Bernie Casey, pro football player turned actor, dies


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bernie Casey, a professional football player turned poet, painter and actor known for parts in films such as "Revenge of the Nerds" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," has died. He was 78.

Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief illness, his talent agent Erin Connor said.

Born in West Virginia in 1939 and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Casey excelled in track and field and football and attended Bowling Green State University on an athletic scholarship.

He went on to play wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams before going back to his alma mater to get a master's degree in fine arts.

For Casey, the arts always came first. He painted and published books of poetry, but the football association that he viewed as a stepping stone followed him.

"It was just a gig," he told the Washington Post in 1977 about football. "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."

His art in particular captivated many famous minds, including Maya Angelou.

"His art makes my road less rocky, and my path less crooked," Angelou said of a 2003 exhibit of his works.

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