Born in Gary, Indiana, on March 5, 1938, Fred 'Hammer' Williamson grew up in Gary and graduated from Froebel High School in 1955. He enrolled at Northwestern University, where he played college football while studying architecture. He was drafted by San Francisco 49ers in 1959, where he picked up the nickname 'Hammer.' He later played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1960-1961), Oakland Raiders (1961-64), and Kansas City Chiefs (1964-1968), for whom he played in Superbowl I. Williamson's arm was broken during an exhibition game in August 1967, and he sat out the majority of the 1967-1968 season. Afterward, Williamson signed with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes for the 1968 season, but quickly gave up his career as a football player.

Fred Williamson

Fred Williamson in his Oakland Raiders uniform in 1962

Williamson briefly worked as an architect before deciding to give acting a try. His first appearance as an actor was on a December 1968 episode of Ironside. During the following year, he was cast on the ABC sit-com Julia as Diahann Carroll's love interest. And from there, Williamson's film career took off; his first film appearances came in the blockbuster comedy MASH (1970; with Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould) and in the comedy/drama Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970; with Liza Minnelli, Ken Howard, and Robert Moore).

the films of fred williamson

MASH (1970)

Fred Williamson and the cast of MASH

Williamson's first film role was in Robert Altman's all-star Korean war comedy MASH. Williamson portrayed Dr. Oliver Jones in a role that did not translate to the TV series of the same name

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970)

Robert Moore and Fred Williamson

Williamson's second film role came in the oddball Liza Minnelli vehicle Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, directed by Otto Preminger and released by Paramount. Also pictured is Robert Moore

Hammer (1972)

Fred Williamson and William SmithFred Williamson and Vonetta McGee

LEFT: With William Smith in the blaxploitation thriller Hammer. RIGHT: With Vonetta McGee

That Man Bolt (1973)

Fred WilliamsonFred Williamson

From Williamson's blaxploitation action flick That Man Bolt

Three the Hard Way (1974)/h4>
Sheila Frazier and Fred WilliamsonFred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and Jim Brown

LEFT: With Sheila Frazier in the blaxploitation action flick Three the Hard Way. RIGHT: With costars Jim Kelly and Jim Brown

Black Eye (1974)

Fred WilliamsonFred Williamson

As Stone, the private eye, in the Warner Bros. blaxploitation action flick Black Eye

Bucktown (1975)

Fred Williamson

From the American International blaxploitation feature Bucktown

Take a Hard Ride (1975)

Fred WilliamsonJim Brown and Fred Williamson

LEFT: Williamson portrays Tyree in the 20th Century Fox spaghetti western Take a Hard Ride. RIGHT: With Jim Brown

1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Fred Williamson

Williamson as The Ogre fights the Zombie gang in the low-budget sci-fi actioner 1990: The Bronx Warriors

Original Gangstas (1996)

Fred Williamson

The MGM action flick Original Gangstas reunited Williamson with other blaxploitation actors, such as Pam Grier, Jim Kelly, Ron O'Neal, Jim Brown, and Richard Roundtree

fred williamson today

Williamson starred in some of the best 1970s blaxploitation films and was one of the few actors who kept his career going after the genre waned in the late 1970s. He continued his acting career in the 1980s on television and in films, acting in a number of Italian productions including Warrior of the Lost World (1983; with Robert Ginty and Donald Pleasence) and Deadly Impact (1984; with Bo Svenson). In the late 1980s, he also starred in the successful Black Cobra series of films in Italy.

In addition to his career as an actor, Fred Williamson has also served as director, producer, and writer for a number of films. His first film as a producer was Boss (1975; William Smith), and he began his directing career with Mean Johnny Barrows (1976; with Roddy McDowall and Stuart Whitman), a film which Williamson produced and starred in. Since 1975, Williamson has directed about twenty films. His production company which he runs with his wife, Linda, Po’ Boy Productions, continues to turn out films. And he continues to act in films today and, as of January 2013, has six films in production.

