Brown, Jim 1936—

views updated May 11 2018

Jim Brown 1936

Former professional football player, actor, social activist

At a Glance

Experienced Culture Shock on Long Island

Best of the Browns

Film Star, Social Pioneer

Selected writings


Some 30 years after his retirement from professional football, Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown still ranks among the very best running backs in the games history. As a member of the Cleveland Browns from 1957 until 1966, Brown made a mockery of his opponents, scoring a record-setting 126 touchdowns and leading the league in yards gained for eight of his nine seasons. A combination of speed, intelligence, and sheer strength, enabled Brown to set 15 National Football League (NFL) records. Sports Illustrated attested that Brown dominated pro football like no player ever had. It is possible that had he continued to play, he would have put all the leagues rushing records so far out of reach that they would have been only a distant dreamlike [New York Yankees baseball player] Joe DiMaggios hitting streakto the runners who followed him.

Brown is one of the first professional football players to parlay his gridiron fame into notable off-the-field accomplishments. Since retiring from sports he has devoted his energies to other projects, becoming an actor and a social activist. Brown has founded and run several well-known community programs aimed specifically at improving economic opportunities for American minorities. His latest enterprise is Amer-I-Can its name emphasizing the I Cana project aimed at fostering self-esteem and diffusing tensions among urban gang members. Brown has created a 15-step course in personal responsibility that he has introduced everywhere from maximum-security prisons to encounter sessions in his own Hollywood living room.

Part of Browns success in these ventures has rested on his image as a hard-working football player who never forgot the pressing issues of the black community despite his fame and fortune. Browns own life is an illustration of his philosophy that economic development is the best strategy for success in the United States. Said Los Angeles Times columnist Mike Downey, Brown doesnt offer gang members dispassionate advice to be better citizens, to be cool, to go out and get decent jobs. He gives them a way. Brown doesnt counsel prison inmates to get themselves straightened out, to lead more productive lives. He shows them how. He does something.

At a Glance

Born James Nathaniel Brown, February 17, 1936, on St Simons island, GA; son of Swinton and Theresa Brown; married Sue James, 1958 (divorced); children: Kim, Kevin, Jim, Jr. Education: Syracuse University, B.A, 1957.

Athlete, actor, activist. Cleveland Browns, full back, 1957-66. Actor, 1964 film appearances include Rio Conchos, 1964, The Dirty Dozen, 1966, Ice Station Zebra, 1968, 100 Rifles, 1969, and Im Gonna Git You, Sucka, 1989. Minority enterprises activist, 1965; founder, Negro Industrial and Economic Union (name later changed to Black Economic Union, 1965, Vital Issues, 1986, Amer-I-can, c. 1989. Spokesperson for Pepsi Cola Company, Coors Gold Door program, and Jobs Plus.

Selected awards 25th Silver Anniversary Award, National Collegiate Athletic Association; Rookie of the Year, National Football League (NFL), 1958; Player of the Year, NFL, 1959; Jim Thorpe Trophy, 1959, 1965; named football back of the decade for 1950-60; named to NFL Pro Bowl, 1958-65; Player of the Year, NFL 1964; Bert Bell Memorial Award, 1964; H ickoc Belt Athleteof the Year, 1964; elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1971.

Addresses: Office Amer-I-can, 6290 Sunset Blvd, Ste, 925, Hollywood, CA 90028.

Experienced Culture Shock on Long Island

In 1936, James Nathaniel Brown was born on St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia. His father, who had been a professional boxer, left the family when Jim was still an infant. For the first seven years of his life, Brown was raised by his great-grandmother on the island. His mother, Theresa, had moved north to Long Island, New York, where she found work as a housekeeper. Eventually Brown joined her there, undergoing a sort of culture shock in his new surroundings. He told Newsday that on his first morning at Manhasset Valley grade school he got into a fight. My mother had dressed me in new clothes, he remembered. That morning when they gave us recess, a black boy made a wisecrack, said I looked pretty, and he shoved me. I reacted Georgia-style. I tackled him, pinned him with my knees, punched him. The closed circle of kids watching then started chanting, Dirty fighter, dirty fighter I stopped fighting. I was mystified. How did these boys fight up here?

Circumstances improved for Brown when he found his way onto sports teams. He was a natural athlete who excelled at virtually every game, from baseball and football to lacrosse and track events. A policeman named Jack Peploe encouraged Brown to join the Manhasset Police Boys Club and even gave Brown the keys to the high school gym so he could open it for Boys Club games.

