Jim Brown, Renowned Football Player And Movie Star Dies

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, the greatest Cleveland Brown of all time and star in The Dirty Dozen, has passed away.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

Jim Brown in The Dirty Dozen

If you watched football in the late 50s or early 60s, you knew Jim Brown. The legendary Cleveland Browns running back completed his career holding the records for most rushing yards in a season, most rushing yards in a career, most rushing touchdowns, most total touchdowns, and most all-purpose yards. Now, after a long life that saw him make a successful transition from the NFL to HollywoodTMZ Sports reports that Brown died at the age of 87. 

Jim Brown was an NFL superstar practically from the moment he put on the Cleveland Browns uniform. He was the team’s first-round pick in the 1957 NFL draft and managed to set the NFL single-game record for most rushing yards in a game (273) that same year, which stood unmatched until Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers beat in 1965. No rookie bested Brown’s number until 1997, when Cincinnati Bengals running back Corey Dillon ran 246 yards.

Jim Brown started his movie career while still playing for the Browns, starring in the now-forgotten western 1964 Rio Conchos alongside Have Gun, Will Travel star Richard Boone. From there, he had two one-time appearances on TV, then appeared in his first notable film three years later — MGM‘s classic 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen. In it, Brown played Robert T. Jefferson, one of the titular 12 convicts sent to assassinate German officers ahead of D-Day. 

The filming of The Dirty Dozen caused Jim Brown to miss the Cleveland Brown training camp, so Brown decided to quit football rather than face the threatened $1,500 weekly fine. His gambit paid off, and he became a prolific actor, gaining his first leading role just a year later in the 1968 heist film The Split. In it, he plays the mastermind of a successful heist that turns sour after his ex-wife’s landlord kills her and makes off with the cash.

Jim Brown in Mars Attacks

While The Split didn’t perform particularly well, it didn’t slow down Jim Brown’s acting career. Over the next 46 years, Brown went on to appear in more than 50 movies and TV shows. His extensive filmography includes the dystopian Arnold Schwarzenegger Sci-Fi The Running Man, the violent Tim Burton sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks, and the Oliver Stone sports drama Any Given Sunday.

Fittingly, Jim Brown’s last movie brought him back to the NFL, appearing as himself in the 2014 sports drama Draft Day. Unfortunately, the film was a box office flop, with many critics criticizing the movie as being nothing more than an infomercial for the football league. It received mixed reviews, with a 60% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Jim Brown died on May 18, 2023, in his home in Los Angeles. Brown is survived by his wife, Monique Brown, and his six children, Kimberly, Aris, Morgan, Karen, and Jim Jr. He leaves a legacy of being one of the most successful football players of all time, with NFL Network ranking him as the second-greatest players in history, just behind San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.