Before some actors became famous they were really successful athletes, and that also made them better actors.Denzel Washington, Edward Norton, Ed O’Neill are very famous actors, but they also have something else in common, they were high-school sports stars.
But how is it possible for one person to have so much talent?! It is really extraordinary that these actors were able to dominate as the athletes, and then later to dominate on the big screen. For many of these actors, you had no idea that they were athletes!
Top 10 Actors Who Were Athletes
- Ed O’Neill
The two- time Golden Globe nominated actor was a real football star. The actor, who is best known for his role as Al Bundy, even won a scholarship to play at Ohio University. He played there for two years before transferring to Youngstown State University, where he played as a defensive lineman. Later, after college, Ed was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he was cut in training camp.
- Jason Statham
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver helped this guy to become one of the most popular action-movie stars. However, before he became popular as an actor, he was a diving star. He was a member of Britain’s National Diving Squad for twelve years. He even competed for England at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
- Edward Norton
The talented actor from Fight Club was a real start at Yale where he studied history. While at Yale, the Norton was a part of Yale’s rowing team, but a back injury forced his retirement from the crew. It was then that he tried his hand at theater.
- Kurt Russell
As a 20-year old Kurt Russell started his first season as a Minor League baseball player for the Class A Rainbows in 1971. But he was already known as an actor, and he tried to balance both his acting and baseball career. Despite his efforts, he abandoned baseball to pursue an acting career.
- Jackie Chan
The actor, who is best known for his acrobatic fighting style and comic timing, is also a martial artist. He earned a black belt in Hapkido and is also professionally trained in karate, judo, taekwondo and more.
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Did you know that most of THE ROCK’s family were professional wrestlers?! So, he could not escape from being a professional wrestler. But before pursuing his wrestling career he was a championship-winning college football player for the University of Miami.
- Denzel Washington
Years of playing basketball on a playground with future NBA stars Gus and Ray Williams got Denzel into Fordham’s basketball team for two years. But, was he a good player? His coach thought so, “He is a decent player. A legit basketball player.”
- Chuck Norris
The action star, Chuck Norris is equally admired for his martial arts career as he is his acting career. Chuck made history in 1990 when was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master. In 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition. At the age of 23, he became the youngest person ever to win the coveted Mr. Olympia title.
- Bruce Lee
The star of the Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee, was a legendary martial arts fighter, and founder of the martial art Jeet Kune Do. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. His hand strikes were so fast that the director had to adjust the speed of the film to accurately capture them.