While he helped break the NFL’s color line in 1946 with the Los Angeles Rams, Strode is better remembered for his role as Draba, the Ethiopian gladiator, in the 1960 action-packed historical drama “Spartacus.”
Strode won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film and went on to appear in dozens of movies.
Here’s a sampling of other athletes that followed on the big screen:
Jim Brown: The former player for the Cleveland Browns went from being the NFL’s top running back to becoming Robert Jefferson in “The Dirty Dozen” in 1966.
Carl Weathers: You may know him best as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” film series, but before that, Weathers was a linebacker at San Diego State University and in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.
Strode was among the first black athletes to play major college football at UCLA in 1939, one of the first to reach the NFL and among the first to gain starring mainstream film roles.