As early as his freshman year of high school, Brown was grabbing the attention of local coaches. Ed Walsh, who ran the Manhasset High School football program, recruited Brown and pushed him to work on his already formidable skills. Walsh told Newsday that Brown probably had more drive to succeed of anybody I have ever coached. Whatever he did, he wanted to do better than anybody else.

With Browns talent and leadership, Manhasset High became a powerhouse in football, baseball, and lacrosse. The students at the school were so impressed with their star athlete that they elected him chief justice of the high school court. Even so, Brown admits that he did indulge in a bit of minor gang activity as a teenagerchiefly breaking in on rival parties and fighting occasionally. This mischief, however, did not impinge on his athletic career or his academic potential. During most of his high school years he was a member of the honor society for scholastic achievement. I was a poor kid from a broken home, he told Newsday, but I was not insecure, because where there is love there cannot be insecurity.

Brown was recruited by 45 colleges and universities. He chose New Yorks Syracuse University at the prompting of a friend, attorney Ken Molloy. Unbeknownst to Brown, Molloy had canvassed Manhasset businessmen for funds to pay Browns tuition until the young man could earn a full athletic scholarship. That proved more difficult than anyone had anticipated when, as a freshman at Syracuse, Brown was passed over for less talented white players in basketball and football. As a sophomore, he was benched in football until a timely injury to another player opened a place for him on the offense. Once he found his way into a game, he plowed down the opposition so forcefully that the fans began to chant his name. He became a starter after that, ultimately earning ten varsity letters as a Syracuse Orangemanthree each in football and lacrosse and two each in basketball and track. With only a slight knowledge of the various events, he placed fifth nationally in the 1956 decathlon competition and qualified to attend the Olympic Games.

Brown did not go to the 1956 Olympics, however, choosing instead to concentrate on football. During his senior year at Syracuse, his team qualified for the prestigious Cotton Bowl, where they lost 28-27 to Texas Christian University. Brown, who scored 21 points in that game, was later named to the 1957 College All-Stars. When he graduated in the spring of 1957, he had gained 2,091 yards and scored 187 pointsincluding 25 touchdownsfor the Orangemen.

Best of the Browns

Brown was the first-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 1957. With little fanfare, he joined the teams training camp for summer workouts. While most professional football players need several years to adjust to the level of play in the NFL, Brown starting at fullback made his presence known immediately. By his fifth game, he had surpassed the team record for most touchdowns scored in a single season. He played a key role in Clevelands Eastern Division championship of 1957, and with the first of his seven season-rushing records in hand, was the unanimous choice for rookie of the year. In 1958, he again won the rushing title with 1,527 yards, tying the single-season touchdown record with 18.

Year after year Brown continued his onslaught. If teams could contain his rushing on the groundand few couldhe would catch hail Mary, or long bomb passes and streak into the end zone. He was voted onto every All-Pro team between 1958 and 1965, and he was named football back of the decade for 1950 to 1960. In Cleveland especially, he was hailed as a conquering hero, a superstar for a sports-obsessed city.

Still, by 1962 Brown was dissatisfied with his role with Cleveland. His response, more or less, was to lead a player revolt against the coaching of Paul Brown, who was fairly conservative in his play selection. In 1963, Jim Brown prospered again, this time under replacement coach Blanton Collier. Brown rewrote the record books by gaining 1,863 yards, catching 24 passes, and scoring 15 touchdowns in a single season. In December of that year he visited then-President Lyndon Johnson at the White House.

The era of product endorsements and athlete-actors was just dawning, and Brown was a pioneer in both respects. He signed a contract with Pepsi Cola and traveled in the off-season as an executive and spokesperson for the soft drink company. He also took a role in a feature film, Rio Conchos, about U.S. Cavalry troopers in the 19th century. The movie work opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for Brown. Although he was still at the top of his form as an athlete and the highest-paid football player of his day, he actively sought film roles as a means to move away from sports.

In 1966 Brown starred in the box office hit The Dirty Dozen, earning praise for his portrayal of a black man victimized but unbroken by the white world. Shooting for The Dirty Dozen was repeatedly delayed, and ultimately conflicted with football training camp in 1966. It was then that Brown abruptly announced his retirement from football. He was 30 years old and at the height of his game. Regarding his decision to leave football, Brown toldSporis Illustrated, I quit with regret but no sorrow. Ive been able to do all the things I wanted to do, and now I want to devote my time to other things. And I wanted more mental stimulation than I would have had playing football.

