Bernie Casey, who starred in iconic films such as Revenge of the Nerds and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka has died at age 78, Deadline has confirmed. Casey, who also had a career in the NFL as a wide receiver, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles after being hospitalized for a yet-to-be-announced illness.
Casey was born in Wyco, W.VA on June 8, 1939. He was a track and field star at Bowling Green and in 1961 was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He played with the 49ers for six seasons and went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams for two.
Casey would go on to be an actor, starring in Guns of the Magnificent Seven, a sequel to The Magnificent Seven. He also starred in the 1973 classic Cleopatra Jones, and appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha in 1972 opposite Barbara Hershey and David Carradine.
In 1984, he starred as U.N. Jefferson, the national head of the fictional, yet legendary, Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity in the ’80s classic Revenge of the Nerds. He would go on to reprise the role in the TV movie sequel Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation.
He also starred in the Keenan Ivory Wayans’ I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, an action comedy parody film of blaxploitation, where he appeared as a version of himself alongside other football players-turned-actors. To add to his resume of pop culturally relevant ’80s movies, Casey played a high school teacher in starred in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.
Casey ventured into directing in 1997 with The Dinner, a movie he wrote and starred in about three black men of different ideas and ages who have a dinner table discussion about numerous topics including slavery, homophobia and black self-loathing.
Casey also starred as the recurring Bond character of CIA agent Felix Leiter in Never Say Never Again as well as Burt Reynolds’ Sharky’s Machine. His other credits include Another 48 Hours, Under Siege, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Spies Like Us and Hit Man.