John Matuszak had a great career as a defensive lineman who played a large part of his career with the Raiders. The athlete grabbed two Super Bowls while he was at it. When his sports career dried up, Matuszak answered many calls from Hollywood agents to play a giant in various films. Unsurprisingly, the guy is built like a house.
His most iconic role, however, was as the Sloth in “The Goonies.” That face is unforgettable. But what could have been a fruitful film career was tragically ended when the actor’s life was ended at the young age of 38.
At his hometown college, North Dakota’s Minot State University, Josh Duhamel played quarterback for the Beavers while dreaming of an NFL career. He loved playing football but settled for acting. The truth is, after realizing he wasn’t good enough for the pros, he considered dentistry, but luckily, as fate would have it, he landed a modeling career that led to his Hollywood breakout in TV and film.
Transformers just would not have been the same without drop-dead, gorgeous knockout Duhamel. He’s taken! Duhamel married the love of his life, Black Eyed Peas popstar Stacy Ferguson.
Phil Robertson is dead serious about duck hunting. He raked in a fortune-making duck call device he invented himself—the Duck Commander. He grew up a burly outdoorsman in the rugged backcountry of Louisiana, hunting and playing sports at school. He was a sharpshooter with a powerful arm. His quarterbacking skills earned him a football scholarship to Louisiana Tech University, where he played the first-string quarterback for the Bulldogs.
When the Redskins tried to draft him, he turned them down. He couldn’t rationalize getting pummeled by large, aggressive dudes all year for only $60,000 (and miss duck season on top of it). It wasn’t worth it. Professional hunting became far more lucrative, especially after starring in the popular Duck Dynasty television series.
Mahershala Ali, short for Mahershalalhashbaz Ali Gilmore, played basketball before he played Remy. At St. Mary’s College, he was an imposing six-foot-three Division I basketball guard. Now he’s the first black actor and the first Muslim man to win two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. He won the first for his role as Juan in Moonlight and his second as Don Shirley in Green Book. Quite a feat! Both of the films won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In college, Ali found himself drawn more toward Shakespearean theatre than his basketball court performances. Born and raised a sports kid, Ali became disheartened with the culture of team life at the college level. His teammates were treated like cogs, he was threatened with being shipped to the University of Denver, and nothing mattered but wins and productivity. Added to that, Ali’s father died his junior year. The sad event routed him even more into a creative career.
He’s a martial arts champion with a master’s degree in chemical engineering. On top of that, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT. On the way to MIT, Dolph Lundgren was sidetracked into an acting career starring as arch-enemy Ivan Drago in the Rocky franchise. Lundgren was a Masters of the Universe and Universal Soldier action movie star too.
Fortune knocked quite a few times for this Swede. As an action film star, he performed his own stunts, obviously. Besides training in martial arts, he’s also a bodybuilder. Filming Rocky IV, when Sylvester Stallone told Lundgren to keep it real in the ring, Lundgren delivered a chest punch that laid Stallone up in the intensive care unit for four days with “all these nuns around,” according to the Rocky legend.