Film Star, Social Pioneer

For some years after Brown retired from football he continued to win major film roles in works such as Dark of the Sun, Ice Station Zebra, and 100 Rifles. The latter featured an American cinematic first, when Brown did a love scene with costar Raquel Welch, a white actress. Brown toldPeop/e that he thinks the interracial love scene and his tendency to play strong, confident characters, proved his undoing in the industry. I think Hollywood just got tired of a big ol black Negro kissin all their women, he said.

Others, such as Gentlemans Quarterly contributor John Lombardi, claimed that highly publicized charges of battery by several womennone of them resulting in a convictionundermined Browns image. Lombardi wrote, Browns movie career was only a memory by the early eighties, his ten-year publicity contract with Pepsi-Cola went unrenewed, and he found himself hustling Celebrity Bowling tournaments on TV for $20,000 paydays.

Brown admitted in People that his numerous relationships with women led him astray for a time. Ive done things Im not particularly proud of, he said inEsquire, but at least Im honest enough to talk about them. When the film and television offers dried up, he founded his own production company, Ocean Productions, to encourage minority participation in movie-making. Though that venture has not seen great success, other Jim Brown projects have not only enhanced the athletes image, but have also brought him substantial financial reward.

Brown has been no stranger to the field of public service. As early as his playing days in Cleveland, he founded the Black Economic Union (BEU), which used professional athletes as facilitators in the establishment of black-run enterprises, urban athletic clubs, and youth motivation programs. The BEU eventually folded, but Brown took his ideas to the Coors Golden Door program and Jobs Plus. In 1986, he founded a new endeavor, Vital Issues, aimed at teaching life management skills and personal growth techniques to inner-city gang members and prison inmates. By 1989, Vital Issues had evolved into Amer-I-Can.

The image most often associated with Amer-I-Can is that of Brownaging but still powerfulsurrounded by teenage gang members in various stages of the self-improvement program. Brown conducts sessions of Amer-I-Can from his home in the hills above Los Angeles. In 1992, Amer-I-Can won more than a million dollars in grant money to expand its programs into cities such as San Francisco and Cleveland. Los Angeles Times correspondent Jesse Katz explained that Amer-I-Can, as set forth by Brown, draws on the self-determination of [1960s social activist] Malcolm X, the capitalism of [conservative U.S. president] Ronald Reagan and the recovery plan of Alcoholics Anonymous, adding,At a time when police and politicians are at a loss to stem the rising tide of gang violence, Amer-I-Can is one of the hottest tickets in town.

While he may not be the only athlete to reach out to others less fortunate than himself, Brown urges his peers to do more than make gestures when facing societys ills. As he told Stephan Garnett of Dollars & Sense, If they [black athletes] ever united and created a capitol base and put up a pool of resources to oversee that money, they would really be doing something great. Regardless of whether or not his vision is manifested, Browns example serves to bolster his community. He suggested to Garnett that for too long black Americans have been chasing the shadow of the rabbit. Its time for us to start chasing the rabbit, not his shadow. Amer-I-Can provides one way to do so.

Ultimately, Brown does not want to be seen as yet another wealthy athlete who made his way in the world through his physical ability. I was a highly paid, over-glamorized gladiator, he told the Washington Post. The decision-makers are the men who own, not the ones who play. I was never under an illusion as to who was the boss. Browns aim is to give a new generation the courage to succeed. The young black male is the most powerful source of energy and change we have, he told the Washington Post. My hope is to start a direction where these young men will be given respect and taught how to utilize it.

In the years since hanging up his cleats, Brown has continued to win accolades from being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 to being named one of the most important sports figures of the preceeding 40 years by Sports Illustrated in 1994. The 12,312 yards he gained rushing stood as a record for nearly 20 years, until Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears broke it on October 7, 1984. Even more impressive, Browns 126 career touchdowns record stood for nearly 30 years, until San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice broke it on September 5, 1994. Still, no fullback or running back has maintained Browns average of more than 5.22 yards per carry.

Despite having cemented a phenomenal page in sports history, Brown told Jet magazine, I have no trophies in my home. When I lay down, I think of all the experiences Ive had and the respect that Ive gotten. Thats my glory. In Esquire he added, My performance is still there. They can try to make the numbers do tricks now, make them say something they really dont, but the other runners know who the man was. I have always carried myself in a way that made people afraid to take liberties.

Selected writings

Off My Chest (autobiography), 1964.

Out of Bounds (autobiography), 1989.


Dollars & Sense, May 1994, p. 34.

Ebony, October 1987, p. 134.

Esquire, January 1990, pp. 35-36.

