Famous Faces in Muhammed Ali's "The Greatest" & "When We Were Kings"!

by gattonero975 | created - 06 Jun 2016 | updated - 06 Jun 2016 | Public

Fresh from his gold metal victory at the Olympic Games, 18-year-old Cassius Clay is ready to seek the heavyweight championship. Under the masterful guidance of trainer Angelo Dundee (Borgnine), Clay snatches the title from Sonny Liston. Soon afterward, Clay converts to the Islam religion and changes his name to Muhammed Ali.

When he is suddenly classified 1A by the Draft Board that earlier rejected him, Ali refuses the draft on religious grounds. His hard-won title is taken from him. Winning a three-and-a-half year long court battle, Ali returns to the ring for what may have been some of the greatest fights of all time.

The great documentary "When We Were Kings" is a great companion piece and sort-of-a sequel to this film since it goes in deeper into the now famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in which Ali was to take on the then unstoppable and undefeated George Foreman in Zaire, Africa in 1974.

1. Sonny Liston

Actor | Head

Charles "Sonny" Liston's life and death began and ended in the same manner: as a mystery. Liston, one of 25 children by his father, is reputed to have been born in May 1932, yet prison records show various birthdates, among them 1928. After a rough upbringing, with little formal education, Liston ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself (archive footage)

2. Muhammad Ali

Actor | The Greatest

Muhammad Ali beat more champions and top contenders than any heavyweight champion in history. He defeated heavyweight kings Sonny Liston (twice), Floyd Patterson (twice), Ernie Terrell, Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton (twice), Joe Frazier (twice), George Foreman and Leon Spinks. He defeated ...

"Casius Clay / Muhammad Ali"

The Greatest (1977)

When We Were Kings (1996)

3. Rahman Ali

Actor | The Greatest

Rahman Ali has lived in the shadow of his famous brother, Muhammad Ali, for his entire life, not that it was a problem for him. On the contrary, both brothers were as close as two brothers could be. Born Rudolph Valentino Clay, he was two years older than his brother, Cassius Marcellous Clay. Both ...

The Greatest (1977) Himself

4. Ernest Borgnine

Actor | Marty

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents were Anna (Boselli), who had emigrated from Carpi (MO), Italy, and Camillo Borgnino, who had emigrated from Ottiglio (AL), Italy. As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, ...

The Greatest (1977) "Angelo Dundee"

5. Malick Bowens

Actor | Out of Africa

Early in his acting career Malick Bowens met the worldwide renowned director Peter Brook who invited him to join his theater company, ICTR (International Center on Theatrical Research). This meeting led to a long lasting collaboration, which had a great influence on the actor's life and career. The...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself - Artist (as Malik Bowens)

6. James Brown

Soundtrack | Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA as James Joseph Brown. He was married to Tomirae Brown, Adrienne Rodriguez, Deidra Jenkins and Velma Warren. He died on December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself

7. David Clennon

Actor | Missing

"No Emmys for Disinformation. Ken Burns' Vietnam series peddles Pentagon propaganda." David Clennon is currently (August '18) engaged in a campaign to alert Emmy voters to the half-truths, distortions and omissions in Ken Burns' PBS series "The Vietnam War," which is nominated for four Emmys. A ...

The Greatest (1977) Captain

8. Ty Copeman

Actor | Silver Bill Miner

Ty Copeman was born in Paris, France September 7, 1955 to Tyler Copeman, an Air Force enlisted man, and Roseann Patricia. He moved to New Mexico in 1958, then settled in Winter Park, Florida in 1962. Ty Copeman left Florida for Hollywood for the first time in 1974. He says it has been a bumpy ride ...

The Greatest (1977) White Youth (uncredited)

9. Toni Crabtree

Actress | Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach

Toni Crabtree is an actress and art director, known for Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988), Miami Vice (1984) and The Greatest (1977).

The Greatest (1977) Hooker

10. Robert Duvall

Actor | The Apostle

Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a ...

The Greatest (1977) "Bill McDonald"

11. George Foreman

Actor | The Fighter

George Foreman was boxing's most feared fighter from 1973-1974. Undefeated in 40 straight fights, 37 by knockout, he was on a 24 consecutive knockout run when he faced Muhammad Ali on October 30, 1974 in defense of his world heavyweight title in Zaire, Africa. A product of a poor family, Foreman ...


The Greatest (1977) (archive footage) (uncredited)

When We Were Kings (1996)

12. Joe Frazier

Self | Rocky

Joe Frazier was born on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina, USA as Joseph William Frazier. He was an actor, known for Rocky (1976), Bocce Balls (2005) and A Christmas Journey Home (1996). He was married to Florence Smith. He died on November 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself (archive footage)

13. James Gammon

Actor | Major League

Rugged-looking James Gammon first broke into the entertainment industry not as an actor but as a TV cameraman. From there, his weatherbeaten features, somewhat menacing attitude and a tough-as-nails voice--the kind that used to be described in detective novels as "whiskey-soaked"--reminiscent of '...

