Tough Guy: Jim Brown

Jim Brown (1936-) is known for two successful high-profile careers: remarkable athlete and film actor.

Jim Brown football hall of fame photo

Jim Brown in action on the football field.

After a four-sport college career (football, basketball, track and lacrosse) at Syracuse, Brown played professional football with the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965 and was named Rookie of the Year his first season. He did not miss an NFL game in nine seasons, completing 118 straight games. He has been rated as the number 2 player of all-time by and number 1 by Sporting News. Many consider him the best football player of all time whose total accomplishments are unlikely to be surpassed.


Football Hall of Fame induction, 1971

He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 31, 1971 (the same day as Vince Lombardi). For his athletic career at Syracuse, he was inducted in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.


Jim Brown as RT Jefferson in Dirty Dozen

Brown retired from football and turned to acting in the mid 1960s. His first action movie roles were as Jefferson in The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Captain Anders in Ice Station Zebra (1968). Playing tough action characters, Brown starred in several “blaxploitation” films in the 1970s, including Slaughter (1972) Black Gunn (1972) and Three the Hard Way (1974). He also appeared in The Running Man (1987) as “Fireball” and in the spoofs I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and Mars Attacks! (1996). Brown played Miami Sharks defensive coordinator Montezuma Monroe in Oliver Stone’s football movie Any Given Sunday (1999).

Jim Brown Books @ TSCPL

Out of Bounds by Jim Brown, with Steve Delsohn. Published in 1989. 248 pages

Out of Bounds Jim Brown“Arguably the best football player who ever lived, and always a magnet for controversy Jim Brown is incapable of anything less than total candor. His nine bone-jarring Hall-of-Fame years in the National Football League, and multitude of records he set, are football legend. His second life as a film star who became the first black man to do a love scene with a white woman on an American screen is part of Hollywood lore. Now in his autobiography, Out of Bounds, Jim Brown is still kicking butts, his uncensored words, like his electric breakaway runs on the gridiron, wielding the power to astonish and amaze.
Out of Bounds names names and pulls no punches. In the same way he played the game—full throttle and don’t spare a drop—Jim Brown takes a penetrating and often shocking look at his life and the people and events that became an intimate part of it. He tells the true stories behind the sports headlines, reveals who the toughest, grittiest football warriors were, and names players who thought they were but weren’t. His reflections on sex, fame, and his highly-publicized encounters with the law are both frank and hilarious. His stories about cocaine and women are ugly and disturbing, as are his observations about the role of racism in the NFL.”

Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero by Mike Freeman. Published in 2006. 289 pages.

Freeman Jim Brown bio“He intimidated people on and off the football field. He was brutal yet brilliant, narcissistic yet magnanimous, relentless yet unyielding. Most of all, he was the greatest football player of all time. He was Jim Brown. Jim Brown was an astonishing physical specimen with tremendous skills and intelligence. An athlete who played a number of sports at Syracuse University, he ultimately discovered that it was the violence of football that appealed to him most. The idea of physically dominating other men, surviving ferocious battles on the field against opponents who would just as soon call him a n***** as try to gouge out his eyes fueled an astonishing, record-making NFL career that led to the Hall of Fame. He battled his defenses, sometimes his teammates, and often the Cleveland Browns’ legendary head coach Paul Brown. But Jim Brown had ambitions greater than football. He used his athletic brilliance to launch a movie career, becoming Hollywood’s first black action hero, culminating in a scandalous love scene with America’s sweetheart Raquel Welch. He leveraged his popularity into helping the NFL’s black players and becoming a civil rights activist. Never shy about expressing his opinions, Brown would become the subject of FBI investigations and surveillance throughout parts of his life. Then there were the women. The patient wife who was essentially a single mother and who endured public humiliation. The girlfriends he ran through and the scandalous accusations of violence made by some of them. A complex and fascinating story, Jim Brown is a towering biography of a living legend.”

Jim Brown Movies @ TSCPL

Other movie credits include Rio Conchos (1964) 100 Rifles (1969) …tick…tick…tick… (1970)  Take a Hard Ride (1975)

Jim Brown, Pro Football Hall of Fame

Jim Brown, Lacrosse Hall of Fame

Jim Brown, College Football Hall of Fame