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Thread: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

  1. #1
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    Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    A number of actors pursued pro boxing careers. Some were pretty good; not great, but good.

    Tony Danza, who lore has it was discovered while working out in a boxing gym, had a 9-3 pro ledger beginning at age 28. He was great friends with Boom Boom Mancini with whom he has a passing resemblance.

    Going way back, Victor McLaghlan, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1935, was a very promising boxer as a young man, good enough to appear in main events at London's National Sporting Club, the British equivalent of headlining at Madison Square Garden. It has been written that McLaghlen was a booth fighter with a traveling circus and it is a fact that he lasted 6 rounds with reigning World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson, likely an exhibition.

    Remember Robert Conrad? Best known for the hit TV show "Wild Wild West," Conrad was a promising middleweight who left the sport with a 4-0-1 record.

    Movie tough guy Charles Bronson -- he was great as a Depression-era bare-knuckle fighter in "Hard Times" -- never boxed, but a contemporary from the same neck of the woods, Jack Palance, knew his way around the squared circle.

    Palance was purportedly undefeated in 15 "smokers" fighting in Pennsylvania coal mining towns. His only documented fight was a 4-round defeat at the hands of Joe Baksi, but there was no sin in that. Baksi grew into a leading heavyweight contender.

    Palance played the washed-up boxer Mountain McClintock in the original version of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," later a starring vehicle for Anthony Quinn. He's best remembered as the villain in the 1950 classic "Shane" and as the grizzled cowboy in the comedy "City Slickers." He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for that movie and celebrated on-stage with a demonstration of one-armed push-ups. He was then 73 years old.

    As you might surmise, Jack Palance was one of my favorite character actors. Two bits of trivia: He was the color commentator for the first Ali-Quarry fight, working alongside the famous New York Yankees announcer Mel Allen. Of Ukrainian descent, his birth name is Palahniuk.

    If that odd name sounds vaguely familiar, it's likely because you have heard of Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club," the cult novel that spawned the movie of the same name starring Edward Norton and Brat Pitt. Hmmmm....I wonder if they're related?

    Other actors who were good boxers? What about Mickey Rourke who compiled a 6-0-2 record in 4-round fights beginning at the age of 41? Nope. Unacceptable. Rourke's last pro bout was with Top Rank assistant matchmaker Sean Gibbons. That tells us all we need to know.

  2. #2
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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Wow! Imma bail outta this one because I literally know too many. Also, do you mean Big Screen Hollywood or the whole nine worldwide acting and bit parts in movies. FYI, probably the p4p greatest 25 of all times have appeared in flicks. Holla!

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Come on RG drop us some knowledge !

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    To add on to A-Kay , Randall 'Tex" Cobb

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Okay! Just a few. But not the movies. John L Sullivan, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Max Baer (not the son who play in "Beverly Hillbillies), Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Sonny Liston, Hank Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Richard Pryor, Fred Stanford, Ray. "Boom Boom" Mancini, Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, Manny Steward, Boone Kirkland, Ken Norton, GOAT Ali, Bert Sugar, Richard Steel, Lennox Lewis, the K-bros/docs, several of my uncles, cousins, me, Da Manny. And even the Commish has been in a movie or two. The list goes on and on.

    I wonder if the Commish will rat himself out. Holla!

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Radam -- I wasn't looking for boxers and ex-boxers who had bit parts in movies -- that would be a long, long list -- but, rather, boxers who were serious actors, defined as appearing in movies where that had a lot of lines to memorize. Randall "Tex" Cobb is a nice call KingBeef. He had a prominent role in the Coen Brothers' "Raising Arizona."

    Regarding Max Baer, he had the lead opposite screen star Myrna Loy in the 1933 MGM movie "The Prizefighter and the Lady" and his performance drew critical acclaim. The critics were amazed that such an unseasoned actor could perform his role so well. It's odd that Baer never built on this performance.

    I'm reminded of the great NFL running back Jim Brown. In the "Dirty Dozen" he stole the scene in every scene he was in and it was predicted that he would become America's first big African-American action hero, the black Schwarzenegger before there was Schwarzenegger.

    Brown went on to appear in a slew of movies, many in leading roles, but these were all forgettable, mostly low-budget movies and he never achieved his potential. Perhaps being an important actor just wasn't his bag.

    By the way Radam, I remember reading that Carlos Padilla -- the third man in the "Thrilla" -- was a big movie star in his native country. True or exaggerated?

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    I don't know how good a boxer he was but Victor McLagen [11 and 6, I think] went 6 rounds with Jack Johnson in an exhibition right after Johnson won the title ! He was probably a better actor, being nominated twice for an academy award and winning once !

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    It is more of an exaggeration. Just about every-and-any Pinoy who gets international fame will get some in-the-movies fame. Tio Los-Los was in the movies before he become famous by refereeing "The Thrilla in Manila" though. I had not checked into the world yet, so I'm a darn ear-witness and film-and-book witness. Hehehe!

    Now for Da Manny and "The Filipino Flash" Donaire(y), I'm in the loop. Both are awarding-winning actors in the P-Islands.

    Getting back to hollering at the mainland U.S.A. My boy Mark Breland is an award-winning actor. And my icons GOAT Ali and the late, great Kenny Norton were serious actors in the late 1970s and 80s. BTW, My boy Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and Uncle Kenny had starring roles in a movie together during the late 1980$.

    Other serious role-playing actors from boxing will be Red Foxx, Richard Pryor and Jack O'Halloran. Both Pryor and O'Halloran played villians in "Superman" movies. And, let us not forget Bob Hope, who is a boxer-turned super movie. Holla!
    Last edited by Radam G; 07-19-2014 at 11:16 PM.

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Regarding Bob Hope -- He supposedly fought professionally under the name Packy East. There is no record of it.

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    Re: Actors Who Were Good Boxers: How Many Can You Name?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArneK. View Post
    Regarding Bob Hope -- He supposedly fought professionally under the name Packy East. There is no record of it.
    I read that Dean Martin was also a boxer fighting under the name, Kid Crochet.

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