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Hollywood Loses Yet Another Icon

A multitalented legend of Hollywood has passed away.

Bernie Casey, a former pro-football player, film actor, poet and painter, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78. Reports say the beloved star spent a few days in a hospital in Los Angeles before he passed away. The cause of death has not been announced, but reports say his loved ones were surrounding him until the end.

Casey had a remarkable life, which began in West Virginia in 1939. He got attention in school for his athletic ability and won several titles for track and field.

Casey then went on to the NFL, where he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams. He played football for a total of eight seasons before retiring.

After Casey retired as an athlete, he sank his chops into a new profession: acting. He first appeared in the 1969 western, 'Guns of the Magnificent Seven'. He reprised his role in the sequel, then went on to perform in a slew of crime dramas.

During his acting career, which spanned 35 years, he appeared in films such as 'Sharky's Machine', 'Rent-a-Cop', ' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka', 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure', 'Another 48 Hrs.' and 'Under Siege'.

In total, he has 35 films to his credit. He also appeared in television series such as 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine', 'SeaQuest 2032' and 'Babylon 5'.

The role for which he's best known and loved for was as U.N. Jefferson in 'Revenge of the Nerds'.

Casey also enjoyed writing poetry and painting. In 1969, he published a book of paintings and poems, entitled, 'Look at the People'.

In a 1977 interview about his football career, Casey told a reporter at the Washington Post that sports were just a job for him. The arts were what came first in his life. He claims that his reputation as a jock made people surprised to find out about his passion for the arts.

"[Football] was just a gig," he told the Washington Post in 1977. "But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china."

"I was a big, agile, fast and a dedicated athlete," Casey said in a 1999 interview. "But I always wanted to be a painter."

Maya Angelou, late American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, is one of the people who was inspired by Casey's work. "His art makes my road less rocky, and my path less crooked," she said at an exhibition of Casey's work in 2003.

Hip Hop artist Dart Adams posted a Tweet about Casey's death, saying,"Bernie Casey was a Black hero going back to the days when I was a little kid that didn't get to see too many. Not like kids have it today."

"RIP Bernie Casey. U.N. Jefferson represented the best of what the Tri-Lams stand for: Tolerance, brotherhood & getting down w/ the Omega-Mus," said author Chris Nashawaty in a tweet.

Source: NY Daily News
Photo: YouTube, Century Ambulance

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