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Atomic Eden (2015) with Mike Möller and Lorenzo Lamas
.357 (2013) with Laurie Love, Brian Ames, William Katt, and Shane Dean
Last Ounce of Courage (2012) with Marshall R. Teague and Jennifer O'Neill
The Voices from Beyond (2012) with Joe Estevez
Dropping Evil (2012) with Armin Shimerman
Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption (2011) with Johnny Gel
Hollywont (2010) with Robert Wagner, David Faustino, Dee Wallace, Shar Jackson, and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
Shoot the Hero (2010) with Danny Trejo and Taylor Negron
Revamped (2007) with Jeff Rector, Martin Kove, Billy Drago, Tane McClure, and Anne Lockhart
Fighting Words (2007) with C. Thomas Howell, Michael Parks, and Fred Willard
I Wanna Dance (2007) with James Avery
Crooked (2006) with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, Gary Busey, and Martin Kove
Spaced Out (2006) with Butch Patrick, Robert Z'Dar, and Larry Thomas
Transformed (2005) with Jeremy Flynn
If Love Hadn't Left Me Lonely (2004) with Ice-T, Cindy Herron, Gary Busey, and David Alan Grier
Starsky & Hutch (2004) with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Jason Bateman, and Carmen Electra
Vegas Vampires (2003) with Daniel Baldwin and Bernie Casey
On the Edge (2002) with Gary Busey, Bernie Casey, Jim Brown, Ron O'Neal, and Ice-T
Shadow Fury (2001) with Sam Bottoms, Pat Morita, and Taylor Lautner
Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001) with Mekhi Phifer, Beyonce Knowles, Wyclef Jean, and Bow Wow
Deadly Rhapsody (2001) with Freda Payne, Ice-T, M.C. Hammer, Cindy Herron, and Tone Loc
The Rage Within (2001)
Submerged (2000) with Coolio, Maxwell Caulfield, Nicole Eggert, and Dennis Weaver
Down 'n Dirty (2000) with Bubba Smith, Gary Busey, Tony Lo Bianco, Beverly Johnson, and David Carradine
Active Stealth (1999) with Daniel Baldwin and Andrew Stevens
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) with Alexis Arquette, Eva Mendes, Ahmet Zappa, and David Carradine
Whatever It Takes (1998) with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson and Andrew Dice Clay
Blackjack (1998) with Dolph Lundgren
Ride (1998) with Cedric the Entertainer
Night Vision (1997) with Cynthia Rothrock and Robert Forster
Original Gangstas (1996) with Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Paul Winfield, Isabel Sanford, Richard Roundtree, Ron O'Neal, and Robert Forster
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) with Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Michael Parks, John Saxon, and Kelly Preston
Murder Was the Case: The Movie (1995) with Snoop Dogg
Silent Hunter (1995) with Miles O'Keeffe
South Beach (1993) with Peter Fonda, Gary Busey, Robert Forster, Vanity, Isabel Sanford, Sam J. Jones, and Stella Stevens
Three Days to a Kill (1992) with Bo Svenson, Henry Silva, Van Johnson, and Chuck Connors
State of Mind (1992) with Paul Naschy
Deceptions (1992) with Jason Robards
Steele's Law (1991) with Bo Svenson
Delta Force Commando II: Priority Red One (1990) with Richard Hatch and Van Johnson
Black Cobra 3: The Manila Connection (1990) with Forry Smith
Detective Malone (1990)
The Kill Reflex (1989) with Maud Adams and Bo Svenson
Deadly Intent (1988) with Steve Railsback, Maud Adams, and Persis Khambatta
The Black Cobra 2 (1988) with Nicholas Hammond
Delta Force Commando (1987) with Bo Svenson
Inglorious Bastards 2: Hell's Heroes (1987) with Miles O'Keeffe and Chuck Connors
Black Cobra (1987) with Eva Grimaldi
The Messenger (1986) with Christopher Connelly, Cameron Mitchell, Val Avery, Joe Spinell, Michael Dante, and Peter Brown
Foxtrap (1986) with Christopher Connelly
Half Nelson (1985) with Joe Pesci, Victoria Jackson, Bubba Smith, Morgan Brittany, Rory Calhoun, George Kennedy, Bernie Kopell, and Gary Lockwood
Deadly Impact (1984) with Bo Svenson
Rome 2033: The Fighter Centurions (1984) with Jared Martin
White Fire (1984) with Robert Ginty, Jess Hahn, and Gordon Mitchell
The Big Score (1983) with Nancy Wilson, John Saxon, Richard Roundtree, Michael Dante, and Bruce Glover
The Last Fight (1983) with Ruben Blades, Joe Spinell, and Don King
Vigilante (1983) with Robert Forster, Rutanya Alda, Joe Spinell, Carol Lynley, and Woody Strode
Warrior of the Lost World (1983) with Robert Ginty, Persis Khambatta, and Donald Pleasence; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 300
One Down, Two to Go (1982) with Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, Richard Roundtree, and Joe Spinell
1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) with Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, and George Eastman
Warriors of the Wasteland (1982) with George Eastman
Fear in the City (1981)
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980) with Bruce Lee
Blind Rage (1978) with Tony Ferrer
The Inglorious Bastards (1978) with Bo Svenson
Mr. Mean (1977)
Joshua (1976) with Cal Bartlett
Death Journey (1976) with Bernard Kirby
No Way Back (1976) with Virginia Gregg, Mike Henry, and William Kerwin
Adiós Amigo (1976) with Richard Pryor, James Brown, Mike Henry, and Thalmus Rasulala
Mean Johnny Barrows (1976) with Roddy McDowall, Stuart Whitman, Anthony Caruso, Elliott Gould, and Mike Henry
Take a Hard Ride (1975) with Jim Brown, Lee Van Cleef, Jim Kelly, Barry Sullivan, Dana Andrews, and Robert Donner
Bucktown (1975) with Pam Grier, Thalmus Rasulala, Bernie Hamilton, and Carl Weathers
Boss (1975) with William Smith, R.G. Armstrong, and Don 'Red' Barry
Three the Hard Way (1974) with Jim Brown and Jim Kelly
Black Eye (1974) with Rosemary Forsyth, Teresa Graves, and Richard Anderson
Tough Guys (1974) with Isaac Hayes
Crazy Joe (1974) with Peter Boyle, Paula Prentiss, and Rip Torn
Hell Up in Harlem (1973) with Julius Harris, Gloria Hendry, and Margaret Avery
That Man Bolt (1973) with Teresa Graves
The Soul of Black Charley (1973) with Denise Nicholas, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., and Kevin Hagen
Black Caesar (1973) with Gloria Hendry, Julius Harris, William Wellman Jr., and Val Avery
Hammer (1972) with Bernie Hamilton, Vonetta McGee, and William Smith
The Legend of Black Charley (1972) with Alan Gifford
Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970) with Liza Minnelli, Ken Howard, and James Coco
MASH (1970) with Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Rene Auberjonois, Jo Ann Pflug, Gary Burghoff, and Bobby Troup
Deadlock (1969) with Leslie Nielsen, Aldo Ray, Ruby Dee, Joe Besser, and Dana Elcar

