He played linebacker at the collegiate level for Long Beach City College and San Diego State University. He then went on to play for the NFL's Oakland Raiders from 1970 to 1971 and the CFL's B.C. Lions from 1971 to 1974.
His first acting roles were in blaxploitation films directed by Arthur Marks in 1975.
He has been married and divorced three times and he has two sons named Jason and Matthew.