It’s amazing to discover some of the odd jobs held by some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces. It’s become common knowledge, thanks to the movie, that Channing Tatum was a stripper prior to his big break and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was slinging elbows as the WWE’s People’s Champ for years before donning the Scorpion King loin cloth. Heck Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes
Terry Crews – No place better to start then the ever entertaining Terry Crews who, according to Wikipedia, was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He carved out a career spanning seven years, including stints with the Rams, San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. A lot of us film pundits are familiar with seeing Terry Crews appear in just about every film that offers a pay check starting with The 6th Day, Soul Plane, White Chicks, Get Smart, Terminator Salvation, The Expendables, and the Scary Movies.
Jason Lee – I mostly associate this guy with Kevin Smith as I was mostly ignorant to the extreme sports that infected the early 90’s, but most people are fully aware that Jason “My Name is Ear” Lee was actually a professional skater before dabbling in the world of acting. Apparently he was a prominent figure too, and founded a company devoted to skateboard manufacturing or something. I really should know more but I can’t get over this 90’s video I found of Lee tearing shit up as a skater, watch:
Tony Hawk who?
Carl Weathers – I love Carl Weathers, don’t you? Not only is the guy hilarious in everything opposite David Cross but the guy was a professional football player with the Oakland Raiders? Blink and you certainly would have missed him as he played 7 games in 1970 and one game in 1971. Thank God for David Cross… I love this guy because of him.
Gina Carano – Carano may be the only female on the list, but to be on this list with these guys is impressive for any person, man or woman. Carano began her training with straight Muay Thai and made the transition into the world of MMA attaining such rankings as third best 145lb fighter in the world back in 2009, holding a 12-1-1 Muay Thai record and a 7-1 WMMA record. Heck, she even portrayed “Crush” in the revamped “American Gladiators” for a while, but after getting cast in Steven Soderberghs ‘Haywire’ she put the fighting days behind her.
She’s appeared in Fast 6, opposite the Rock, and in the Blood. Apparently one of her next roles will be portraying Rob Liefeld’s Avengelyne, but then again it came from Rob Liefeld so it should be taken with heaps of salt.
Ray Allen – Jesus Shuttlesworth.
That is all.
Rick Fox – This guy is an anomaly. He was badass on the Lakers in the Small Forward position, helping the L.A. Lakers clinch a few titles and even managed to marry the incredibly gorgeous Vanessa Williams. Little did we know that Fox held a bachelor’s degree in “Radio, Television and Motion Picture”. That experience must have helped because he went on to land a role in HBO’s incredible series ‘Oz’ playing a NBA player imprisoned for a sex crime or something. Fox was great in the role and the exposure led to more television roles including The Game, Ugly Betty, Some Tyler Perry shows, and more.
I honestly dont even mind the guy and actually smile when I see him in a film because of the familiarity with him and his career.
Jason Statham – I’ve never even knew this. Most of you probably didn’t even know either but apparently Statham was an athlete on the British National Diving Team. I didn’t believe this either, but Katie Couric pressed him on the issue when he was doing promotional rounds for Parker or something. Check out this video where she even has photos of him doing Van Damme level splits:
Vinnie Jones – This guy is a legend. He’s rightly earned the right to be called a Psycho by any fan of European soccer, (it’s not football), having earned quite a reputation as one the sports more physical players… ever.
Tony Danza – I had no idea that the Tony Danza was a boxer before warming the hearts of all Americans in Who’s The Boss. (to be honest, I had no idea who he was prior to the show), but now I’m a huge fan of the guy. Don Jon’s Addiction greatly benefitted by his experience and he’s just a downright likeable guy. One of the few guys to reach out to 2Pac while he was in jail, Danza had already earned the name “Tough Tony” in the ring:
Well that’s my list. It’s far from compelte, but it’s just a list of some of my personal favorite athletes turned actors.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – He managed to ride the success of bodybuilding straight into acting, after a brief stint playing the Governator for the state of California. He needs little to no explanation after that.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson – He’s in the same boat as the Governator. He was a wrestler who overacted but managed to add layers of charisma to transform his schtick into a sucessful acting career. Hell, he doesn’t even raise his eyebrow or suplex people anymore in his films. He just… acts.
David Haye is joining good company as he transitions and already has a pretty good look to hop right in the action genre. Haye comes from a extremely strong boxing background having unified the WBA, ABC, and WBO cruiserweight titles and he can kick ass too, which is not at all a bad thing.