Family & Companions
Brian Bosworth made a name for himself during the 1980s as one of the bad boys of football. In interviews, he described himself as an entertainer, and his brash, punk persona seemed to have been cultivated with that in mind. Fortunately for "The Boz," he was also a terrific inside linebacker and a two-time winner of the Butkus Award. He distinguished himself to such an extent while a member of the Oklahoma Sooners, that Bosworth was the Seattle Seahawks' number one draft pick. He accepted a then record $11 million offer from that National Football League team, making one of the splashiest professional sports debuts seen up to that time.
Brian Keith Bosworth was born in Oklahoma City, OK on March 9, 1965. Interested in football from a young age, the 6'2" Bosworth had become a formidable opponent by the time he graduated from MacArthur High School in Irving, TX. He attended Oklahoma University and quickly distinguished himself on the school's football team, the Oklahoma Sooners. Bosworth won the Butkus Award as America's premiere linebacker on two occasions and was hailed for his tackling abilities, but earned almost as much ink for his hairstyles - particularly a bleached blond Mohawk -and constant criticism of the National College Athletic Association. That war of words with the league intensified when Bosworth was banned from playing in the 1987 Orange Bowl following a drug test that revealed the presence of anabolic steroids in his system. The football star argued to no avail that the drug had been administered to him by a physician and had simply not cleared his system in time for the test. When Bosworth displayed his displeasure with the NCAA from the sidelines by wearing a shirt saying "National Communists Against Athletes," it was deemed one misstep too many and he was booted off the team.
For all of his bombast and questionable choices, Bosworth delivered during his time in Oklahoma and also displayed similar tenacity off the field with an academic performance that put to rest any suggestion he was being carried by the university. Whatever negative impressions Bosworth's dismissal generated proved short-lived and had no serious effect on his professional prospects. With that impressive college record, Bosworth was in great demand among NFL teams and was chosen as a first round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks. In 1987, Bosworth signed a 10-year, $11 million contract with the team, the highest ever for a rookie. He was flying high and so published a tongue-in-cheek autobiography, titled The Boz (1988), in which he made claims of drug use and other excesses by Sooner team members. However, football took a major toil on his body and Bosworth's shoulders soon proved to be his undoing. His right shoulder had already been problematic and issues with the left one eventually rendered him unable to perform. After consultation, the Seahawks decided Bosworth's health situation was too risky from a legal standpoint to keep him on the field. After lengthy build-up as one of the most promising players to come along in years, the 24-year-old's pro career was over after a mere 24 games spread out over three seasons.
After laser surgery and therapy helped to make him more physically functional, Bosworth's ongoing relationship with agent Gary Wichard - later cited by Cameron Crowe as one of the inspirations for his 1996 hit film "Jerry Maguire" - helped him segue into a new arena. Former NFL football stars like Jim Brown and Fred Williamson were able to move on to successful big screen careers and with his good looks and larger-than-life persona, Bosworth seemed like a natural as an action hero. He was granted the starring role in his first feature, "Stone Cold" (1991), which cast him as a tough undercover cop assigned to infiltrate an especially dangerous motorcycle gang. While hardly monumental, the film offered some entertaining scenes - including a now famous bit where Bosworth's character used a motorcycle to bring down a helicopter - and colorfully over-the-top performances by veteran character actors Lance Henriksen and William Forsythe as the villains. While "Stone Cold" garnered a reasonable amount of pre-release publicity, it failed to draw many patrons upon its opening in May 1991, grossing only slightly more than half of its production cost. The film was also a difficult experience for its star from a physical standpoint as Bosworth's shoulders required frequent therapy treatment.
While it made up for some of it losses in other markets, the theatrical failure of "Stone Cold" relegated Bosworth to the direct-to-video sidelines after just one movie. While they offered occasional moments of low-rent entertainment, films like "One Man's Justice" (1996), "Blackout" (1996), "Virus" (1996) and "Back in Business" (1997) made little impression. Television called, however, and Bosworth was granted his own action series, "Lawless" (Fox, 1997), playing the title role of detective John Lawless. Unfortunately, the show was so poorly received that it was removed after only a single episode had aired. Thus, after undertaking a minor role in David O. Russell's "Three Kings" (1997), it was back to the DTV minors for Bosworth with "The Operative" (2000), "Mach 2" (2001), and "Phase IV" (2002), plus guest appearances on "Nash Bridges" (CBS, 1996-2001) and "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-2012), and a stint as a commentator for the short-lived XFL Football league. No longer in play as a leading man, Bosworth essayed small parts in the Adam Sandler remake of "The Longest Yard" (2005), the comedy "Rock Slyde: Private Eye" (2009), and the family movie "Down and Distance" (2010). In 2009, Bosworth was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and was required to lecture high school students about his crime as part of court ordered community service duties.
By John Charles
Cast (Feature Film)
Banned from playing in the Orange Bowl game for taking steroids
Announced retirement from football due to shoulder injuries after less than three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks
Feature film debut in "Stone Cold"
Starred as Ken Fairchild in his second feature, "Virus", about a chemial spill that poisons American waters and endangers its citizens; directed by Allan A Goldstein
Portrayed John North, tough army drill sergeant who takes to the streets to avenge the brutal murders of his wife and daughter in the HBO movie "One Man's Justice"
Reteamed with Goldstein for HBO movie "Black Out"
Starred as John Lawless in extremely short-lived (one episode) Fox action series "Lawless"
Played a cop in third HBO film, "Back in Business"
Appeared in David O. Russell's "Three Kings"
Played a Guard in the remake of "The Longest Yard"