Jim Brown, NFL Hall of Famer and civil rights activist turned successful actor, died Thursday, May 18 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87 years old.
In a statement on Instagram, his wife Monique said Brown passed away peacefully. She did not reveal her cause of death.
“It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of my husband,” Monique Brown wrote on Instagram. “To the world he was an activist, actor and football star. To our family he was a loving and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Our hearts are broken…”
Brown was widely considered the greatest running back in professional football history.
After retiring from the NFL, he turned to acting and landed roles in television shows, including I spy, CHiPs, A-Team, And TJ Hooker. He also had roles in films such as The Dirty Dozen (1967), Slaughter (1972), and Martian attacks! (1996). He was the first black actor to star in an interracial love scene in a major Hollywood film. The scene with Raquel Welch was shown in the 1969 western 100 guns.
More recently, Brown had a role in the 2014 draft day.
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During his NFL career, he played for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965.
On Friday, the team posted a tribute to Brown on Twitter.
“Jim Brown forever. Legend. Leader. Activist. Visionary,” the team tweeted. “It is impossible to describe the deep love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world. Our hearts go out to Jim’s family, loved ones and everyone he touched along the way.
NFL legend Emmitt Smith tweeted“My heart sinks at this very moment after learning of the passing of Jim Brown. He is and has been a true legend in the sport and in the community using his platform to help others. Thank you King,”
Former President Barack Obama writing on Twitter, “I was too young to remember Jim Brown’s playing days, but I knew his legacy. One of the greatest football players of all time, he was also an actor and activist – s speaking out on civil rights and urging other black athletes to do the same. Our hearts go out to Jim’s wife, Monique, his children and all who knew and admired him.
While Brown had a busy athletic career, her accomplishments were overshadowed by domestic violence.
In 1999 he was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats against his wife Monique Brown. Later that year he was convicted of vandalism for smashing his wife’s car with a shovel. He was sentenced to three years probation, one year of domestic violence counseling, 400 hours of community service and an $1,800 fine. Brown ignored the sentence and in 2000 was sentenced to six months in prison, which he began serving in 2002.
The 2022 A&E Documentary Series Secrets of Playboy Brown alleged had a “history” of abusing women at the Playboy mansion.
Hugh Hefner’s former valet, Stefan Tetenbaum, was interviewed for the series and said the NFL star was notorious at the mansion.
“[Brown] always abused different playmates. I observed it. A lot of people witnessed it,” Tetenbaum said.
“He would bully those girls,” Tetenbaum added. “He broke his ribs, he dislocated his jaws, but nobody was going to come forward because nobody wanted Hefner to come after you – or Jim Brown [to come afer you].”
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