Athletes as Actors, part 4: Other Sports
Click here for part 1
Click here for part 2
Click here for part 3
These are some of the athletes from the more obscure sports who tried their hand at acting. Again, most parlayed their expertise in their chosen sport into their acting gigs:
Played Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, the worst of the Rocky movies. A boxer playing a boxer. Sounds like a familiar tune. No, I did not see this movie, but I am aware of it's existence. I do know that Stallone himself gave it a "zero" on a scale of 1 to 10. Anyway, Morrison never acted again, tested positive for HIV, and has recently returned to boxing with good results against tomato cans. He has claimed on several occasions, probably in order to be allowed to earn money boxing again, that his HIV diagnosis was false and he has never been HIV positive.
Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, Dave Hanson
Okay, I'm taking some liberties, because only one of these guys played in the NHL (Dave Hanson played in 33 NHL games). They all played professional hockey (WHL, IHC, CHL, etc). But these three guys played the Hanson brothers in "Slap Shot." I just had to include them on this list. It could be argued that they were the "stars" of the movie. Not great award winning acting, but some memorable quotes: "I'm listening to the fucking song!" According to Wiki, Jeff Carlson is an electrician in Muskegon, MI, Steve Carlson runs a power skating school in Kenosha, WI, and Dave Hanson runs a sports center at Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh. They reprised their roles as the Hanson brothers in the 2002 direct to video release "Slapshot 2: Breaking The Ice."
Andre The Giant
Andre appeared in lots of 70s TV shows (Six Million Dollar Man, BJ and The Bear, The Fall Guy) playing, for the most part, giants and monsters (in the $6M Man, he played Bigfoot). After all, he couldn't really play anything else. He is most well known as an actor for playing Fezzik, the Giant in "The Princess Bride." Grouping wrestlers in with athletes is a bit of a stretch, but most wrestlers are probably more athletic than golfers or bowlers.
The Hulkster starred as Randolph Spencer in his own TV series, "Thunder In Paradise," in 1994. It lasted one season on some minor cable channel (USA? WB?). The plot description sounds like it was a low-rent "A-Team": Randolph Spencer and Martin Brubaker were ex-Navy SEALS-turned-mercenaries who hired themselves out as soldiers of fortune for a very high fee. Other than that, his acting gigs have included lots of appearances in other similarly crappy cable series. His most memorable role was that of "Thunderlips" in Rocky III. But he was essentially playing himself.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
The former Miami Hurricane defensive tackle and professional wrestler has been a huge success in Hollywood. He has appeared in action films (The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, Walking Tall), and recently in some comedic roles (Be Cool, The Game Plan). His IMDB page also lists some upcoming flicks, including Get Smart. He is the only "athlete" to have hosted SNL twice. Get used to him - he's gonna be around for a while. He a decent enough actor, and appears to be a pretty good guy.
Weissmuller was an Olympic swimmer in the 1920s - he won five gold medals and one bronze in the '24 and '28 Olympics. After his Olympic career was over, he signed a seven year contract with MGM, and played Tarzan for MGM in six different films. After his contract expired, he signed as a free agent with RKO and starred in six more Tarzan movies. When he hit middle age (44), he traded in his loincloth and played "Jungle Jim" in a series of 13 movies between 1948 and 1954. That's quite a career. Another bit of trivia - he appears on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers album.
The former Olympic gymnast starred in "Gymkata" which was perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious movies of all-time. I don't even know how they managed to shoehorn a plot into this one, but according to IMDB: "Johnathan Cabot is a champion gymnast. In the tiny, yet savage, country of Parmistan, there is a perfect spot for a 'star wars' site. For the US to get this site, they must compete in the brutal 'Game.' The government calls on Cabot (played Thomas), the son of a former operative, to win the game. Cabot must combine his gymnastics skills of the west with fighting secrets of the east and form GYMKATA!" I can't even remember if Thomas has any lines in the movie, but the whole film consists of him being chased and randomly finding various gymnastic apparatuses with which to fight the bad guys. Being chased through an alley by ruthless ninjas? Look, there's a pommel horse! Surrounded by marauders? Hop on those handy parallel bars! No escape? Grab those rings! I can't say that I have sat through this film in its entirety, but I was shocked into hysterical laughter at the parts I did manage to see.
And so ends the four part series (see links to parts 1-3 above). I know I must have missed some - "other sports" covers so much ground. If you think of any others, note them in the comments.