It’s Terry Crews’s world, and we are lucky to be part of it.
At 6′ 3”, 245 pounds, the former 11th-round NFL draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 could easily step back on the gridiron and wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Instead, to the good fortune of TV and movie fans, Crews has lent his impressive range of comedic talents to a wide range of projects—leading to some memorable, highly sharable moments.
Crews is much more than a football stud and on-screen funnyman. A talented artist, during his leaner-earning years, Crews worked as a courtroom sketch artist, and did portraits of his teammates to earn a few extra dollars.
After bit parts in a number of film and TV projects, Crews emerged as a star in the 2005 series, Everybody Hates Chris. A vastly underrated show on UPN, based on Chris Rock’s adolescence, Crews played Chris’s father, a man who worked a number of jobs to support his family, and was as tight with a dollar as he was a caring dad. The role suited the former pro athlete to a T, contrasting his impressive stature with a persona as a strong father figure.
Crews’s association with Rock, and later Adam Sandler, led the actor to becoming a featured player in a number of Sandler’s better comedies. In The Longest Yard, the 2005 Sandler-Rock remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds film, Crews played Cheeseburger Eddie, an inmate who seemed to be able to get his hands on any form of McDonalds food. Behind bars, a McFlurry is a powerful commodity.
The 2014 film Sandler film, Blended (a third attempt to reunite Sandler and Drew Barrymore) may have bombed at the box office and with critics, but Crews’s role as a Nickens, the leader of a hilarious African singing troupe, Thatoo, is worth the price of admission (or a view this month on HBO).
As Dwayne Elizondo Camacho (the five-time Ultimate Smackdown Champion, porn superstar, and president of the United States), Crews stole the show in cult comedy Idiocracy. The premise was that in the future, the world is stupid enough to a elect a machine gun-toting professional wrestler.
Heading back to the TV world, Crews lends his deft comedic touch to the Fox comedy Brooklyn 911 where he plays Terry Jeffords, a softhearted sergeant in a rather unorthodox precinct in the NYPD.
Listing all of the 46-year-old actor’s film and TV success would result in an eclectic tale of cartoon voiceovers, guest appearances, and even the central character of the reality show, The Family Crews. What makes Crews popular goes far beyond his acting chops—his warmth and charm provide him the skill to take on the role of affable game show host as well as appearances that highlight his sculpted physique in commercials and alongside Jimmy Fallon.
As the iconic Old Spice hunk:
Nip-syncing with Fallon on The Tonight Show in an homage to Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s 1982 song, Ebony and Ivory.
In 2014, the producers of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire decided to go 180 degrees from original U.S. host, Regis Philbin, by naming Crews the show’s quizmaster.
With all his comedy performances, it would be great to see Crews embark on a big-budget, big-screen drama that would allow him to showcase his more serious acting talents. Until he becomes an Oscar-performing serious man, we can appreciate the oddball antics.
Illustration by Max Fleishman