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Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: June 8, 1939 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Wyco, West Virginia, USA Profession: actor, football player, painter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This imposing, dignified African-American actor set receiving records as a professional football player with the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams before segueing to film and TV work in the late 1960s and early 70s. Casey was better prepared for an acting career than most former athletes; he began studying acting with Jeff Corey as a 25-year-old. As he has aged, Casey has shifted from playing intense dudes, serious young men and sympathetic jocks to specializing in somewhat dour professionals. Often glowering impressively, he gives the impression of having gained painful knowledge from an eventful life. After his feature debut in "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" (1969), Casey continued to play supporting roles until the "blaxploitation" cycle provided his first leads. He played opposite Pam Grier in "Hit Man" (1972), as a righteously vengeful hood. As the romantic interest of the karate-chopping "Cleopatra Jones" (1973), Casey was the virtuous head of a ghetto halfway house while the well-intentioned but poorly executed biopic "Maurie/Big Mo" (1973) found him playing a paralyzed basketball star. Surprisingly, the improbably titled "Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde" (1975) afforded a strong role as a...

This imposing, dignified African-American actor set receiving records as a professional football player with the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams before segueing to film and TV work in the late 1960s and early 70s. Casey was better prepared for an acting career than most former athletes; he began studying acting with Jeff Corey as a 25-year-old. As he has aged, Casey has shifted from playing intense dudes, serious young men and sympathetic jocks to specializing in somewhat dour professionals. Often glowering impressively, he gives the impression of having gained painful knowledge from an eventful life.

After his feature debut in "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" (1969), Casey continued to play supporting roles until the "blaxploitation" cycle provided his first leads. He played opposite Pam Grier in "Hit Man" (1972), as a righteously vengeful hood. As the romantic interest of the karate-chopping "Cleopatra Jones" (1973), Casey was the virtuous head of a ghetto halfway house while the well-intentioned but poorly executed biopic "Maurie/Big Mo" (1973) found him playing a paralyzed basketball star. Surprisingly, the improbably titled "Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde" (1975) afforded a strong role as a well-to-do research scientist whose experiments transform him into an albino monster that preys on prostitutes in Watts.

Casey provided sturdy support in more mainstream fare, including Martin Scorsese's first studio effort, "Boxcar Bertha" (1972), Nicolas Roeg's "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976) and Burt Reynolds' "Sharkey's Machine" (1981). He was an impressive Felix Leiter to Sean Connery's James Bond in the zesty "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Also adept at comedy, Casey headed the tolerant all-black fraternity in "Revenge of the Nerds" (1983) and its subsequent made-for-TV sequels on the Fox network. He also proved formidable as the no-nonsense history teacher in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" (1989). A good sport, Casey parodied his earlier roles by playing a retired supercop in Keenan Ivory Wayan's hilarious send-up of "blaxploitation" movies, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1989). More recently, he has favored action and fantasy (e.g., "Another 48 Hours" 1990; "Under Siege" 1992; and "In the Mouth of Madness" 1995) for his mainstream Hollywood assignments while offering more subtle characterizations for worthy independent fare: the dedicated activist attorney in Charles Burnett's "The Glass Shield" and an upstanding member of a black rural community in the 40s South in Tim Reid's "Once Upon a Time. . . When We Were Colored" (both 1995).

Casey has also worked in TV since the beginning of his career. He was a football player in the acclaimed telepic "Brian's Song" (ABC, 1971), the head gargoyle in "Gargoyles" (CBS, 1972) and joined the all-star black ensembles of the miniseries "Roots: The next Generations" (ABC, 1979) and "The Sophisticated Gents" (NBC, 1991). In 1979, Casey starred in the short-lived "Harris and Company", reputedly one of TV's first attempts to portray black family life on a dramatic series. He continues to make occasional guest shots.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Dinner, The (1997) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Tomcats (2001) Hurley
5.
 Dinner, The (1997) Good Brother
7.
 In the Mouth of Madness (1995) Robinson
9.
 Glass Shield, The (1994) Locket
10.
 Cemetery Club, The (1993) John
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Columbus, OH
1968:
Retired from professional football after having set receiving records for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams
1969:
Screen acting debut, "The Guns of the Magnificent Seven"
1971:
TV-movie acting debut, "Brian's Song"
1972:
Played major supporting role in Martin Scorsese's "Boxcar Bertha"
1972:
First starring role, "Hit Man" (opposite Pam Grier)
1975:
Starred in the comedy-drama "Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde" in the dual roles of Dr. Pride and Mr. Hyde
1979:
TV series debut, starred as assembly line worker Mike Harris on "Harris and Company", one of TV's first black family drama series (aired for only a month)
1983:
Cast as a regular on "The Bay City Blues", a short-lived NBC drama about a minor-league baseball team
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Education

Bowling Green State University: Bowling Green , Ohio -
Bowling Green State University: Bowling Green , Ohio -

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