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Drew Bundini Brown
Born March 21, 1928
Florida
Died September 24, 1987
Los Angeles County, California

Drew Bundini Brown (March 21, 1928 - September 24, 1987) was an assistant trainer and cornerman of Muhammad Ali throughout the former heavyweight champion's career,[1] as well as occasional film actor.

Contents

Biography

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Personal life

Brown was born in Midway, Florida and joined the Navy as a messboy at age 13. Discharged two years later, he returned to the United States Merchant Marine, and spent 12 years traveling the world. He later became part of Sugar Ray Robinson's entourage.[2]

Brown was married to Rhoda Palestine Brown. They had one son, Drew Brown III who joined the United states Navy, became a fighter pilot and won numerous awards for his service. He then went on to write a best selling book titled "You Gotta Believe". He is now a nationally known speaker.[1][3] He was born a Black Jew and was the only one to ever fly off a Navy aircraft carrier. According to the autobiography of singer Ruth Brown (no relation),[4] he was also the true father of her son Ronald David Jackson ("Ronnie"), though he was unaware of this during the boy's childhood.

Career with Ali

Brown joined Ali's entourage in 1963,[5] when the boxer was known as Cassius Clay, and remained with him until his final fight in 1981.[1]

Brown was also one of Ali's speech writers. He wrote certain poems, such as coining Ali's famous and oft quoted :

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see."

that he used to taunt Sonny Liston at the press conference prior to his February 25, 1964 victory over the WBA and WBC champion to claim both titles.[1]

In the 2001 Michael Mann directed movie Ali starring Will Smith and Jamie Foxx playing Ali and Brown respectively, a scene has Ali kicking Brown out of his entourage for a time, after Brown admits selling one of Ali's championship belts on the street for $500 to feed his heroin addiction. Upon Ali's comeback fight with Jerry Quarry, Brown shows up to his training camp clean of drugs and begs for his job back; Ali relents when he starts the "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" poem, then Brown joins in and the two finish in unison.

Filmography

Actor

  • Penitentiary III (1987) .... Sugg/Inmate #2
  • The Color Purple (1985) .... Jook Joint Patron
  • Aaron Loves Angela (1975) .... Referee
  • Shaft's Big Score! (1972) .... Willy
  • Shaft (1971) .... Willy

Self

  • When We Were Kings (1996) (uncredited) .... Himself
  • Doin' Time (1985) .... Himself (special appearance)
  • Muhammad and Larry (1980) .... Himself
  • The Greatest (1977) .... Himself
  • "Am laufenden Band" (1976) .... Himself (1 TV episode, dated 22 May 1976 .... Himself

Archive footage

  • Beat This!: A Hip hop History (1984) (TV) .... Himself
  • A.k.a. Cassius Clay (1970) .... Himself

References

External links


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