Willie Strode – Athlete, Actor, & War Veteran

Alpha Delta Initiate 1940

Helped break NFL Color Barrier – see ESPN Article

Woody Strode.gif

Woodrow Wilson Woolwine “Woody” Strode (July 25, 1914 – December 31, 1994) (pronounced strowd, as in crowd) was adecathlete and football star who went on to become a popular and pioneering African-American film actor. He was nominated for aGolden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Spartacus in 1960. He served in the United States Army during World War II.

Strode was born in Los Angeles, California. He attended Garfield Senior High School in East Los Angeles and college at UCLA, where he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. His world-class decathlon capabilities were spearheaded by a 50 ft (15 m) plus shot put(when the world record was 57 ft (17 m)) and a 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) high jump (the world record at time was 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)). Strode posed for a nude portrait, part of Hubert Stowitts‘s acclaimed exhibition of athletic portraits shown at the 1936 Berlin Olympics(although the inclusion of black and Jewish athletes caused the Nazis to close the exhibit).[1]

Strode, Kenny Washington and Jackie Robinson starred on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team, in which they made up three of the four backfield players.[2] Along with Ray Bartlett, there were four African-Americans playing for the Bruins, when only a few dozen at all played on other college football teams.[3] They played eventual conference and national champion USC to a 0–0 tie with the 1940 Rose Bowl on the line. It was the first UCLA–USC rivalry football game with national implications.

Strode and fellow UCLA alumnus Kenny Washington were two of the first African-Americans to play in major college programs and later the modern National Football League, playing for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946. No black men had played in the NFL from 1933 to 1946.[4] UCLA teammate Jackie Robinson would go on to break the color barrier in Major League baseball (in fact, all three had played in the semi-professional Pacific Coast Professional Football League earlier in the decade). He played for two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the Western Interprovincial Football Union in Canada, where he was a member of Calgary’s 1948Grey Cup Championship team[5] before retiring due to injury in 1949.

Woody Strode Picture

Wikipedia page

 IMDB Page

 

Filmography