Rosey Grier

Rosey Grier

Infobox NFLretired

caption=Grier at the 2008 Movieguide Faith and Value Awards Gala
position=Defensive tackle
birthdate=birth date and age|1932|7|14
Cuthbert, Georgia
college=Penn State
* New York Giants (1955-1962)
* Los Angeles Rams (1963-1966)
* 2x Pro Bowl selection (1956, 1960)

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier (born July 14, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York) is an African American actor, Christian minister, and former professional football player. He was a noteworthy college football player for 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 original Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams and 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 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. Grier is known for his serious pursuit of nontraditional hobbies such as macrame and needlepoint. 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

One of twelve children, Grier was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time and was elected president later that year. [cite news |last=McClellan|first=April D. |title=Tackling trouble in the inner city Former NFL lineman Rosey Grier shifts his social work to Kansas City |url= |work=The Kansas City Star |date=1994-01-02 |accessdate=2008-03-17|page=I1] He is also a cousin of actress Pam Grier and uncle of National Hockey League player Mike Grier.

He played high school football at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, New Jersey. [Hughes, Will. [ "Gentle Giant"] , "New Jersey Monthly", {December 19, 2007. Accessed July 31, 2008.]

NFL career

After playing on the defensive line on the Pennsylvania 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. [cite web|url= |title= Rosey Grier Statistics|accessdate=2008-03-17|last=|first=|publisher=Sports Reference, Inc.]

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. [cite news |last=Wallace|first=William |title=Giants Trade Grier for Ram Tackle and High Draft Choice |url= |work=The New York Times |date=1963-07-09 |accessdate=2008-03-17|page=35] He was part of the "Fearsome Foursome", along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Lamar Lundy, [cite book|last=Ayto|first=John|authorlink=|coauthors=Ian Crofton|year=2006|title=Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable|publisher=Sterling Publishing|location=New York|edition=2nd edition|isbn=0-304-36809-1|page=p. 260] often considered one of the best defensive lines in football history, along with the Purple People Eaters of the Minnesota Vikings and the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His career ended in 1967 due to a torn achilles tendon.

Post-NFL career

After his retirement, Grier hosted the "Rosey Grier Show" on KABC-TV, a weekly half-hour television show discussing community affairs in Los Angeles. [cite book|last=|first=|authorlink=|coauthors=|year=1975|title=Current Biography Yearbook: 1975|publisher=H. W. Wilson Company|location=New York|edition=|isbn=|page=p. 178] 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. Grier grabbed the gun of the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, and jammed his finger behind the trigger, breaking Sirhan Sirhan's arm. 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." [Ed Pilkington, [,,1989146,00.html The night Bobby died] , Guardian (UK), January 13 2007, Accessed January 7, 2007]

Grier was well known in the 1970s for his hobbies of needlepoint and macrame, practices not normally associated with "macho" sports figures. He later married Beatrice Lewis, and had one child, Denise, before getting divorced. He then married Marge Grier whom he divorced in 1978 and remarried in 1980. He had one son, Roosevelt, from that marriage. Roosevelt Junior, also nicknamed "Big Daddy" Grier, eventually enrolled as a student at Boston University, where he played ice hockey. [cite book|last=Porter|first=David L.|authorlink=|coauthors=|year=1987|title=Biographical Dictionary of American Sports|publisher=Greenwood Press|location=Westport|isbn=031325771X|page=p. 225]

Movies and television

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.", as well as a cameo playing an athletic trainer in an episode of "I Dream of Jeannie". He became a regular cast member on the series "Daniel Boone", "Make Room for Granddaddy", and "The White Shadow". [ [ Rosey Grier, IMDB] ] 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 a handful of low-budget features, including "The Thing with Two Heads" (1972) and "The Glove" (1978).

Community service

Grier has also written a number of books, and now travels the United States as an inspirational speaker, and is 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, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. 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)


External links

* [ Rosey Grier filmography]
* [ Rosey Grier football statistics]
* [ Needlepoint for Men by Rosey Grier (1973)]
* [ NCCA Centennial "List of 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes" (PDF)]

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