Entertainment
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The Best Former Athletes Turned Actors

Updated June 14, 2019 8.5k votes 1.4k voters 17.8k views35 items

List RulesVote up the athletes-turned-actors who have had the best acting careers

You probably didn’t even know that some of your favorite actors got their start in the sports world! In fact, several athletes found a second career in film and television, thanks to their talent on and off the field. These athletes who became actors prove that they have star power no matter what industry they’re in.

From football players and pro skateboarders to soccer stars and basketball legends, plenty of athletes turned actors are shaking off the dumb jock stereotype and proving that they’ve got true emotional depth. Or at least a knack for comedic timing. Some went on to star in their own TV shows and movies, other played spot-on impressions of themselves on screen.

Who is the most famous athlete turned actor? Sean Connery is definitely one of them. The actor best known for playing James Bond was such a good soccer player that he was offered a position with Manchester United. He ultimately declined, saying, “I realized that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves."

Former professional skateboarder Jason Lee has starred in the hit TV show My Name is Earl. Carl Weathers appeared in the Rocky films and he also played a parody of himself in the series Arrested Development.

Are you surprised that there are so many actors who used to be athletes? Vote up the former sports stars who became the best athletic actors to ever grace the screen. Vote down the hacks who should have stuck to their first love.
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  • 1
    357
    102
    Rocky, Predator
    Professional football player, 1970-1974
  • 2
    313
    102
    Goldfinger, The Untouchables
    Bodybuilder and footballer
  • 3
    295
    97
    Forrest Gump, The Thing
    Professional baseball player
  • 4
    282
    100
    The Expendables 2, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
  • 5
    277
    118
    The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk
    Professional bodybuilder, 1969-1994
  • 6
    231
    113
    That's Entertainment!, Till the Clouds Roll By
    Competitive swimmer
  • 7
    193
    127
    Enter the Dragon, Limitless
  • 8
    180
    124
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Terminator
  • 9
    148
    99
    The Undefeated, Mitchell
    Professional football players, 1962-1976
  • 10
    138
    95
    The Princess Bride, Conan the Destroyer
    Professional wrestler, 1963-1992
  • 11
    142
    103
    Police Academy, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment
    Professional football player, 1967-1976
  • 12
    144
    108
    The Incredibles, Almost Famous
    Professional skateboarder
  • 13
    227
    190
    Fast & Furious 6, Fast Five
  • 14
    148
    122
    Wayne's World, Wreck-It Ralph
  • 15
    115
    101
    Predator, Batman & Robin
    Professional wrestler, 1975-1986
  • 16
    104
    90
    Rocky IV, The Expendables
  • 17
    109
    96
    From Dusk till Dawn, MASH
    Professional football player, 1960-1967
  • 18
    80
    88
    Blazing Saddles, Porky's
  • 19
    81
    89
    Mars Attacks!, Any Given Sunday
  • 20
    83
    99
    Robots, The Cannonball Run
  • 21
    73
    88
    Broken Arrow, 3000 Miles to Graceland
  • 22
    79
    97
    Crash, Don Jon
  • 23
    84
    111
    Space Jam, He Got Game
  • 24
    78
    109
    Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill
  • 25
    65
    91
    Major League, Major League II