Posts tagged ‘Rosey Grier’
USA Today has a sweet story online about the death on Monday of Deacon Jones, one of the L.A. Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” of the 1960s. The story extensively quotes Rosey Grier ’56, who is now the sole living member of that foursome.
“It was a heavy blow for me, like losing a family member,” Grier says of Jones’ death. “We four were family.” Which may seem obvious—but, as the article points out, it was an unusual family for its time: three blacks and a white Mormon. Says Grier: “The four of us set out to prove that it wasn’t about the color of the man, it was about the desire of each individual to work together as a team.”
Something interesting I learned from the story: Despite his nickname, Deacon Jones was not a particularly religious man. It was Grier who encouraged him—even as recently as three weeks ago—to get in touch with his spiritual side.
(We did a cover story on Rosey Grier two years ago; you can read it here.)
Tina Hay, editor
Remember the July/August 2011 issue featuring Rosey Grier ’56 H&HD?
The cover shot was a play on Rosey’s Forrest Gump-like ubiquity in American history. From a friend to Jackie and Robert Kennedy in the 1960s, to a frequent guest star in ’70s sitcoms, to a player in the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-’90s, Rosey just seems to pop up everywhere.
So it shouldn’t have surprised me, really, when Rosey’s name surfaced in a Wired magazine feature I read yesterday afternoon. The story explains the unlikely way the CIA helped smuggle six American embassy workers out of Iran in 1980. The plan was fascinatingly elaborate; the Americans were disguised as a Canadian film crew for a fictional production company, supposedly scouting out locations in Tehran for a fake sci-fi flick. It’s the true story behind Ben Affleck’s new movie, Argo, which opens today.
Where does Rosey Grier fit in? Well, the escape plan was so detailed that the fake movie required a real script. A Hollywood makeup artist hired by the CIA suggested a project he’d been approached about months earlier — a big-budget adaptation of a zany fantasy novel called Lord of Light, complete with robots, spaceships, and levitating cars. One of the film’s prospective stars: Rosey Grier.
The real movie fizzled out during the production stage in 1979, but the script, with its painstakingly detailed scenes and concept drawings, was a perfect candidate for the CIA’s ruse.
Makes me wonder if Rosey’s name comes up in Argo. Planning to see the movie this weekend? Let us know if Rosey gets a mention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
Less than three weeks before THON 2012 kicks off at the Bryce Jordan Center, the LA chapter of the Alumni Association hosted an abbreviated version of the dance marathon yesterday in Hollywood. Held at the historic Avalon Theater, “Lights. Camera. Cure.” was a six-hour dance party to support the Four Diamonds Fund for pediatric cancer. The event raised a total of $37,411.40.
And because no Hollywood party would be complete without a celebrity sighting, Rosey Grier ’56 stopped by—and posed for photos on the pre-show red carpet.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
A terrific profile of a former football star who has befriended political luminaries and dabbled in music, acting, and needlepoint over the course of a remarkable public life—no, we’re not surprised that our cover story on Rosey Grier ’56 has generated so much attention. As such, we figured we’d make an exception and post that story (written by Michael Weinreb ’94) online in its entirety. Those who haven’t already read it (or just want to share it with a friend) can find a PDF here. Enjoy.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
If you’ve not received your July/August issue yet, rest assured it’s going to be in your mailbox soon, just in time for the summer reading season. And there’s a little something for everyone in this issue, including references to the Jonas Brothers and to zombie ants.
I’d like to call attention to an excerpt from the new book by Diane Ackerman ’70, One Hundred Names for Love. It’s a chronicle of how her husband, novelist and former Penn State professor Paul West, recovered from a stroke, but it’s also a beautiful, compelling love story.
If you’ve read any of Ackerman’s previous work, (I recommend A Brief History of the Senses), you’ll know her lyrical, poetic style. I read the entire book while deciding what we’d like to excerpt in the magazine, and it was not a easy decision to make. Plus, I teared up several times.
In this interview with Ackerman, who spoke to Katty Kay on The Diane Rehm Show, lots of speech language pathologists and relatives of stroke victims call in; it’s a fascinating hour.
In this issue, you’ll also find:
—Beautiful photos that Tina Hay took during the Alumni Association’s trip to Turkey.
—An incredibly entertaining profile of Rosey Grier ’56 by Michael Weinreb ’94. I bet my LP of Free To Be … You and Me, featuring his iconic rendition of “It’s All Right to Cry” is still in my dad’s basement, and this story made me want to go home and see if I could dig it up. It can’t be hard to find, not with the hot pink cover.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Alumni Association members should be getting their copies of our July/August issue any day now. We’ve got a terrific cover story on Rosey Grier ’56 that includes a sidebar on other former Nittany Lions with interesting post-football careers. Among them is Jason Ganter ’07, a former safety and kick holder (and son of ex-player and coach Fran Ganter ’71) who essentially stumbled into his gig as right-hand man to Joe Jonas, frontman of the platinum-selling (and swoon-inducing) Jonas Brothers.
It’s a long story. We’ll let Jason tell it.
“Phil McIntyre, the manager of the Jonas Brothers, is from State College—he grew up with my older brothers. About 10 years ago, right before he was about to start at Penn State, he was working at the Jordan Center as a runner. Britney Spears’ tour came to town for a couple of days, and he busted his butt and impressed the right guy—Britney’s manager said, ‘We’d love to have you come on tour with us.’
“After two years of that, he wanted to try managing on his own. He signed a couple of small bands, and then one night when they were in New York, he heard about these three brothers. He heard them sing, walked out, called his mom and said, ‘I found the new Beatles.’ (more…)
Michael Weinreb ’94 is one of our go-to feature writers, and his terrific piece on Rosey Grier ’56 in our July/August issue (out in a few weeks) is a great example of why. Among Mike’s other projects (including books) is a new gig with Grantland.com, the big-deal, ESPN-affiliated sports and culture website that debuted earlier this week. Mike’s first Grantland piece is up today, and it’s loaded with Penn State references; one of those is of Mike sneaking away from the reception at a friend’s wedding years ago to watch the Nittany Lions play Wisconsin on a portable TV hidden in a coat closet.
That was my wedding, actually. On Sunday, I’ll be in Long Island to watch Mike get married; the bride-to-be is a Northwestern grad, but we approve of her anyway.
Ryan Jones, senior editor