Football great Rosey Grier marries Wichita schoolteacher". Wichita Eagle. 
  13. ^ Porter, David L. (1987). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 225. ISBN 0-313-25771-X. 
  14. ^ Grier, Rosey; Debbie Baker (1986). Rosey an Autobiography: The Gentle Giant. Honor Books. ISBN 0-89274-406-5. 
  15. ^ "Season 6 (1969-70)". Daniel Boone TV. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  16. ^ Rosey Grier at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^ Ebony May 1993

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