Roosevelt ‘Rosey’ Grier is a former professional football player who played for ‘New York Giants’ and ‘Los Angeles Rams’. He is also an actor, author, singer, protestant minister, and humanitarian. Rosey started playing football at an early age. His talent and skills became evident by the time he reached high school. During his high school days, Rosey started performing very well at various championships and displayed amazing skills. Rosey captained his University team, and also became a member of ‘Alpha Phi Alpha.’ As an actor, Rosey has appeared in movies, such as ‘The Desperate Mission’ (1969), ‘Carter's Army’ (1970), ‘The Treasure of Jamaica Reef’ (1975) and ‘The Glove ‘(1979). He has also worked in a number of TV shows, such as ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ (1964 – 1968), ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ (1965 – 1970), ‘The Wild Wild West’ (1965 – 1969), ‘Daniel Boone’ (1964 – 1970), etc. He became a Protestant minister in 1983 and devoted his life towards helping the unprivileged. In 1986, he published his autobiography ‘The Gentle Giant’.
Childhood & Early Life
Rosey Grier was born to Joseph Grier and Ruth Grier on July 14, 1932. His birth place is Cuthbert, Georgia, where he grew up along with his eleven siblings.
He went to Abraham Clark High School in New Jersey. He then attended Pennsylvania State University to complete his graduation, where he also became a star footballer.
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When his football career ended, Rosey became the bodyguard of Robert F. Kennedy, the then US senator. Robert was a friend of Rosey. The night Robert was shot Rosey was guarding the senator’s pregnant wife, Ethel Kennedy. When Robert was shot Rosey was the one who forcefully took the gun from Robert’s assassinator, Sirhan Sirhan.
In 1968, Rosey embarked on a tour called ‘Operation Holly’, along with Bob Hope. He then moved on to try his hand at acting and established a career in the film industry.
Career as an Entertainer
As a TV actor, he made quite a lot of appearances in hit TV shows like ‘Make Room for Daddy’ (1953 – 64), ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ (1964 – 68), ‘The Wild Wild West’ (1965 – 69), ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ (1965 – 70), etc. He had a starring role in the series, ‘Daniel Boone’ in 1969.
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The other shows that he was a part of include ‘The Smothers Brothers Show’ (1965 – 66), ‘The Bill Cosby Show’ (1969), ‘Movin' On’ (1974-76), ‘CHiPs’ (1977), ‘Quincy’ (1976 – 83), ‘The White Shadow’ (1978 – 81), etc. Grier also hosted a TV show titled ‘Rosey Grier Show’ (1968 – 70). The show featured interviews, music and variety.
As a film actor, he appeared in films like ‘Carter’s Army’ (1970), ‘The Desperate Mission’ (1969), ‘The Thing with Two Heads’ (1972), ‘Skyjacked’ (1972), ‘The Glove’ (1979), ‘The Treasure of Jamaica Reef’ (1965), ‘Terror in the Aisles’ (1984), etc. He was last seen in the movie, ‘Reggie’s Prayer’ (1996). He also lent his voice in ‘The Simpsons’ in 1999.
Grier is the co-founder of ‘American Neighbourhood Enterprises’ (ANE). The organization aims at helping the unprivileged by providing them with shelter and training them to keep up with life.
Grier was chosen as a Protestant minister in 1983. He then started another program called ‘Rosey Grier’s Are You Committed?’ This time around, the program was intended to help disadvantaged teenagers and young people. His vision was to provide the young with educational and spiritual values.
He has also served as the chairman for ‘Impact Urban America’ – a branch of ANE. He is also one of the board members of ‘Impact Urban America’ which uses real estate and construction business to provide training, employment and affordable housing to the underprivileged.
He is also a trustee in ‘Milken Family Foundation’ which provides for the medical research, social welfare and advancement of the society as a whole. He has also devoted his time to ‘The Prostate Cancer Foundation’.
He has authored several books - ‘Shooting Star’ (1993), ‘Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men’ (1973), ‘Rosey Grier's All-American Heroes: Multicultural Success Stories’ (1993), etc. His autobiography ‘Rosey, an Autobiography: The Gentle Giant’ was released in 1986.
On January 5, 2017, Grier announced that he will be running for Governor of California from Republican Party during the California Gubernatorial Election in 2018. But he withdrew his candidacy in July 2017.
Awards & Achievements
He was honoured by Pennsylvania State University with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1974. He also received Alumni Fellow Award in 1991.
His name was included among ‘100 Most Influential Student Athletes’ by NCAA at its 100th anniversary. He was inducted into the New Jersey’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
He was again inducted into New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2017. His other accolades include ‘Master of Ceremonies for the Special Olympics’ (1970 – 83), ‘Watson Award’ from IBM, ‘B’nai B’rith Champion of Youth’, ‘National Football League Humanitarian Award’, etc.
He was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letter of Law from Orals Roberts University in 1981.
Grier was in a relationship with Sherryl Brown-Tubbs, before marrying Bernice Lewis. He has a daughter with Sherryl, and adopted Bernice’s child from her previous relationship, before getting married to her. This marriage, however, didn’t work out, and ended in separation.
He later got married to Margie Grier, and has a son, Roosevelt Kennedy Grier, with her. He divorced Margie in 1978, but remarried her in 1980.
After Margie passed away in 2011, he married Cydnee Seyler, a teacher, on April 30, 2013.
Roosevelt ‘Rosey’ Grier was named after the Governor of New York who went on to become the President of the USA.