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Rosey Grier

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Title: Rosey Grier  
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Subject: Free to Be... You and Me, Sunday, Cruddy Sunday, The Thing with Two Heads, The Sophisticated Gents, Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Collection: 1932 Births, African-American Male Actors, African-American Players of American Football, American Christian Clergy, American Football Defensive Linemen, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, College Football Announcers, Eastern Conference Pro Bowl Players, Liberty Records Artists, Living People, Los Angeles Rams Players, New York Giants Players, Penn State Nittany Lions Football Players, Pennsylvania State University Alumni, People from Cuthbert, Georgia, People from Roselle, New Jersey
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Rosey Grier

Rosey Grier
Grier at the 2008 Movieguide Faith and Value Awards Gala.
No. 76
Position: Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1932-07-14) July 14, 1932
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
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Sacks: 44.5
Games: 141
Safeties: 2
Stats at

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. In 1979 Grier appeared on season three/episode 14 of the Love Boat.

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 1
  • Professional career 2
  • Post-football career 3
    • Movies and television 3.1
    • Community service 3.2
  • Bibliography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Born in 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.[5][6] He was part of the "Fearsome Foursome", along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Lamar Lundy,[7] 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, [10][11]

In December 1968, he accompanied USO tour, Grier performed alongside headliner Ann-Margret and others personnel at the U.S. bases at Long Bình, Cam Ranh Bay, Da Nang, Chu Lai, and Phù Cát, as well as aboard the carriers USS Hancock and USS New Jersey, and at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base and U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand, along with stops in South Korea and Guam.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] Grier released his autobiography 'Rosey: The Gentle Giant' in 1986.[15]

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 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 a 1999 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday".[12]

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.


  • 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)[18]
  • The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever (2008)


  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".  
  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".  
  6. ^ Gifford, Frank; Peter Richmond (2008). The Glory Game:How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever.  
  7. ^ Ayto, John; Ian Crofton (2006). Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2nd ed.).  
  8. ^ "NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones dead at 74". Fox News. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Current Biography Yearbook: 1975.  
  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.  
  12. ^ a b Anderer, Xande (2014). "Rosey Grier: Playing for Nickels". The VVA Veteran (November/December 2014). p. 28. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  13. ^ Tanner, Beccy (2013-10-27). "Football great Rosey Grier marries Wichita schoolteacher". Wichita Eagle. 
  14. ^ Porter, David L. (1987). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports.  
  15. ^ Grier, Rosey; Debbie Baker (1986). Rosey an Autobiography: The Gentle Giant. Honor Books.  
  16. ^ "Season 6 (1969-70)". Daniel Boone TV. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  17. ^ Rosey Grier at the Internet Movie Database
  18. ^ Ebony May 1993

External links

  • Rosey Grier filmography
  • Rosey Grier football statistics
  • Needlepoint for Men by Rosey Grier (1973)
  • Rosey Grier at the Internet Movie Database
  • NCAA Centennial "List of 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes" (PDF)
  • Roosevelt Grier biography at All Music Guide
  • Gallery of Rosey Grier football cards
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