Bernie Casey was a record-breaking track and field athlete for Bowling Green State University. He earned All-America recognition and a trip to the finals at the 1960 United States Olympic Trials. In addition to national honors, Casey won three consecutive Mid-American Conference titles in the high-hurdles, 1958–60. Bernie Casey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1961 as the 9th pick in the first round. He played for eight NFL seasons: six with the 49ers and two with the Los Angeles Rams. His best-known play came in 1967 for the Rams in the penultimate game of the season against the Green Bay Packers. The Rams needed to win to keep their division title hopes alive, but trailed the Packers 24–20 with under a minute to play. The Rams then blocked a punt and ran it back to the 5 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Casey caught the winning touchdown pass from Roman Gabriel with under 30 seconds to play to give the Rams a 27–24 victory. The Rams defeated the Colts the following week to win the Coastal Division title. Casey began his acting career in the film Guns of the Magnificent Seven, a sequel to The Magnificent Seven. Then he played opposite fellow former NFL star Jim Brown in the crime dramas …tick…tick…tick… and Black Gunn. He played the title role in the 1972 science fiction TV film Gargoyles. He also played Tamara Dobson’s love interest in 1973’s Cleopatra Jones. From there he moved between performances on television and the big screen such as playing team captain for the Chicago Bears in the TV film Brian’s Song. In 1979, he starred as widower Mike Harris in the NBC television series Harris and Company, the first weekly American TV drama series centered on a black family. In 1980, he played Major Jeff Spender in the television mini-series The Martian Chronicles, based on the novel by Ray Bradbury.
In 1981, Bernie Casey played a detective opposite Burt Reynolds in the feature film Sharky’s Machine, directed by Reynolds. He reunited with Reynolds a few years later for the crime story Rent-a-Cop. In 1983, he played the role of CIA agent Felix Leiter in the non-Eon Productions James Bond film Never Say Never Again. He co-starred in Revenge of the Nerds and had a comedic role as Colonel Rhombus in the John Landis film Spies Like Us. Casey also appeared in the movie Hit Man. Also during his career, he worked with such well-known directors as Martin Scorsese in his 1972 film Boxcar Bertha and appeared on such television series as The Streets of San Francisco and as U. N. Jefferson, the national head of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity in Revenge of the Nerds. He played a version of himself, and other football players turned actors, in Keenen Ivory Wayans’s 1988 comedic film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. He played a high school teacher in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, released in 1989. Casey appeared as a very influential prisoner with outside connections in Walter Hill’s Another 48 Hrs.. In 1992, he appeared as a Naval officer in the battleship USS Missouri in Under Siege. In 1994, Bernie Casey guest-starred in a two-episode story arc in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (along with series star Avery Brooks) as the Maquis leader Lieutenant Commander Cal Hudson, and in 1995 as a guest-star on both SeaQuest 2032 as Admiral VanAlden and Babylon 5 as Derek Cranston. He has continued working as an actor. In 2006, he co-starred in the film When I Find the Ocean alongside such actors as Lee Majors. He enjoyed painting and writing poetry. Look at the People, a book of his paintings and poems, was published by Doubleday in 1969. Bernie Casey died in Los Angeles on September 19, 2017 at the age of 78.
- June, 08, 1939
- Wyco, West Virginia
- September, 19, 2017
- Los Angeles, California