Gentlemans Quarterly, November 1992, pp. 232-39, 315-16.

Jet, October 30, 1989, pp. 46-51.

Life, October 25, 1963.

Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1991; May 3, 1992.

Modern Maturity, June 1994, p. 18

Newsday, December 19, 1962; October 3, 1991.

People, November 25, 1991.

Sports Illustrated, September 19, 1994, p. 57.

USA Today, September 6, 1994, p. CI.

Washington Post, December 5, 1959; February 15, 1991; May 25, 1992.

Mark Kram

Brown, Jim

views updated May 29 2018

Jim Brown


American football player

Hall-of-Fame running back, Jim Brown, was recognized during his football career for his dominance on the playing field. In the years following his early retirement, that same strength and determination led to success in Hollywood and social activism. With the Cleveland Browns from 1957 through 1966, Brown rewrote the record books and then left the game to pursue avenues that would challenge him more than his gridiron contemporaries ever could. He was one of the first professional football players to parlay his fame into success off the field and in doing so he not only set a precedent for all the running backs that followed but for every athlete that had aspirations beyond athletics.

The Early Days

Born James Nathaniel Brown in 1936 on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia, he was raised primarily by his great-grandmother after his father, a professional boxer, left the family. His mother moved North in search of work and eventually would send for her son. It was after moving north to be with his mother that Brown first encountered the barriers he would so easily break throughout his life. Finding it hard to acclimate to his new surroundings, Brown found his way through athletics. The ease with which he excelled in nearly every available sport impressed his coaches and gave him the drive to continue. In high school, Brown became so popular that he was elected chief justice of the high school court and was a member of the honor society for scholastic achievement. Although he was a model student athlete, his childhood was not without temptation. Brown admits to being involved in gangs as a teenager but never enough to interfere with his lofty ambitions.

After high school, Brown was a highly sought-after recruit for many colleges and universities. He chose New York's Syracuse University and hoped to earn a full athletic scholarship. His freshman year, on both the basketball and football teams, he was benched in favor of less talented white players. It was not until an injury on the football team that Brown was given his chance to shine. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Brown soon became a star and earned ten varsity letters at Syracuse. He even qualified for the Olympic Games after placing fifth nationally in the 1956 decathlon competition. That year he led his team to the Cotton Bowl and finished with impressive numbers.

Brown and the Browns

He was drafted in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Starting at fullback, Brown was immediately effective in his role with the team. After only the fifth game of the season, he had already set a team record for touchdowns in a single season. The team would eventually win the Eastern Division championship and Brown was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year. The following year he again won the rushing title, with 1,527 yards and tied his single-season touchdown record with eighteen.

Between the years of 1958 and 1965, Brown was voted onto every All-Pro team and was a superstar in the league and overwhelmingly so in Cleveland. His popularity proved so powerful that he led a player revolt against the coaching staff and in particular against his role in Paul Brown 's offense. The revolt would result in the firing of coach Brown. Under new coach, Blanton Collier, Brown again set records in 1963 gaining 1,863 yards. At the end of that year Brown was invited to Lyndon Johnson's White House.

After blazing a definitive trail on the field, Brown began setting precedent outside the NFL. He became interested in Hollywood and in product endorsement. A new phenomenon, his Pepsi Cola contract had him traveling in the off-season as an executive and spokesperson. His role in Rio Conchos, a film about the U.S. Cavalry in the 1800s, led to more movie roles and farther away from his still flourishing career with the Browns.

Hollywood and Retirement

In 1966, he accepted a role in the hit movie The Dirty Dozen. The scheduling conflict between the film and the beginning of football training camp led to Brown's abrupt retirement from football. At thirty-years-old and still in his prime, he left football and never looked back. Brown told Sports Illustrated, "I quit with regret but not sorrow. I've been able to do all the things I wanted to do, and now I want to devote my time to other things. And I wanted more mental stimulation than I would have had playing football." He left the game with, among others, the leagues' rushing record which would stand until Walter Payton broke it in 1984.


