God Awful: Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding. Some may argue that Arnie's God given talent made him one of the most successful action stars in movie history. But honestly, isn’t that all about effects? If the acting talent was God given, he would actually convince me that he was an American agent (which he often seems to play). But hearing that Austrian accent, I couldn’t buy it. He even played the terminating robot from the future that was advanced in everything. Well, everything but the English language. At least Lou Ferrigno knew that grunting alone would get him by, and left all the speaking parts to Bill Bixby. Arnold was last seen playing the role of a high ranking politician for the State of California, despite alleged Nazi ties. Not bad.
God Given: Ed Marinaro, Minnesota Vikings. Marinaro went from running through NFL holes to patrolling the streets in “Hill Street Blues”. He was the first running back in NCAA history to amass 4000 rushing yards, and is a college football Hall of Fame inductee. Ed twice made Superbowl appearances with the Vikes, but Emmy awards were the trophies he brought home.
God Awful: Alex Karras, Detroit Lions. I won’t give credit to someone for playing a television husband, when his co-star is his “real life” wife. Any married couple will match you in portraying the “non-stop happy couple”, because it’s a role they adopt for public viewing each day. Plus, we all know the majority of acting for married couples comes in the bedroom, and they didn’t have any of those scenes in “Webster”. I’m also not giving credit for a series about a White couple adopting an extremely undersized African American youth, because “Different Strokes” had already beat you to it.
God Given: Dean Cain (Dean George Tanaka), Buffalo Bills. Cain is so much better at acting that most don’t realize that before he was Superman in TV’s “Lois & Clark”, he was a Superman in the Ivy League. As a Princeton Safety, Cain set an Ivy League record, with 12 interceptions in a season. And though he signed with the Buffalo Bills, his career was cut short by a knee injury. Who would have known that our on screen Superman was weak in the knees?
God Awful: Penny Hardaway, Orlando Magic. The doll, “Little Penny”, had more on screen draw than the living version. Hardaway played opposite Shaquille O’Neil and Nick Nolte in “Blue Chips”. He wasn’t very convincing as a High School player that got pimped into selecting a college, and wanted a new job and house for his mom. If there was a modern re-cast, I think Southern Cal’s O.J Mayo would be perfect for the role.
God Given: Carl Weathers, Oakland Raiders. Weathers receives props for his ability to portray several roles. He’s a victim of the “Predator”, but more noted as boxing champ, Apollo Creed, of “Rocky” fame. Though his career with the Raiders was brief, it leaves me wondering which past champion is more likely to win another title first, the Raiders or Creed in Rocky XX. I’ll put my money on Creed.
God Awful: Dennis Rodman, NBA. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but it was hard for me to take Dennis Rodman seriously in a bad boy role. How can I not take this NBA bad boy seriously? It’s easy. He once paraded around in a wedding dress. If I’m in the movie “Double Team”, and Dennis Rodman is pursuing me, I’m not reaching for a weapon, as much as I’m preparing to throw rice.
God Given: Burt Reynolds, Florida State Seminoles. The name Burt Reynolds is totally Hollywood, but few know that he was a great half back that went to Florida State on a football scholarship. Reynolds possessed great football potential, but torn cartilage in his knee that was worsened by his trying to play with it for several games, made short his career in sports. Another gridiron loss became a Hollywood gain, as Reynolds went on to put together an incredible acting resume.
God Awful: Lester Speight, USFL, Wrestling. Speight had pro football ambitions. But unfortunate for him, the USFL folded, before he could ever establish himself. Rejected by the NFL, he entered the world of wrestling as “Rasta the Voodoo Man”. He broke into Hollywood with sparing roles here and there, and I last remember him from “My wife and kids”. But what he’s most recognized for is a television commercial, which says a lot about his acting. Most may scratch their heads when I say his real name, but if I say Terry Tate the office linebacker, suddenly he’s recognizable.
God Given: Merlin Olsen, Los Angeles Rams. Olson is inducted into both the Pro and college football Halls of Fame. He made up a quarter of the Rams’ touted “fearsome foursome”, and was just a beast on the field. And then, after hanging up his cleats, he played a gentle giant on “Little House on the Prairie”. He also played the role of a priest in “Father Murphy”. Unlike other former football players that may be typecast for their size or reputation, Olsen was able to pick up a script and be a character opposite of the one he brought to his sport. For that, I’ll give him the “God given” label.