Many celebrities were sports stars before their acting careers began. The experience gained on the sports field helped them a lot in their new business. Meta.reviews tell you about famous actors who started out as athletes.
1. Dwayne The Rock Johnson
Before Johnson rose to fame as the hardest working man in Hollywood, he shined as a member of the Miami Hurricanes. Dwayne played defensive tackle and was part of the 1991 team that won the national title.
Of course, American football was not the only sport Johnson played. Under the pseudonym The Rock, he became one of WWE’s greatest stars and then used his charisma in acting.
The Rock made his big-screen debut in the fantasy action film The Scorpion King and instantly became a superstar. Today, Dwayne is starring in films of all different genres, from the comedy Tooth Fairy and the pseudo-historical Hercules to the thrilling Fast and Furious and action movies.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger made a name for himself as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He became Mr. Olympia several years in a row before he made his way to Hollywood Olympus. The future actor won many bodybuilding titles throughout his athletic career. Including winning the Mr. Universe contest when he was just 20 years old.
His charisma and athletic physique helped him become a screen star and star in such films as Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, and many others.
But conquering Hollywood and the worlds of bodybuilding wasn’t enough for Arnold. Schwarzenegger was governor of California from 2003 to 2011.
3. Terry Crews
Before Crews became an actor in such films as Friday After Next, The Expendables, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it looked like he would have a terrific career in American football.
Crews played as a defensive end at Western Michigan University. He helped the Broncos win the conference title before being selected by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991. At 6’9″ and 111 pounds, the future actor appeared in 32 NFL games, playing for the Rams, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and Philadelphia Eagles. Crews also played briefly for the Rhein Fire in the WLAF before moving on to acting.
Terry also became the face of the Old Spice beauty products brand, starring in a series of commercials and showing off his muscles.
4. Jason Statham
Statham has established himself as one of Hollywood’s toughest guys. But before he started starring in action movies, the Transporter star was a member of the British National Swimming team for 12 years.
In the late 1990s, Statham took part in Tommy Hilfiger jeans commercials and then became the face of the brand. After some time, the owner of the company, which Jason represented as a model, became the producer of the debut film by Guy Ritchie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and offered the director Statham’s candidacy for one of the roles. Thus began Jason’s acting career, which continues to this day.
5. Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel is known for his appearances on All My Children and Las Vegas as well as starring roles in When in Rome, Life As We Know It, Safe Haven, and Transformers, but he also played quarterback for Division II of Maynott State. Duhamel played two years for the Beavers, putting up 1,242 passing yards, and 11 interceptions in 21 games.
Sports were not Josh’s main passion. In 1997, he was named Male Model of the Year by the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA), opening his way to Hollywood.
6. Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon has played in a variety of films since the early 1970s. Thanks to his role in St. Elsewhere in 1986 he was named People’s first-ever Sexiest Man Alive. He also played Secret Service Special Agent Simon Donovan in The West Wing and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002.
But before his acting career, Harmon was fond of American football while still in college. Mark played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins for two years. In his last year of college, Harmon received the NFF Gold Medal.
7. Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker is the fourth African-American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He won the award for his role as the president of Uganda, General Idi Amin, in The Last King of Scotland.
But before starting his acting career, he attended California State Polytechnic University on a football scholarship. Whitaker played as a quarterback in high school, but a serious spinal injury in college ended his football career and pushed him into acting.
Whitaker’s debut film role combined football and his new profession. He played a formidable defender in the comedy classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
8. Vinnie Jones
Vinnie Jones first appeared on screen as a tough guy in Guy Ritchie’s classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. With his tall stature, good physical shape, and reputation as a formidable guy, Jones fitted perfectly into the image of Big Chris. For this role and his role as Bullet-Tooth Tony in Guy Ritchie’s next film Snatch, Jones received several awards and a considerable amount of positive reviews from British critics.
But before starting his film career, the English actor played football for almost 10 years, playing for teams such as Chelsea, Leeds United, Sheffield United, and Queens Park Rangers. Jones is primarily known for his performances for Wimbledon. He played over 200 matches for the club and was part of the Crazy Gang era. Then the team won the 1988 FA Cup, demonstrating a daring and tough game.
9. Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee attended Harvard University and played for the Crimson football team before becoming an Academy Award-winning actor. The future star of No Country for Old Men, The Fugitive and Men in Black was a quarterback on Harvard’s 1968 undefeated football team, about which a documentary was later made.
Jones began acting in films in 1970, debuting in Love Story, and his career continues to this day.
10. Matthew Fox
Before being stranded on the mysterious island in Lost, Fox played college football for Columbia University.
The Columbia Lions weren’t very good at the time (the team had a 35-game losing streak in 1984), but Fox continued to play for the club for four years.
After graduating from university, Matthew began to work as a photo model, and in 1992 made his debut on television in the series Wings.