Having been the first man to hold the gold belt in both the WCW and WWE, professional wrestler Bill Goldberg remained one of sports-entertainment's most popular figures. Born on Dec. 27, 1966 in Tulsa, OK, Goldberg was raised in an observant Jewish home by his father, Jed, a Harvard-educated obstetrician and gynecologist, and his mother, Ethel, a classical violinist. After graduating Tulsa Edison High School in 1985, he was one of the most sought-after recruits for college football, eventually going on to play defensive end at the University of Georgia, where he was named All-Southeastern Conference twice and second team All-American once. By the time he graduated in 1989, Goldberg was seventh all-time on Georgia's career tackle list and sixth on their career sack list. Though he too small by NFL standards, he was nonetheless drafted in the 11th round by the then-Los Angeles Rams, only to find himself consigned to the practice squad for the season. In 1992, he was on the roster with the Atlanta Falcons, with whom he played a total of 14 games over the next three seasons. After being cut by the Falcons, he was selected by the newly-minted Carolina Panthers in the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft, only to suffer an abdominal injury that ended his career for good.
Following his NFL career, Goldberg began working as a personal trainer at an Atlanta gym. A few professional wrestlers worked out at the gym and convinced him to try out at the World Championship Wrestling's nearby training center. Establishing himself as one of wrestling's "good guys," he quickly moved up the ranks, thanks to his immediate popularity with fans, which resulted in a long winning streak and a United States Heavyweight Championship after he defeated arch-villain Raven on a 1998 edition of "WCW Monday Nitro" (TNT, 1995-2001). Later that year, he defeated Hollywood Hogan - Hulk Hogan-turned-villain - on an episode of the same show, which gave him his first World Heavyweight Championship. After 173 straight victories, Goldberg finally lost a match when he relinquished his title to bad guy, Kevin Nash. But he regained his title the following year, which he followed by filming his first movie, "Universal Soldier: The Return" (1999). Also that year, he appeared in "The Jesse Ventura Story" (NBC, 1999), which chronicled the wrestler's rise to become the governor of Minnesota, while he continued wrestling until the WCW was sold to the WWE in 2001.
The following year, when his original contract expired, Goldberg joined the All Japan Pro Wrestling circuit until 2003, when his success garnered interest from the WWE. He fought villain Triple H several times until winning the World Heavyweight Championship at the sixth-annual Unforgiven, a pay-per-view wrestling event not unlike Wrestlemania. But he gave up the title to Triple H later that year before eventually leaving the sport all together in 2005 following his victorious appearance at Wrestlemania XX. Meanwhile, he continued his acting career, appearing in the animated-live action combo, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003), which he followed by portraying one of the inmate football players in the Adam Sandler remake of "The Longest Yard" (2005). Goldberg followed up with a season one appearance on the reality series, "Pros vs. Joes" (Spike TV, 2006-10) and an guest starring turn as an inmate on an episode of "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12). Following an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ), he hosted "Bullrun" (Spike TV, 2007), a reality series that followed 12 teams competing on a 4,000-mile, 18-day road rally. In 2010, he joined the likes of Sinbad, Cyndi Lauper, Sharon Osbourne and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich on "Celebrity Apprentice" (NBC, 2004- ).