Fast Track, 1997-1998 syndicated TV series. Williamson portrayed Lowell Carter
Half Nelson, 1985 NBC TV series. Williamson portrayed Chester Long
Julia, 1968-1971 NBC TV series. Williamson portrayed Steve Bruce from 1969 to 1971

Pushing Daisies, episode Water & Power, originally aired March 11, 2009
Knight Rider, episode Fly by Knight, originally aired February 11, 2009
Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, episode Daydreaming & Gym, originally aired February 5, 2005
PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, episode All Hallow's Eve, originally aired November 1, 1998
PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, episode The Kiss, originally aired January 1, 1998
Renegade, episode Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, originally aired October 17, 1994
Amen, episode Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, originally aired October 22, 1988
The Equalizer, episode Back Home, originally aired December 18, 1985
The Equalizer, episode Reign of Terror, originally aired December 11, 1985
Lou Grant, episode Violence, originally aired April 6, 1981
Fantasy Island, episode The Pug/Class of '69, originally aired November 24, 1979
CHiPs, episode Roller Disco: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired September 22, 1979
Supertrain, episode Express to Terror, originally aired February 7, 1979
Police Story, episode Thanksgiving, originally aired November 23, 1976
The Rookies, episode Johnny Lost His Gun, originally aired November 4, 1974
Police Story, episode Dangerous Games, originally aired October 2, 1973
The Bold Ones: The Protectors, episode A Case of Good Whiskey at Christmas Time, originally aired September 28, 1969
Star Trek, episode The Cloud Minders, originally aired February 28, 1969
The Outsider, episode The Flip Side, originally aired February 26, 1969
The Bold Ones: The Protectors, episode Deadlock, originally aired February 22, 1969
Ironside, episode Sergeant Mike, originally aired December 12, 1968

fred williamson film now showing

Watch Fred Williamson's 1987 action flick Black Cobra
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This page premiered August 27, 2010.