1936Born February 17 on St. Simons Island, Georgia
1956Named All-America at Syracuse University
1956Qualifies to attend the Olympic Games
1957Named to the 1957 College All-Stars
1957Drafted by the Cleveland Browns
1957Named NFL Rookie of the Year
1958, 1963, 1965Named league's Most Valuable Player
1963Sets single season rushing record with 1,863 yards
1965Organizes the Black Economic Union
1966Stars in hit movie, The Dirty Dozen
1966Announces retirement from NFL
1969Breaks ground with interracial love scene in 100 Rifles
1971Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
1986Starts Vital Issues program
1989Stars Amer-I-Can
2002Serves jail time for domestic dispute

Awards and Accomplishments

1956Named All-American at Syracuse
1958Named NFL Rookie of the Year
1958, 1963, 1965Named NFL Most Valuable Player
1959Wins the Jim Thorpe Trophy
1959, 1964Named NFL Player of the Year
1964Wins Bert Bell Memorial award
1964Wins Hickok Belt Athlete of the Year
1971Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

The year Payton broke the record in a mad dash with Franco Harris, who also coveted the accolade, Brown threatened to come back to football at the age of forty-seven. "He can break the record at his convenience because he has the cooperation of his organization," Brown said of Harris. "That's not a feat by my standards. It has nothing to do with overall performance. It has to do with specialized circumstances to break a record. You want to give me those circumstances, I'll come back and break any record they set." Whether making a statement about the state of the NFL in the middle eighties or having an actual desire to play again, Brown's willingness to risk public spectacle never came to fruition.

The mental stimulation that Brown sought would come in the form of many film roles including, Dark of the Sun, Ice Station Zebra and 100 Rifles. He also broke ground in Hollywood after being the first to portray an interracial love scene with co-star Raquel Welch. Although an important cinematic moment, Brown later blamed his screen persona on his waning popularity in Hollywood. Brown believed that his portrayal of desirable and strong characters on screen made white mainstream America nervous and led to a lack of work in years to follow. "I went from a major star to basically nothing," he said. "I think Hollywood just got tired of a big 'ol black Negro kissin' all their women."

Troubles with the Law

By the beginning of the eighties, with his movie career all but over, Brown's image began to take a beating for his continuing problem with domestic violence. Several women had brought him up on battery charges over the years, and although the charges were typically dropped, there were two notable convictions. Including an incident in 1968 where a girlfriend was found semi-conscious under his apartment's balcony. Plagued by the negative publicity, an unrenewed Pepsi endorsement contract and a dried up movie career, he would once again search for mental stimulation. It would come in the form of social activism.

Social Consciousness

His first step was to start his own production company, Ocean Productions, an attempt to provide minorities with a greater role in cinema. Not an overwhelming success, it was the first step in what would be the third phase of his life and career. As the founder of the Black Economic Union during his football days, Brown had the ambition and intelligence to use his influence to help those less fortunate and continues to today. It was rap music that awakened Brown's consciousness. "I said, 'Damn, these young brothers have got some consciousness.' I started hooking into this energy," Brown said of the music of Public Enemy.

Using his celebrity to call attention to the problems of the inner city, Brown founded Amer-I-Can in 1987. Amer-I-Can attempts to instill personal growth techniques and life management skills in gang members and prison inmates. With his powerful presence, Brown often conducts seminars with Los Angeles' gang members in his house in the Hollywood Hills. Granted money to move into other cities, his is a continuing struggle that he feels could use even more help. Feeling that more popular athletes could contribute to these problems, Brown has said: "They are the beneficiaries of our struggle. But they don't recognize that because they're inundated with agents, managers, lawyers and owners who don't want them to do anything but play ball and be physical freaks of nature with no awareness." Brown's call to arms hasn't led to an increase in superstar athletes lending their skills but on his own he has made an impact. "So far I'm very encouraged," said Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones in 1991, of the decrease in gang violence in the city. "It's the most satisfying time of my life," Brown has said. "I get a phone call from some dangerous kid on the streetand I answer my own phone, no middlemenwho wants to change his life. He'll come up here I show him a little respect, trust and without much help he can change his life."

Career Statistics

Cleveland: Cleveland Browns.

Brown's social activity harkens back to an era when athletes used their platform to try and strike change in their communities. "In the 60's when I called athletes to come and talk to [Muhammad] Ali , they didn't bring their agents, managers and lawyers. They came because they thought it was worthwhile. We athletes were just like normal citizens in those days, fighting for our rights," he said in a recent interview. "We didn't put our sport before our manhood." Brown's commitment to giving back to his community even extended to a threat to pull out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to which he was elected in 1971, because he believes the board that elects its members is racist. "I don't want to become a white black man

and forget my brothers," Brown has said, of his outspokenness on civil rights issues. "If black people don't get my helping hand, there won't be any helping hand."

Where Is He Now?

Brown served time in the Ventura County Jail after being convicted of misdemeanor vandalism incident. The charge was the result of a domestic dispute between Brown and his wife, Monique. After Brown was released from jail in July, 2002, he and Monique returned to his Hollywood Hills home. Brown continues to be active in his adopted social causes and is the topic of a new documentary on his life directed by Spike Lee.

