Sports Movies That Launched Acting Careers

[ReviewAZON name=”sports” id=”53″ display=”inlinepost” asin=”0879103310″ trackingid=”mywebsource1-20″ country=”us” width=”200px” float=”left” imagetop=”10px”]I’ve always been a fan of sports films. The sport movie has been the launching point for several big name stars over the years. You may not always recognize these pop icons because of the bit parts that they portrayed, because, after all, it IS before they were stars.

This list includes Academy Award nominees, producers, writers, models, and directors.  Who would have thought they would have started in cheesy sports movies?

Sports Movies

myfivebest -1SINBAD

David Adkins (alias Sinbad), is a stand up comedian and actor.  He became well-known in the 1990s starting off in some minor television roles before breaking into the movies as Andre Krimm, a college professor who never played football in his eligible years.  In his first movie, he joined Scott Bakula, Rob Schneider, and once-presidential-hopeful, Fred Thompson, on the gridiron in this 1991 comedy.
Jon Favreau

myfivebest - 2JON FAVREAU

We recently mentioned Jon Favreau as a celeb who still played Dungeons and Dragons in a recent article.  Favreau is known for his acting, directing, and writing skills, but it may never have happened if it wasn’t for a little, unknown 1993 movie called “Rudy“.  In this movie, Favreau plays the character of the pudgy D-Bob to Sean Astin’s (of “Lord of the Rings” fame) character, Daniel “Rudy” Ruetigger who goes on to achieve his dreams as a football player for Notre Dame.  The story is based on real-life, but D-Bob was a combination of a couple of the real Rudy’s friends.  It’s a good thing that Favreau landed this job.  He was working as a dishwasher at the Second City comedy club when the role landed in his lap.  Without Rudy, the movie Iron Man might never have been made!
Vince Vaughn

myfivebest - 3VINCE VAUGHN

The movie, Rudy, also had another unexpected surprise. It was also the break out role for comedian and actor, Vince Vaughn.  Vaughn only had a bit part in the movie, playing Notre Dame football player James O’ Hare.  You might have seen the movie and didn’t realize that the character was Vince Vaughn. As a memory jog, his character plays the football player who doesn’t like Rudy playing for Notre Dame because he thinks he is too small and tries too hard.  One of his most memorable (and anger-filled) lines in the film goes something like this:

Ara Parseghian: What’s your problem, O’Hare, what’s your problem?
Jamie O’Hara: Last practice of the season and this a$$hole thinks it’s the Super Bowl!
Ara Parseghian: You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence! If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruettiger, you’d have made All-American by now! As it is, you just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!

Rene Russo

myfivebest - 4RENE RUSSO

You may have seen Rene Russo as a model, a musician, or in one of the many films she has made over the past 25 years.  She entered the limelight when she was discovered at a 1972 Rolling Stones concert at the age of 18 and encouraged to become a model. After her modeling career winded down after the age of thirty, she took up acting.  Her first movie was as Tom Berenger’s girlfriend in the 1989 movie, “Major League“.
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson


This is a double shot of stars who found their way into one movie.  They both appeared in the 1986 football movie,”Wildcats“, about a high school track coach (Goldie Hawn, shown above) who wants to coach football. She gets her chance at an inner city high school with a group of tough kids.  Two of students are Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson (shown with Goldie, above) in their first film. The movie was pretty shallow and predictable, but it did a lot to launch some impressive careers.