A professional football player who became a poet, painter and actor, with roles in films including “Revenge of the Nerds” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” has died. USA Today reports that Bernie Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles following a brief illness. He was 78.
Casey was a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in the NFL in the 1960s, making the Pro Bowl in 1967. After an eight-season pro career, he shifted gears, returning to college for a fine arts degree before launching an acting career.
He came to downplay his achievements on the gridiron, telling The Washington Post in 1977: “It was just a gig. But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china.”
Casey went on to a prolific career on film, including appearances in “Guns of the Magnificent Seven,” “Cleopatra Jones,” “Brian’s Song,” “Sharky’s Machine” and “Another 48 Hours.” On the small screen, he starred as Mike Harris in the short-lived NBC drama series “Harris and Company” in 1979 and had a long string of appearances on shows including “Cade’s County,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Police Story,” “L.A. Law,” Murder, She Wrote” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”