Throughout his record setting football career with the Cleveland Browns, Jim Brown had a fearless approach to the game and in taking on Hollywood and the problems of the inner city he has displayed the same gritty determination. His example is part modern day superstar and part throwback to a more socially conscious era but either way it has kept him a successful and contributing member of society long after his gridiron glory had become a memory. He had the courage to walk away from the game before he became a shadow of himself and in the aftermath continues to hurdle over obstacles well into his sixties.



Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 11. Detroit: Gale, 1996.


"Arrested. Jim Brown." Time (March 4, 1985): 80.

"As Time Passes, Public Perceptions of Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson Change." New York Daily News (February 9, 1995).

"Call Him to Canton." Sports Illustrated (February 26, 1990): 14.

"Excellence by the yard; Franco Harris and Walter Payton: Doing it to Brown." Time (October 1, 1984): 84

"Going the Extra Yard." People (November 25, 1991): 105.

"I'll do it Again; Gridiron Legend Jim Brown Hopes to Return to the Field and Show the Pros of Today How to Play Football." People (January 9, 1984): 22.

"Jim Brown." Sports Illustrated (September 19, 1994): 56.

"Jim Brown Begins Jail Term." Jet (April 1, 2002): 32.

"Prisoner of Conscience." Sports Illustrated (April 15, 2002): 54.

"Something of Value: Jim Brown Hits the Mean Streets to do the Right Thing." Sport (June, 1993): 85.

"Pete, the Way they Play Today Stinks." Sports Illustrated (December 12, 1983): 30.

Sketch by Aric Karpinski

Brown, Jim 1936(?)– (James Brown)

views updated May 21 2018

Brown, Jim 1936(?)- (James Brown)


Full name, James Nathaniel Brown; born February 17, 1936 (some sources cite 1935), in St. Simons Island, GA; son of Swinton (a professional boxer) and Theresa (a housekeeper) Brown; married Sue, 1959 (divorced 1972); married Monique, 1997; children: (first marriage) Kim, Kevin, Jim, Jr.; (second marriage) Aris (son). Education: Syracuse University, B.A., 1957.


Actor, producer, and director. Indigo Productions, president, early 1980s; The Pryor Company (also known as Pryor Co.), president, 1983; Ocean Productions, founder. Cleveland Browns, professional football player (running back), 1957-65. Founder of the Negro Industrial and Economic Union (with others; later known as the Black Economic Union), 1965, Vital Issues, 1986, and Amer-I-Can, 1989; California Commission on the Status of African American Males, member, 1994. Also known as James Brown.

Awards, Honors:

Named an all-American football and lacrosse player, 1950s; Named Marlboro national football player of the year, 1957, 1958, and 1965; National Football League rookie of the year, 1958, and most valuable player, 1959 and 1964; Jim Thorpe Trophy, 1959; named back of the decade, 1960; Hickok Belt, professional athlete of the year, 1964; Bert Bell Memorial Award, 1964; nominations for Golden Laurel awards, male new face and male supporting performance, both Producers Guild of America, 1968, for The Dirty Dozen; inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame, 1971, the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 1983, and the College Football Hall of Fame, 1995; MTV Movie Award nomination, best fight, 1997, for Mars Attacks!; Jackie Robinson Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1997; named the greatest football player of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated.


Film Appearances:

Sergeant Ben Franklyn, Rio Conchos, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964.

(Uncredited) Himself, Operation Dirty Dozen, 1967.

Robert T. Jefferson, The Dirty Dozen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1967.

(In archive footage) Lionpower from MGM (short film), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1967.

Captain Leslie Anders, Ice Station Zebra, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.

McClain, The Split, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.

Sergeant Ruffo, The Mercenaries (also known as Dark of the Sun), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.

(Uncredited) The Man Who Makes the Difference, 1968.

Cully Briston, Riot, Paramount, 1969.

Lyedecker, 100 Rifles, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1969.

Ray Kenner, Kenner (also known as Year of the Cricket), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1969.

Jimmy Price, … tickticktick … (also known as Black Cop, Tick tick tick, Sheriff I het stad, Tic, tic, tic,Tickticktickbyen der var, Tickticktickesplode la violenza, and Tiktiktik), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1970.

Luke, El Condor, National General Pictures, 1970.

Tommy Marcott, The Grasshopper (also known as The Passing of Evil and Passions), National General Pictures, 1970.

Howard, Ein Kaefer geht aufs Ganze (also known as Superbug), 1971.

