Bernie Casey truly deserved the title of "Renaissance Man." Casey, who passed away Wednesday at 78, achieved fame and distinction as both an athlete and later a performer and man of the arts. The grace and flair that he displayed on the football field and track later was easily shifted to the passions of painting, poetry and acting.
Casey initially gained fame while at Bowling Green University, where he starred in football and track. He was eventually drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, and spent most of his eight years in the NFL with them, though he was traded to the then LA Rams late in his career. Though he only made one Pro Bowl in 1967, Casey was a steady and reliable wide receiver, and he completed his NFL tenure with 40 touchdown receptions.
However Casey had always deemed himself more a man of arts than an athlete. Upon retirement, he returned to his alma mater, earning a Master's of Fine Arts from Bowling Green. He'd already developed his painting skills, and increasingly Casey also turned to writing, eventually having multiple books of poetry published.
But it was as an actor that Bernie Casey enjoyed a second major stint of praise and recognition. He appeared in 35 films dating from 1969 till his death, beginning with a role in "Guns of the Magnificent Seven," one of a handful of sequels to "The Magnificent Seven."
Casey proved quite versatile over the years. He was in art-house style productions like "The Man Who Fell To Earth," also appeared in "Never Say Never Again," Sean Connery's tongue-in-chief brief return to the role of James Bond, Agent 007.
Depending on personal preference, some fans may view his role in the satirical "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka'" was a high point. Others would argue for "Revenge of the Nerds," while the Sci-Fi freaks would lobby for his role in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."
Whatever the case, Bernie Casey made his mark in multiple areas, and leaves behind a solid legacy of achievement and accomplishment, both in athletics and the arts.