The Greatest (1977) "Mr. Harry"

14. Lloyd Haynes

Actor | Room 222

Lloyd Haynes was born on October 19, 1934 in South Bend, Indiana, USA as Samuel Lloyd Haynes. He was an actor and writer, known for Room 222 (1969), Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) and Good Guys Wear Black (1978). He was married to Carolyn Yvonne Giorella, Saundra Lee Madariaga and Alice ...

The Greatest (1977) "Herbert Muhammad"

15. David Huddleston

Actor | The Big Lebowski

David Huddleston was born on September 17, 1930 in Vinton, Virginia, USA as David William Huddleston. He was an actor and producer, known for The Big Lebowski (1998), Blazing Saddles (1974) and The Producers (2005). He was married to Sarah C. Koeppe and Carole Ann Swart. He died on August 2, 2016 ...

The Greatest (1977) "Cruikshank"

16. Ben Johnson

Actor | The Last Picture Show

Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo performer when, in 1940, Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California. He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper ...

The Greatest (1977) "Hollis"

17. James Earl Jones

Actor | Rogue One

Widely regarded as the one of greatest stage and screen actors both in his native USA and internationally, James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred ...

The Greatest (1977) "Malcolm X"

18. Gene Kilroy

Actor | The Greatest

Gene Kilroy is an actor, known for The Greatest (1977), Toy Masters (2012) and I Am Ali (2014).

The Greatest (1977) Himself

19. B.B. King

Actor | Blues Brothers 2000

B.B. King was born on September 16, 1925 as Riley B. King. He was married to Sue Carol Hall and Martha Lee Denton. He died on May 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself

20. Don King

Actor | Head Office

World-renowned promoter of boxing luminaries including Muhammad Ali, "Smokin'" Joe Frazier, "Big" George Foreman, Larry "The Easton Assassin" Holmes, "Iron" Mike Tyson, "Sugar" Ray Leonard, Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Felix ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself

21. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself

22. Norman Mailer

Writer | Tough Guys Don't Dance

Norman Mailer, the Brooklyn-born and -bred writer who fought for what he characterized as the "heavyweight championship" of American letters after the 1961 death of Ernest Hemingway, never came close to his dream of writing the Great American novel, but he was a colossus of American culture and ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself - Writer

23. Miriam Makeba

Soundtrack | Transamerica

Miriam Makeba was born on March 4, 1932 as Zensile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama Yiketheli Nxgowa Bantana Balomzi Xa Ufnu Ubajabulisa Ubaphekeli Mbiza Yotshwala Sithi Xa Saku Qgiba Ukutja Sithathe Izitsha Sizi Khabe Singama Lawu Singama Qgwashu Singama Nqamla Nqgithi. She was married to Stokely Carmichael...

When We Were Kings (1996) Herself

24. John Marley

Actor | Love Story

Veteran character actor John Marley was one of those familiar but nameless faces that television and filmgoers did not take a shine to until the late 1960s, when he had hit middle age. Distinctive for his craggy face, dark bushy brows and upswept silvery hair, his life (born in 1907) started out ...

The Greatest (1977) "Dr. Ferdie Pacheco"

25. Jack McDermott

Actor | Absence of Malice

Jack McDermott was born on January 3, 1927. He is an actor, known for Absence of Malice (1981), Cocoon: The Return (1988) and The Funhouse (1981).

The Greatest (1977) Reporter (uncredited)

26. Dina Merrill

Actress | Operation Petticoat

It would have been pretty darn difficult for actress Dina Merrill to have ever pulled off playing a commoner on stage, film or TV. She just had too much class. The epitome of poise and glamour, the New York-born socialite and celebrity was born in 1923, the daughter of E.F. Hutton, the financier ...

The Greatest (1977) "Velvet Green"

27. Roger E. Mosley

Actor | Magnum, P.I.

Roger E. Mosley was born on December 18, 1938 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Roger Earl Mosely. He is an actor and director, known for Magnum, P.I. (1980), A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) and Terminal Island (1973).

The Greatest (1977) "Sonny Liston"

28. Ken Norton

Actor | Mandingo

Ken Norton was born on August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois, USA as Kenneth Howard Norton. He was an actor, known for Mandingo (1975), Dirty Work (1998) and Cover Up (1984). He was married to Rose Conant, Jacqueline Halton and Jeannette Henderson. He died on September 18, 2013 in Henderson, ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

29. George Plimpton

Actor | Good Will Hunting

George Plimpton was born on March 18, 1927 in New York City, New York, USA as George Ames Plimpton. He was an actor and writer, known for Good Will Hunting (1997), Nixon (1995) and L.A. Story (1991). He was married to Sara Whitehead Dudley and Freddy Medora Espy. He died on September 26, 2003 in ...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself - Writer

30. Malachi Throne

Actor | It Takes a Thief

Malachi Throne, the character actor who became one of the more ubiquitous faces on television from the "Golden Age" of the 1950s through the 21st Century, was born in New York City on December 1, 1928, the son of Samuel and Rebecca Throne, who had immigrated to America from the Austro-Hungarian ...