Gunn, Black Gunn, Columbia, 1972.

Slaughter, Slaughter (also known as Masacre), American International Pictures, 1972.

Curtis Hook, The Slams, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1973.

LeBras, I Escaped from Devil's Island (also known as Escape de la Isla del Diablo), United Artists, 1973.

Slaughter, Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (also known as Slaughter 2), American International Pictures, 1973.

Jimmy Lait, Three the Hard Way, Allied Artists, 1974.

Pike, Take a Hard Ride (also known as La lunga cavalcata and La parola di un fuorileggee legge!), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Isaac, Kid Vengeance (also known as Take Another Hard Ride, Vengeance, and Vengeance Vendetta), Cannon, 1977.

Dreams, Fingers, Brut, 1978.

Clyde Preston, Pacific Inferno (also known as Do They Ever Cry in America?, Helvetti merellae, Inferno I stillehavet, and Tyynenmeren helvetti), Euro-London Films, 1979.

J, One Down, Two to Go, Almi, 1983.

Fireball, The Running Man, TriStar, 1987.

Slammer, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Captain, L.A. Heat, Raedon Entertainment Group, 1989.

Steadman, Crack House (also known as Rock House), Twenty-First Century Releasing, 1989.

Morris, Twisted Justice, Borde Releasing, 1990.

Sunset, Killing American Style, 1990.

King, The Divine Enforcer (also known as Deadly Avenger), 1991.

Byron Williams, Mars Attacks!, Warner Bros., 1996.

Jake Trevor, Original Gangstas (also known as Hot City), Orion, 1996.

Spivey, He Got Game, Buena Vista, 1998.

Voice of Butch Meathook, Small Soldiers (live action and animated; also known as The Commando Elite, Pequenos guerreiros, Pequenos guerreros, Petits soldats, Pienet soturit, and Smaa soldater), DreamWorks, 1998.

Montezuma Monroe, Any Given Sunday (also known as Gridiron, The League, Monday Night, On Any Given Sunday, Playing Hurt, An jedem verdammten Sonntag, Duminica pierzi sau castigi, Kathe kyriaki, L'enfer du dimanche, Les heros du dimanche, Minae paeivaenae tahansa, Minden heten haboru, Ogni maledetta domenica, Um domingo qualquer, Un domingo cualquiera, and Yom Rishon Ha-Gadol), Warner Bros., 1999.

New Jersey Turnpikes, Universal, 1999.

Chad Grant, On the Edge, 2002.

Himself, Jim Brown: All American (documentary), 2002.

Playmakers of New Orleans, c. 2003.

Geronimo Armstrong, She Hate Me (also known as Elas me odeiam, mas me querem, Ella me odia, Lei mi odia, and 12 fois papa), Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.

Himself, Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered and Shafted (documentary), BadAzz MoFo, 2004.

Berwell, Animal (documentary), DEJ Productions, 2005.

Himself, The Outsider (documentary), Green Room Films, 2005.

Dream Street, Lonette Productions/Dream Street Submission, 2005.

Film Work:

Producer, Pacific Inferno (also known as Do They Ever Cry in America?, Helvetti merellae, Inferno I stillehavet, and Tyynenmeren helvetti), Euro-London Films, 1979.

Executive producer, Richard PryorHere and Now (documentary), Columbia, 1983.

Television Appearances; Series:

Commentator, NFL on CBS, CBS, beginning 1977.

Himself, Dynamic Duos, NBC, beginning 1978.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, Heroes of Black Comedy (documentary), Comedy Central, 2002.

Television Appearances; Movies:

(In archive footage) Himself, A Huey P. Newton Story, Black Starz!, 2001.

Don Strickland, Sucker Free City, Showtime, 2004.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Black Champions, PBS, 1986.

The Record Breakers of Sport, HBO, 1990.

UFC 1: The Beginning, 1993.

In This CornerBoxing's Historic Battles, HBO, 1994.

UFC 2: No Way Out, 1994.

UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors, 1994.

Fields of Fire: Sports in the '60s, HBO, 1995.

The NFL at 75: An All-Star Celebration, ABC, 1995.

UFC 5: The Return of the Beast, 1995.

Celebrate the Dream: 50 Years of Ebony, ABC, 1996.

The Journey of the African-American Athlete, HBO, 1996.

Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story, 1996.

UFC VI: Clash of the Titans (also known as Ultimate Fighting Championship VI), 1996.

Ali-Frazier I: One NationIndivisible, HBO, 2000.

