Jim Brown, an NFL legend, actor and social activist, died peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Thursday night with his wife, Monique, by his side, according to a family spokesperson. He was 87 years old.
In eight of his nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Brown led the league in rushing. Before his sudden retirement in 1965, he played 118 consecutive games, winning the Most Valuable Player award.
In 1964, Brown led the Browns to their last championship before quitting football at age 30 to make movies. In addition to "Any Given Sunday" and "The Dirty Dozen," he appeared in more than 30 films.
There was no one on the field like Brown, who would blast through tacklers, refusing to be tackled before sprinting away from linebackers and defensive backs. His stiff arm also helped him shed defenders in the open field or push them away like rag dolls.
Brown was a contentious and complicated personality off the field as well.
Using his platform and voice, Brown fought for equality for Black Americans.
Brown organized "The Cleveland Summit," a meeting of top Black athletes in June 1967 to support boxer Muhammad Ali's opposition to Vietnam service, including Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In 1988, he founded Amer-I-Can, a program to assist disadvantaged inner-city youth and ex-convicts affected by gang violence.
Brown is survived by his wife and son, Aris; daughter, Morgan, son, Jim Jr.; daughter, Kimberly; son, Kevin; daughter, Shellee; and daughter, Kim.