The Greatest (1977) "Payton Jory"

31. Paul Winfield

Actor | The Terminator

Signifying intelligence, eloquence, versatility and quiet intensity, one of the more important, critically acclaimed black actors to gain a Hollywood foothold in the 1970s was Paul Winfield. Born in 1939 in Los Angeles, he lived there in his early years before moving with his family to Los Angeles'...

The Greatest (1977) Draft Lawyer

32. Arthur Adams

Actor | Coming to America

Arthur Adams was born on November 22, 1915 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Arthur Frank Adams. He was an actor, known for Coming to America (1988), Midnight Madness (1980) and Strangers Kiss (1983). He died on May 3, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

The Greatest (1977) "Cassius Clay Senior"

33. Drew Bundini Brown

Actor | Shaft

Drew Bundini Brown was born on March 21, 1928 in Florida, USA. He was an actor, known for Shaft (1971), Shaft's Big Score! (1972) and The Color Purple (1985). He was married to Rhoda Palestine Brown. He died on September 24, 1987 in Los Angeles County, California, USA.

Himself-Ali's Ass't Trainer

The Greatest (1977)

When We Were Kings (1996)

34. Annazette Chase

Actress | Truck Turner

Annazette Chase was born on December 18, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Annecetta Williams. She is an actress, known for Truck Turner (1974), The Greatest (1977) and The Toy (1982).

The Greatest (1977) "Belinda Ali"

35. Odessa Clay

Self | When We Were Kings

Odessa Clay was born on February 12, 1917 in the USA as Odessa Lee Grady. She died on August 20, 1994 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

When We Were Kings (1996) Herself - Ali's Mother

36. Howard Cosell

Actor | Bananas

When you think of the words honesty, straight from the shoulder, and tell it like it is, you think of one man: Howard Cosell. Howard is best remembered as the greatest sportscaster in the history of sports. His way with words and ability of telling like it was, brought him fame not only in America,...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself - ABC Sports

37. Paul Mantee

Actor | Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Born in San Francisco, Paul Mantee started "pretending" when he was very young, playing at being people like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney. He toiled anonymously in the Hollywood vineyards for several years; it was this initial lack of success that worked in his favor when "an unfamiliar face" was ...

The Greatest (1977) "Carrara"

38. Chip McAllister

Producer | Pizza & Karaoke

Chip McAllister was born on October 2, 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Pizza & Karaoke (2010), The Greatest (1977) and Precious Time (2008). He has been married to Kim McAllister since 1985. They have three children.

The Greatest (1977) Cassius Clay Aged 18 (as Phillip 'Chip' McAllister)

39. Dorothy Meyer

Actress | Cobra

A comedic mainstay on several sitcoms of the 1970s, she is best remembered for making a career out of playing wisecracking maids, neighbors, friends, nurses, and church ladies. The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, her childhood was spent on the Bible Belt where she appeared singing and acting ...

The Greatest (1977) "Odessa Clay"

40. Archie Moore

Actor | The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Archie Moore was born on December 13, 1913 in Benoit, Mississippi, USA as Archibald Lee Wright. He was an actor, known for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966) and The Outfit (1973). He was married to Joan Hardy and Elizabeth A. Thorton. He died on December 9, 1998 ...


The Greatest (1977) (uncredited)

When We Were Kings (1996)

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself - Foreman's manager

42. Mobutu Sese Seko

Actor | Congo vivo

Mobutu Sese Seko was born Joseph Mobutu in Lisala, Belgian Congo. His father was a cook, who died when Mobutu was a child, and his mother was a maid in a hotel. She used her earnings to send him to a Christian Brothers Catholic boarding school for his education. In 1949 he joined the Force Publique...

When We Were Kings (1996) Himself (President of Zaire)

43. Richard Venture

Actor | Heartbreak Ridge

Richard Venture was born on November 12, 1923 in New Jersey, USA as Richard Charles Venturella. He was an actor, known for Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Scent of a Woman (1992) and Missing (1982). He was married to Katherine Catalano, Lorraine Venture, Olivia Cole and Grayce Grant. He died on December ...

The Greatest (1977) Colonel

44. Mira Waters

Actress | The Six Million Dollar Man

Mira Waters was born as Mira Laverne Waters. She is an actress, known for The Six Million Dollar Man (1974), The Greatest (1977) and The Learning Tree (1969).

The Greatest (1977) "Ruby Sanderson"

45. Ernie Wheelwright

Actor | The Longest Yard

Ernie Wheelwright was born on November 28, 1939 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. He is known for his work on The Longest Yard (1974), Wildcats (1986) and Police Story (1973). He died on May 3, 2001 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

The Greatest (1977) Bossman Jones

46. Teddy Wilson

Actor | Good Times

Teddy Wilson was born on December 10, 1943 in New York City, New York, USA as Theodore Rosevelt Wilson. He was an actor and writer, known for Good Times (1974), Blood In, Blood Out (1993) and You Can't Take It with You (1987). He was married to Joan Pringle. He died on July 21, 1991 in Los Angeles,...

The Greatest (1977) John The Gardener (as Theodore R. Wilson)

When We Were Kings (1996) Themselves

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