Former USC and National Football League star Tim Rossovich, who built a post-athletic acting career in various roles, has died after a long illness, according to USC News. He was 72 and passed Thursday in Sacramento.
Rossovich was an All-American and co-captain of the USC national championship team in 1967, remembered for star O.J. Simpson at running back. He became one of five USC players drafted in the first round in 1968, going to the Philadelphia Eagles as the 14th pick of the first round.
The lean defensive end made the Pro Bowl in 1969 during a career that saw him play for the Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, and Houston Oilers. He later played for the Philadelphia Bell in the short-lived World Football League.
After rooming with actor Tom Selleck in college and given his USC connections, it seemed inevitable that Rossovich would become an actor. He started as stunt double in the Burt Reynolds film Hooper, then appeared in various roles in ABC’s Soap, The A-Team, Remington Steele, Hunter, MacGyver and Baywatch. He also appeared in three episodes of Selleck’s CBS series Magnum, P.I.
Rossovich was also active in films, achieving roles in the Barbra Streisand-Ryan O’Neal movie The Main Event, as well as The Long Riders, Looker, Night Shift and The Sting II.
In 1971, Rossovich was dubbed “the first football hero of the Aquarius generation” thanks to his appearance in an NFL Films feature.
“I consider myself a hippie in all the good ways,” he said in the film. “I dress in different clothes and grow my hair long because I have this feeling of independence. I think the youth of today can look at me and associate with me more than the average football player. They can see a person with long hair doesn’t have to be associated with something bad.”
Rossovich was born on March 14, 1946 in Palo Alto, California, one of five children.
He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
Survivors include his wife, Lauren; his daughter, Jaime; his father, Frank; his brother, Rick Rossovich, also an actor; and two sisters. There will be no services.