Rosey Grier: Wikis


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Rosey Grier
Rosey Grier.jpg
Grier at the 2008 Movieguide Faith and Value Awards Gala.
Defensive tackle
Jersey #(s)
Born July 14, 1932 (1932-07-14) (age 77)
Cuthbert, Georgia
Career information
Year(s) 19551966
NFL Draft 1955 / Round: 3 / Pick: 31
College Penn State
Professional teams
Career stats
Sacks 44.5
Games 141
Safeties 2
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier (born July 14, 1932 in Cuthbert, Georgia) is an American actor, singer, Christian minister, and former professional American football player. He was a notable 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, 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.

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 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.[2] 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.[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] He was part of the "Fearsome Foursome", along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Lamar Lundy,[6] 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-football 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.[7] 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 held by the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, and jammed his finger behind the trigger, fracturing 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."[8]

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 Marge Grier, whom he divorced in 1978 and remarried in 1980. 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.[9]

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. (1964) 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.[10] 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). Grier also guest voiced in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons entitled Sunday, Cruddy Sunday. He appeared in a third season episode of Quincy, M.E. called Crib Job, in which he played himself as the director of a group called Giant Step, and 2 episodes in the third season of Kojak (1976) as a bounty hunter called Salathiel Harms. He also appeared on an episode of CHiPs during the first season in 1977, where he plays a distraught motorist who, during a routine traffic stop made by Ponch and Jon, proceeds to destroy his car in frustration by pulling it apart piece by piece.

Rosey also appeared in a TV Series with Claude Akins, filmed in his home state of Georgia, titled MOVIN' ON. The Series ran on NBC TV during the years 1974-75, and the episode 'General Delivery' is available on YouTube.

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)


  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". The Kansas City Star: p. I1. 
  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". The New York Times: p. 35. 
  6. ^ Ayto, John; Ian Crofton (2006). Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2nd edition ed.). New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 260. ISBN 0-304-36809-1. 
  7. ^ Current Biography Yearbook: 1975. New York: H. W. Wilson Company. 1975. p. 178. 
  8. ^ Ed Pilkington, The night Bobby died, Guardian (UK), January 13, 2007, Accessed January 7, 2007
  9. ^ Porter, David L. (1987). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 225. ISBN 031325771X. 
  10. ^ Rosey Grier, IMDB

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Rosey Grier in 2008

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.


  • Rosey Grier, immortalized in needlepoint - and by my own hands to boot! If anyone would have told me that I would go from football to needlepoint, I would have laughed in their face. In fact, the whole thing started as a joke, but it's turned into one of the most enjoyable and satisfying things I've ever done. I try to turn other guys on to needlepoint wherever I go - from the dude sitting next to me on a plane to the guy working behind the scenes on a movie set. 'Smile all you want,' I tell them, 'but if you try it once, you'll keep on coming back for more,' and that's the truth brother.
    • (January 1, 1973). Needlepoint for Men. Walker Co, Back Cover. ISBN 0802704212.

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