A legend of the gridiron and film, Jim Brown, passed away at the age of 87. He quit football at the peak of his powers to become a movie star in Hollywood. He played his entire career for the Cleveland Browns, setting multiple rushing records in the process.

Brown died in his Los Angeles home Thursday night, his family’s spokesperson told the Associated Press.

He played nine seasons in the NFL (1957-1965), capturing eight rushing titles, three MVP awards, and never missed a game because of injury. After his ninth season, he was cast in The Dirty Dozen, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Lee Marvin. He played Robert Jefferson, one of 12 military felons assigned to a suicide mission during World War II to assassinate German officers before the D-Day invasion.

Brown chose to retire instead of returning to the Cleveland Browns while he was on set, he was 30 years old. Then he signed a contract with MGM and starred in films like Ice Station Zebra and 100 Rifles. 100 Rifles shattered taboos when he shared a passionate scene with actress Raquel Welch.

Brown opened doors for other Black actors in action films and across the board in Hollywood. His career lasted five decades starring in more than 30 films and other TV appearances.

“I had a great appreciation for Harry Belafonte and Sidney [Poitier] and Sammy Davis [Jr.] They were all great in their own way. But I was a physical actor, I was a hero … We needed that as African-Americans.”

Later in his career he also served as a talent manager for groups including Earth, Wind, & Fire.

He was born on February 17th, 1936 off the coast of Georgia. Brown lived with his mom on Long Island and attended Manhasset High School, where he starred in five sports and earned 13 letters.

He led the Browns to the NFL Championship in 1964, which was the city’s first major championship before the Cavaliers won the NBA Finals in 2016.

Brown was a major force in civil rights, and brought African-American culture to people and places that might not have seen it before.

Join us in celebrating Jim Brown’s life and career.