Roosevelt Grier was born in 1932 in Cuthbert, Georgia, into a family of eleven brothers and sisters. He attended Penn State University where he was the track team captain as well as a college football All-American. It was at Penn State that Rosey began his prominent membership of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans. Rosey moved on to play professional football for the New York Giants (1955-1962) and the Los Angeles Rams (1963-1967).
Rosey has received countless honors and awards including All-American both in high school and at Penn State University, named All-Pro with the New York Giants four times, five World Championship games, and prominent member of the most honored defensive line in the history of professional football – “The Fearsome Foursome.”
In addition to sports, Rosey has excelled in numerous fields, including public relations and the recording industry. Television viewers have seen him on numerous hit shows such as “The Smothers Brothers,” “Quincy,” and “The Bill Cosby Show.” Feature film credits include “ROOTS”, ‘SKYJACKED”, “IN COLD BLOOD”, and “CARTER’S ARMY”. Rosey, himself. is a best-selling author whose titles include “Shooting Star,” “All American Heroes,” “Winning, Rosey: The Gentle Giant,” (his autobiography), and “Needlepoint For Men.” In November of 1974, his needlepoint was featured on the cover of the renowned “Saturday Evening Post”.
As a Humanitarian, Rosey is the co-founder (along with Estean Lenyoun) of American Neighborhood Enterprises (ANE). He is Acting Chairman of the Board for “Impact Urban America” as well, an offshoot of ANE. These enterprises are a combination of real estate development and construction companies committed to providing job training, employment, first-time buyer programs, and affordable housing for disadvantaged, underprivileged, and at-risk persons in the inner cities of our nation. He is the Founder and Chairman of “Giant Step,” a non-profit program, designed to give disadvantaged youth job training as well as to provide housing for senior citizens. Along with Giant Step, he has created and developed a program that enhances spiritual awareness and self-esteem in underprivileged inner-city youth entitled, “Rosey Grier’s Are You Committed?”
Currently, Mr. Grier is also investing a large amount of time and effort towards The Prostate Cancer Foundation, an organization founded by Mike Milken and dedicated to research for the prevention and cure of prostate cancer. Rosey has also devoted countless hours to the Milken Family Foundation, co-founded by Lowell and Mike Milken, which is dedicated to promoting education, advancement in medical care as well as research, and enhancing the social welfare of our community. Mr. Grier also serves on the Board of Directors for World Impact (founded by Dr. Keith Phillips) which is an inner-city mission organization dedicated to planting cross-cultural churches among the unchurched urban poor.
As a concerned citizen and spokesman for the elderly and inner-city youth of America, Rosey has been the recipient of several national honors and White House invitations from several Presidents of the United States. As a political activist, Rosey was at the Ambassador Hotel the night Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He helped apprehend Sirhan Sirhan and took the gun out of his hand. Rosey wept with the nation for the loss of a great leader. He is a valued friend of the powerful as well as the less fortunate.
He has also received resolutions of commendation from the California State Assembly, The Los Angeles City Council, the late Los Angeles Mayor-Elect Tom Bradley, and the Board of Supervisors of Orange County. Other honors have included Master of Ceremonies for the Special Olympics (1970-1983), the Watson Award from IBM, and the B’nai Birth Champion of Youth. His additional accolades consist of the National Football League Humanitarian Award and the Penn State Alumnus of the Year.
In 1981, Rosey was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the Letter of Law from Oral Roberts University, where he once sat on the Board of Regents. He has also served on the boards of numerous other organizations and institutions, including World Impact, The Fundamental Foundation, The Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association of Los Angles County, and the State Athletic Commission for California.