One of the first and most successful professional athletes to transition into the acting profession, Bernie Casey was born in Wyco, West Virginia in 1939. He excelled in football and track and field at Bowling Green State University, where he won three consecutive Mid-American Conference titles in the high-hurdles. After being drafted by the NFL in 1961, Casey played for six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and for two with the Los Angeles Rams, finishing in the top ten NFL receivers four times over the course of his career. Casey was also an avid artist, studying painting in college. He would grow as an artist, especially after retiring from football in 1968, and hosted several prestigious exhibitions of his work. Casey also began taking an interest in drama, and pursued acting jobs following his NFL retirement. He appeared in the thriller "...tick...tick...tick.." (1970) in 1970, and in Martin Scorsese's "Boxcar Bertha" (1973) two years later. After appearing alongside David Bowie in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976), Casey was cast to play the longstanding role of American agent Felix Leiter in the Bond film "Never Say Never Again" (1983). An even more memorable role for Casey would come the following year, when he played the president of the Lamba Lamba Lamba fraternity in the smash comedy hit "Revenge of the Nerds" (1984). Following a memorable turn as John Slade in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988) and an appearance in the action blockbuster "Under Siege" (1992), Casey stepped behind the camera to write, produce, and direct the film "The Dinner" (1997), which featured African-American men discussing issues of racism in American society over the dinner table. The thought provoking film was perceived as something of a departure by some, but those familiar with Casey's reflective mind were not at all surprised-he did publish two books of poetry, after all. Casey's final film appearance was in a film directed by legendary actor and filmmaker Fred Williamson, the horror romp "Vegas Vampires" (2007). Bernie Casey died on September 19, 2017. He was 78 years old.
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Retired from professional football after having set receiving records for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams
Made screen-acting debut in "The Guns of the Magnificent Seven"
Made TV-movie acting debut in "Brian's Song"
Played Von Morton in the Martin Scorsese film "Boxcar Bertha."
Had first starring role in "Hit Man," opposite Pam Grier
Starred in the comedy-drama "Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde" in the dual roles of Dr. Pride and Mr. Hyde
Made TV series debut as assembly line worker Mike Harris on "Harris and Company", one of TV's first black family drama series (aired for only a month)
Cast as a regular on "The Bay City Blues", a short-lived NBC drama about a minor-league baseball team
Played U.N. Jefferson, president of the Lamba Lamba Lamba fraternity in the massively successful "Revenge of the Nerds."
Cast as Colonel Rhumbus in "Spies Like Us"
Played John Slade in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka."
Had a small-but-memorable role in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"
Appeared on an episode of "Murder, She Wrote"
Cast in "48 Hrs." sequel "Another 48 Hrs."
Reprised John Slade role in "Hammer, Slammer, & Slade"
Returned to the "Nerds" franchise for "Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation"
Co-starred in the action hit "Under Siege."
Had a guest role on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"
Reprised U.N. Jefferson role yet again for "Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love"
Cast as Mr. Walter in the drama "Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored"
Voiced Tyrus Block on an episode of "Batman Beyond"
Co-starred with Ice T and Gary Busey in action flick "On the Edge"
Co-starred in the Fred Williamson directed horror film "Vegas Vampires."