Many an athlete who feels the strain of age creeping up on them has tried to use their relative fame to jump into the acting business. However, for as many that have succeeded a greater number has failed. As it turns out, acting may require more skill than most people suspect. These skills usually are of a different set than it takes to be a successful athlete, however there are a blessed few who possessed both.
Jason Lee's athletic career is not often considered a sport by a lot of people. In the late 1980's and early 90's, Jason Lee was a professional skateboarder. He is relatively new to the movie business as well, but is posed have a successful future as an actor. Jason Lee is most well known for his role as Earl Hickey on the 2005 television show My Name is Earl.
Though he became a relatively noticeable name from my Name is Earl, he also held small parts in a number of movies. A decent handful of these films have been Kevin Smith movie including Dogma, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks 2.
Before O.J. Simpson took to being an actor he played football for both the Buffalo Bills and san Francisco 49ers. After he retired, O.J.'s friendly face easily transferred onto the big screen. His career as an actor is mostly remembered by his roles in the Naked Gun series of movies. However, after the nasty court battle that ensued over the murder of his wife, Simpson has majorly disappeared from any media. I guess that friendly face of his cannot overcome one of the most debated trials ever known.
Bob Ueker played baseball for the Milwaukee Braves and the Atlanta Braves, and boy was he terrible at it. Bob Ueker used his lack of aptitude at baseball like a champ though, by making fun of himself. After his terrible career, he figured he would try his hand at acting. Bob Ueker only got a handful of roles throughout his career as an actor, but two will only be remembered.
He played George Owens on the relatively popular television show Mr. Belvedere and played a sports caster in perhaps one of the most iconic sports movies of all time -- Major League. People will forever remember Bob Ueker not for his terrible sports career, but for his role as that cynical-soon-to-turn-enthusiastic sports announcer from Major League.
Vinnie Jones had a long and colorful career as a footballer (soccer). He played for Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea, and there may even be a few more I have missed. While his football career was long and fruitful, his acting career was even more so. He is primarily known for being big, hard muscled, and angry. His first major role was in the British comedy thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. However, he continues to have a successful movie career to this day.
You may remember Vinnie Jones as the brutish but comedic soccer coach in She's The Man, acting alongside Amanda Bynes. Perhaps you recognize him as the crazed Manchester United fan mad Maynard in Euro Trip. Though, more than likely, you will recognize him as The Juggernaut from X-Men: Final Stand. He has went on to do many other films since those, but they are the most notable.
Fred Williamson played for the Oakland raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. However, after he retired, he took to movies. Williamson was one of the first male African American stars in the black exploitation genre ("Blaxploitation") in the early 1970's, a genre that specifically targeted urban African Americans.
Fred Williamson has made a number of movies, however a lot of them have been B-list flicks or straight to video affairs, usually utilizing Fred Williamson as a grumpy cop. However, you may remember him as Captain Dobey from Starsky & Hutch or a vampire killing badass biker from the movie From Dusk Till Dawn.
Unlike most of the athletes turned actors on this list, their sports career was majorly forgotten when they got into acting. However, this is not the case with Jim Brown. Jim Brown played for the Cleveland Browns and to this day still remains their all time leading rusher. He is also the 9th leading rusher in the Football Hall of Fame.
Jim Brown as an actor had a number of roles and it seems that Jim Brown was only really cast as one character--Grumpy, badass black guy. Which is fine and dandy, considering he is both successful at football and a successful actor. He has also been known to produce and direct at times as well. While he is still majorly remembered by his debut role in The Dirty Dozen, and by me for his role in Mars Attacks! (a film I am the only one who seems to love), Jim Brown is truly a talented man among men.
As most people are aware, Arnold was a very successful professional bodybuilder before he was a movie star or even the 'Govenator.' When he decided to jump into movies, his career seemed set up for failure. After all, his voice was thick with the trademark heavy Austrian accent, he had a surname that seemed impossible to say (or spell), and most people did not believe his brutish look would transfer well to film.
However, through all the negativity, Arnold carved his niche. He was the perfect cast for the role as Conan the Barbarian with his big muscles and thick accent that made him seem very barbaric. He went onto be transformed into the ultimate soldier in Commando, and of course who could forget the Terminator series. However, Schwarzenegger did also take some admirable risks with his career by playing comedy roles like in Twins, Kindergarten Cop, and Junior. I can respect him for that, but honestly I think we all would rather like to forget Junior. Seriously, it will invade my nightmares tonight.
Almost All Pro-Wrestlers
Many may wonder why I did not include any wrestlers on this list. It is not that I do not believe that wrestling is a sport, but I believe wrestling is already a type of acting. Being a wrestler requires having a good stage presence and a knack for theatrics. Whether the actually wrestling is completely staged, i don't care, but those soap opera arguments before the fights sure are staged a little bit. So all those wrestlers that have hoped from their sport to the screen were already prepared for the career in a way, thus they make decent actors. Consider Andre the Giant, Triple H, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Hulk, and all those other wrestlers gone movie stars on this list in a way.