Bernie Casey, a retired professional football player turned actor, director, poet, and painter has passed away at the age of 78.
According to Casey’s talent agent, Erin Connor, the actor died peacefully in his sleep after succumbing to an illness he just recently suffered. He died on Tuesday, surrounded by his loved ones, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Bernard Casey was born in Wyco, West Virginia. In his youth, Casey displayed his athletic skills by excelling in track and field. He was a student-athlete and played for Bowling Green State University. The young athlete was then drafted by San Francisco 49ers in 1961.
Casey played for a total of eight NFL seasons as he also played for two seasons for the Los Angeles Rams after playing for the 49ers for six seasons. He unexpectedly retired during his athletic prime and is reportedly to focus on acting.
The retired football player began his acting career in the film Guns of the Magnificent Seven. He also starred opposite Jim Brown, a fellow retired NFL player, in...tick…tick…tick… and Black Gunn.
Casey is best known for his role in the comedic film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka wherein he played a version of himself and other football players turned actors.
The actor starred in Cleopatra Jones as he played Tamara Dobson’s love interest. In 1972, he was also the title character in the film Hit Man wherein he played an Oakland hitman who investigated his brother’s death.
Casey portrayed paralyzed basketball star, Maurice Stokes, in Maurie. In 1975, the actor played a cop in Cornbread, Earl and Me. He also appeared in The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
In 1994, Casey guest-starred in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the Maquis leader Lieutenant Commander Cal Hudson.
Casey wrote, directed, acted in and produced The Dinner.
Aside from being an athlete and an actor, Casey also took interest in painting and poetry. In 1969, Look at the People, his book about paintings and poems was published by Doubleday.
Casey’s works will always be remembered, not only by his loved ones but also by everyone.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]