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In memoriam: Tim Rossovich, USC and NFL standout-turned-actor, 72

One of the true characters in the world of football, he also spent two decades as an actor and stuntman, primarily in tough-guy and villain roles

Football player-turned-actor Tim Rossovich
Tim Rossovich played on USC's 1967 championship team and later in the NFL, then went on to work in Hollywood as an actor and stuntman. (Photo/USC Athletics)

Football star-turned-actor Tim Rossovich, a consensus All-American defensive end and NFL Draft first rounder on USC’s 1967 national championship team and one of the true characters in the world of football, died Thursday in Sacramento after a long illness. He was 72.

The free-spirited Rossovich was known for his intense, yet eccentric and off-beat personality. At USC and in the NFL, he would chew glass and lightbulbs, set himself on fire (including for a 1971 Sports Illustrated photo shoot), jump off rooftops and drive motorbikes off piers, among other pranks.

Rossovich was a three-year (1965-67) letterman at USC who played in a pair of Rose Bowls and co-captained the 1967 Trojans. He also did some placekicking while at USC.  He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. He came to USC from St. Francis High in Mountain View (Calif.).

After being the 14th pick of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, he played linebacker with the Eagles (1968-71), San Diego Chargers (1972-73) and Houston Oilers (1976). He played in the 1969 Pro Bowl. He also played for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League in 1974 and 1975 until the league folded midway through the 1975 season.

After his playing days, he spent two decades as an actor and stuntman, primarily in tough-guy and villain roles on television sitcoms and dramas and in movies. He appeared in such TV shows as MacGyver, Hunter, Baywatch, Harry and the Hendersons, Jake and the Fatman, The Fall Guy, ALF, The Love Boat, Knight Rider, Fantasy Island, Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, Remington Steele, Soap, The A-Team and Magnum, P.I., and in such movies as Night Shift, Sting II, The Long Riders, Looker and The Main Event.

He is survived by his wife, Lauren; daughter, Jaime; father, Frank; brother, actor Rick Rossovich; and two sisters.

No services are planned.

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