Bill Russell: My Life, My Way, HBO, 2000.

George Foreman: Blow by Blow, HBO, 2000.

Unitas, HBO, 2000.

(In archive footage) Baadasssss Cinema, Independent Film Channel, 2002.

O. J.: A Study in Black & White, HBO, 2002.

Super Bowl XXXVI, Fox, 2002.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 43rd Annual Academy Awards, 1971.

The Fifth Annual Black Achievement Awards, 1984.

The 19th Annual Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, 1992.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Ed Sullivan Show (also known as Toast of the Town), CBS, 1964.

Tommy, "Cops and Robbers," I Spy, NBC, 1967.

The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, CBS, 1972.

Himself, "The Rumble in the Jungle: Ali vs. Foreman," HBO World Championship Boxing (also known as HBO Boxing), HBO, 1974.

Peter "Pete" Gerard, "End of the Line," Police Story, NBC, 1977.

Romo, "Roller Disco: Parts 1 & 2," CHiPs (also known as CHiPs Patrol), NBC, 1979.

Frank Barentt, "Raw Deal," T. J. Hooker, ABC, 1983.

John Casey, "High Times," CHiPs (also known as CHiPs Patrol), NBC, 1983.

C. J. Jackson, "Knight of the Drones: Parts 1 & 2," Knight Rider, NBC, 1984.

Calvin Tyler, "Midnight Highway," Cover Up, CBS, 1984.

Detective Jim Cody, "Anatomy of a Killing," T. J. Hooker, ABC, 1984.

"Quarterback Sneak," The A Team, NBC, 1986.

Warren Brille, "Whose Trash Is It Anyway?," Highway to Heaven, NBC, 1988.

"The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Hit," Good Sports, CBS, 1991.

Himself, "Living Single Undercover," Living Single (also known as My Girls), Fox, 1997.

Himself, "Kung Fools," Between Brothers, UPN, 1998.

Himself, "Full Contact: The Making of ‘Any Given Sunday,’" HBO First Look, HBO, 1999.

Himself, "You Can Pick Your Friends …," Arli$$ (also known as Arliss), HBO, 2000.

Himself, ESPN SportsCentury, ESPN, multiple episodes, between 2000 and 2004.

Willie White, "Pagan Poetry," Soul Food, Showtime, 2004.

Willie White, "The Son Also Rises," Soul Food, Showtime, 2004.

Willie White, "Survival Techniques," Soul Food, Showtime, 2004.

Reader, "Super Bowl XXXIX Pregame Show," Fox NFL Sunday, Fox, 2005.

Himself, "Jim Brown," Stars on Stars, Fox Sports Network, 2007.

Television Guest Appearances; Episodic:

Dateline: Hollywood, ABC, 1967.

The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show, NBC, 1968.

Playboy after Dark, syndicated, 1969.

The Dick Cavett Show, ABC, 1970.

The Flip Wilson Show (also known as Flip), NBC, 1972 (multiple episodes).

Soul Train, syndicated, 1972, 1974.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (also known as The Best of Carson), NBC, 1974.

The Charlie Rose Show (also known as Charlie Rose), PBS, 1995.

ABC News Nightline (also known as Nightline), ABC, 2005.

The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Fox Sports Network, 2005.

Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, ESPN, 2005.

"The Political Legacy of Muhammad Ali," Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, ESPN, 2006.

Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2006.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Stocker, Lady Blue, ABC, 1985.

Slammer Jenkins, Hammer, Slammer and Slade, ABC, 1990.

Monroe, Sideliners, c. 2006.

Television Appearances; Other:

I Challenge You, 1985.

Television Work:

Producer, The Magnificent Magical Magnet of Santa Mesa (movie; also known as The Adventures of Freddy), NBC, 1977.

Director, Keeping the Music Alive (special), 1999.

Director, American Roots Music (miniseries), 2001.



Himself, Armed & Deadly: The Making of "The Dirty Dozen" (short), Warner Home Video, 2006.


Nonfiction; Autobiographies:

Off My Chest, Doubleday, 1964.

(With Steve Delsohn) Out of Bounds, Kensington Publishing, 1989.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 11, Gale, 1996.

Freeman, Mike, Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero, William Morrow, 2006.

Newsmakers 1993, Gale, 1993.

Toback, James, Jim: The Author's Self-Centered Memoir on the Great Jim Brown, Doubleday, 1971.


Jet, October 25, 1999, p. 47.

New Republic, September 6, 1999, p. 15.

Sports Illustrated, September 1, 1999, p. 50.

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Jim Brown

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