Ned Beatty might not be the first name one thinks of when they think of sports in the city of Louisville, theatre certainly. Appearing in countless notable films and being a several time Oscar and Emmy Award nominee, the Louisville native who spent much of his formative years in the St. Matthews area is highly accomplished in his field; arguably the most well-known character actor currently working.
In his many films though, he has co-starred in one of the pre-eminent sports films of all-time Rudy. The story of a small young man who wants nothing more than to play football for Notre Dame, despite overwhelming odds against him, Beatty portrays the father of the titular character in the 1993 film.
Drawing on his own Louisville upbringing, playing a hard-working man from Indiana wasn’t a massive stretch for the heartland actor. Indeed, Beatty helped propel the film to its current status as a sports classic, being named the 24th greatest sports film of all time by ESPN, and the 4th greatest by ESPN.com. The American Film Institute actually ranked 54 in their list of the “Most Inspiring Films of all time.”
In addition to his work in Rudy, Beatty portrayed Warden Wyatt in the 1998 basketball film He Got Game, a movie that stared Denzel Washington and received several notable awards. Other Beatty sports vehicles included The Last American Hero, a film about NASCAR driver Junior Johnson and the Burt Reynolds sports comedy Stroker Ace.
Maybe Louisvillians are just drawn to sports in whatever field were in, hard telling either way for the preceding reasons and for so many more Ned Beatty is a sports legend of the Ville.
Image courtesy of Hollywood.com