When time comes to call it a day on the gridiron, diamond, ice, court or ring, most athletes “hang ’em up” and retire to a life lived closer to that of the average ordinary Joe. Some find a higher calling, like politics, or philanthropy. A select few, though, decide that the silver screen is the place to go. The best of them have made better careers in film, and made more money, than they ever did in sports. Consider Johnny Weissmuller, aka Tarzan. Before some other Austrian dude named Schwarzenegger crossed the pond to make it big in America, Weissmuller plied his talents in the pool, winning five Olympic gold medals in swimming and a bronze in Water polo for Austria. Where Weissmuller made it really big, however, was playing Tarzan in 12 movies. “Me Tarzan, you Jane” and that distinctive yell of his was the trending topic of the 30s.
Before his star turns busting ass in “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Running Man” (Fireball), Jim Brown busted a lot of tackles as a superstar running back with the Cleveland Browns. Considered among the greatest to ever lace up the cleats in the NFL, Brown led the league in rushing for eight of his nine stellar seasons. Brown captured just about every accolade a player could get, including Pro Bowl Selection (9), MVP (four times), All-Pro (eight times) and also won a championship in 1964. The Hall of Famer made a smooth transition to films, starting with Rio Conchos in in 1964. He really made his mark as Robert Jefferson in the hit Dirty Dozen and even helped lampoon himself in “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” playing ‘Slammer.’