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Bernie Casey, football star turned actor, dead at 78

(LOS ANGELES) — Bernie Casey, former NFL star turned actor who’s probably best-known for roles in Revenge of the Nerds, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, has died at age 78.

Variety and other sources report Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles.

A standout athlete, Casey was the ninth first-round NFL draft pick in 1961, and played wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and then the Los Angeles Rams over eight seasons, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1967.

Casey’s first film was a role in 1969’s Guns of the Magnificent Seven.  He went on to appear in dozens of films and TV shows, including staring in the 1989 Keenan Ivory Wayans blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, drawing on Casey’s own resume of appearing in genre films like Cleopatra JonesBlack Gunn, and Black Chariot.  His Sucka character, John Slade, had his own band following him on the street, playing his hero theme music.

Casey also appeared opposite Sean Connery in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again.  In addition to I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, he’s perhaps best remembered for playing fraternity head U.N. Jefferson in 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds, as as history teacher Mr. Ryan in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, five years later.  He also wrote, directed and starred in the 1997 film The Dinner

Casey’s last listed film credit, according to IMDB, was in 2007.  In addition to acting, Casey was a painter and poet.

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