Jophery Brown flew a bus

And that is just one of the interesting things about him.

You see leaves move ominously at night, and instead of seeing a dinosaur, you see a metal container. A team of men, all worried, with many holding massive weapons, then move it into place, being very careful as weird noises come from inside the box.

Then the head of the workers shouts, Jophery, raise the gate.

It's when the gate rises that the entire cage is shaking. Jophery falls off and is quickly pulled into the container. We don't see by what, other than some shots of a dinosaur-like eyeball. Everyone comes in with tranquillisers or electric cattle prods as they try to pull Jophery out.

They don't, and he fades away to be eaten. This is the opening of Jurassic Park, where Jophery gets eaten. And that is the name of the character, but also the actor. Jophery Brown started the Jurassic Park franchise, and he did much more.

He was born in Louisiana in 1945. And he was a great athlete in most sports, but he chose baseball. We can tell that by his record, but also because he was drafted three times to Major League Baseball while at Grambling university.

The Pittsburgh Pirates wanted him in the 21st round of the June 1965 amateur draft,  but that wasn't for him. Because of that, he was also available in the secondary phase of the 1996 January Draft, where this time the Boston Red Sox took him in the fourth round. And he knocked them back again. In both cases, he was not offered enough money.

The then Chicago Cubs selected Brown in the second round of the secondary phase of the June 1966 draft and signed him for around 40000-80000USD. He started out with the rookie team the Treasure Valley Cubs. That year had had 4 wins and an era of 3.72 with his pitching.

The next year he got a bump and he played with the Lodi Crushers in high-class A in California. He struggled and his ERA was 4.47.

But the following year in '86 he came back to the Crushers and was much better. He had an ERA of  3.63, was an all-star in the league and was announced team MVP.

It was that that got him a call-up to the cubs.

On September 21 1968, he played a Saturday afternoon game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. And in the fifth inning, Brown came into the game. He pitched in two innings, and of the batters was Roberto Clemente - who he walked. He would come out of the game after that.

And that was it. He would never play another big league game again. Partly because his pitching arm got damaged.

But luckily for him he already had another career as a backup.

Before starting his pro baseball career, he'd been an actor. He appeared in a TV show called Arrest and Trial in 1964. The following year he was in an episode of Bill Cosby's I Spy. He got these chances because his brother, Calvin, was already one of Hollywood's most pioneering black stuntpersons. And so after his shoulder gave way, he just went to work in the movies.

This career went far longer than his baseball ever did. By 1973 he was in Pam Grier's Coffy, the Bond film Live and let die and Steve McQueen's Papillion.

That spawned a brilliant career, here are a few of the highlights:

Blues Brothers





Lethal Weapon

Die Hard


Get Shorty

Along came a spider

Basically, if you wanted Hollywood action movies in the 70s, 80s and 90s, then you saw Jophery do something or other in a movie.

Even his semi-retirement was cool. As an ageing stuntperson, he became Morgan Freeman's double. That is one hell of a way to go out.

He is not the only athlete ever who turned into an actor. Over the years there have been a lot of actors who started as athletes.

Tony Danza was nominated for Golden Globes after he was on his way to a golden gloves crown in boxing.

Johnny Weissmuller was a swimmer who won three gold medals and a bronze at the 1924 Olympics. The golds were for swimming, and then he backed that up with a bronze in Water Polo. Four years later, he picked up a couple more swimming golds.

And when he was too old for that, he became Tarzan and continued to keep his shirt off.

When the Indian cricketer Sreesanth was banned for match-fixing, he found his way as an all-singing and dancing star of Bollywood and Malayalam movies.

He was faster on the bike than with the ball.

British actors Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham, who starred in the movie Hard Men, started as athletes. Jones was a famous footballer, so that story is very well known.

Fewer people know about Statham being a diver for the UK team for over a decade. He never quite made it to the Olympics.

But he did end up in the commonwealth games, where that didn't go particularly well.

Terry Crews was an NFL player who bumped around the league in a bunch of teams before he went on to be a comedic actor in an incredibly huge frame.

Also Jim Brown was an NFL player, who starred in Mars Attacks and the dirty dozen, where he was needlessly killed at the end. John David Washington, Bubba Smith and Fred Williamson are some NFL players who act. There is a lot, maybe enough to fill a team. There was another NFL player turned actor, but his career seemed to fizzle out in the 90s.

What about C Aubrey Smith? A man good enough to captain England in a Test match, take a five-wicket haul and then never play for them ever again. He also went on to have an incredible Hollywood career. Including starring in Tarzan the Ape man with Weissmuller.

Perhaps one of the most athletic movies ever made.

Sonja Henie and Esther Williams were two top athletes of their time both brought into acting because of their fame and skills. Henie would perform in musical comedy dramas, where she could ice skate.

That was handy, because she won three gold medals, and her performances changed figure skating forever.

Esther Williams was not as good an athlete, and she was hoping to make it to the 1940 Olympics, before the entire World War 2 thing. She was a brilliant butterfly swimmer, but women didn't swim that often. So she went won national titles in backstroke and freestyle instead. But more importantly. She made a ton of films where she got to do this.

Most of these people are massively famous, sometimes twice over. Our man Jophery was not, not even really once. Those people didn't have a real life. Jophery did.

And yet he still played a significant part in film history. Two times over. Through him, and his brother, and other early pioneers, black stunt performers started to work in the business. Before that, white men would wear blackface. Having people as talented as Jophery made the film industry change.

And because of that, he made the Speed bus jump 50 feet. Of course, that was mostly special effects, but here he is jumping the damn bus and smashing the crap out of it - and him.

Imagine doing one thing in your life as cool as being eaten by a dinosaur in one of the most successful films of all time. But he did so much more than that.

I mean, let me put it this way. If he played baseball professional, that makes him the coolest person in most social situations. But he also pitched to one of the greats of all time. That is an even greater story, everyone at the bar is listening to him now. But then he went from that to being a stuntperson. Maybe one of the jobs that young kids put high on their list. And he did it at a late enough age that he got to be the dangerous version of Morgan Freeman. A famous dinosaur ate him. And then he flew a fucken bus.

That is a life.