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The Rosey Grier Show, March 16, 1969

March 16, 2009 | 11:00 am

Los Angeles Times file photo

The Fearsome Foursome: Merlin Olsen, David "Deacon" Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier make their singing debut on "Shindig," 1965. 

1969_0316_rosey Rosey Grier is no one-dimensional ex-football player. He's well known as a singer, needlepoint enthusiast and sometime actor who became an associate of Robert F. Kennedy during the late senator's run for the presidency in 1968.

In 1969, Grier had become the star of a weekly show on Channel 7, which The Times' Ray Loynd said was "designed as a personal showcase and the obligatory look of today ... framed by Grier's random efforts 'to reach all the kids I can. I dig kids. I really dig 'em.' "

Grier had been a defensive lineman for the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams, and a member of the Rams' Fearsome Foursome that included Hall of Famers Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen. Grier certainly was not the first Los Angeles athlete to find his way into television or movies, but Grier might have been the most talented. Duke Snider on "The Rifleman" he was not.

"I started singing gospels when I was 5 in Benevolence, Ga.," he told Loynd. "When I left I took my whole roots with me. I haven't been back."

Grier briefly recounted his relationship with Kennedy. "We've forgotten the great need of a man like Kennedy," Grier said. "We should care more, not wait for tragedy to bring up our need to love one another."

-- Keith Thursby