In the late 80s, Lynn "Red" Williams was a well-known football player and American Gladiator. He has been in many commercials, TV shows, and movies since his time on American Gladiators. In the 1990s he even had a part in Mortal Kombat. And he disappeared from public life for some time, at least from the bright public eye that marked his early fame.
Where did he go? And what is he up to now?
In this post, we’ll take a look at what happened to Red Williams over the last twenty years of his life and today. We’ll learn about how he got into acting, why he chose that path instead of continuing his football career or starting up another business venture as most athletes do, what he’s been up to since his time on American Gladiators, and where to see him today.
Who is Lynn "Red" Williams?
Lynn "Red" Williams was born in 1963 in Omaha, Nebraska. His family later moved to Los Angeles and was a member of the infamous gang known as the "Bloods" during his youth. He credits his mother, the park sports leagues and a football scholarship for saving him from the gang life.
As a young man, he was also a talented athlete. He became a well-known high school running back, and he turned his success on the field into a spot at Kansas University and earned a coveted All Big-Eight spot.
He went directly from college to the NFL upon graduation. He was drafted fifth by the L.A. Rams and played with them for a year before transferring to the Raiders and then the San Diego Chargers.
Williams suffers tragic reversals
Things were looking up for Williams. He won prestigious awards and was on his way to making it big. But everything changed when a series of terrible tragedies struck him.
In 1988, Williams was injured in a terrible accident at practice. A fellow member of the Chargers accidentally hit him on his blind side during a scrimmage. The hit was devastating. It led to a broken bone in his back, permanently ending his football career.
Then, just three years later, Williams’ nephew was shot in the back 28 times by a SWAT team. These two tragedies profoundly impacted Williams. Losing both his promising football career and his beloved family member in such a short span of time was enough to send anyone into depression.
Yet, things were not over for Williams – his luck was about to turn.
Sabre And American Gladiators
Williams was working at his day job as a marketing representative for a health maintenance company. It was a normal day for him at his office in LA. Then, his wife mentioned that a new show called American Gladiators was offering tryouts. This could be a big chance for him!
The show American Gladiators is a bit like a cross between football and American Ninja Warrior. It features amateur athletes competing to perform feats of strength and agility live in front of massive audiences and a panel of celebrities. It was immensely impactful and changed much about American culture at the time. It was a shared experience that many Americans enjoyed.
Williams went to the audition and was chosen as one of the contestants, beating out over 600 other competitors who also wanted the coveted position. At 6’2" and 230 pounds, Williams was able to use all of his dexterity and skill from his time as a professional football player to defeat the competition and earn his spot.
Williams was on the show from 1992 to 1996, then starred in the spin-off show International Gladiators, which was based in Birmingham, England. At the time he was on the show, Williams could bench 550 pounds, held a black belt in Karate, and wrote music for the show too. He was known as "Panther" for one season, then "Sabre" after his first year.
When the show ended, Williams continued to hone his gladiatorial skills by appearing in the American Gladiators’ in-person performances that appeared in other parts of the country.
It’s worth noting that the gladiators did not make a ton of money from their participation in the show. At the show’s beginning, they earned only $800 per episode (the union-mandated minimum) in addition to their chance at the prize pool for the show. Although this pay was ultimately raised, the gladiators were not paid as well as professional athletes in some sports, like football.
Post- American Gladiators Career
After his time on the show, Williams went on to get many small roles in TV shows, movies, and music videos.
He was on shows like Family Matters, Renegade, and Babylon 5.
He also starred as Jax in the movie "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation." Interestingly, he starred alongside fellow Gladiator Deron McBee, who was known as "Malibu."
Williams starred as Jax in the sequel video called "Mortal Kombat: Federation of Martial Arts" too. This movie came out in 2000 and received very limited publicity and press.
In the Mortal Kombat films, Williams did all his own stunt work. This was especially impressive when one considers that he had to wear a costume that weighed 40 pounds and featured inflexible metal arms.
In 2004, Williams starred in "Middle Man," but then disappeared from the public eye once again. To many observers, this indicates that he is likely retired from acting.
What Is Lynn Red Williams Doing Now?
These days, Williams spends lots of time with his wife Rhonda and his three children, Lynn II, Lavell, and Lauren.
He is also involved as part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to teaching students about the constitution and how it works in the United States.
He is also passionate about cancer research and spends time with the Cancer II Foundation.
He enjoys speaking at schools and feels his time as an athlete on Gladiators and his work as an actor and football player can make him a positive role model for those growing up in difficult circumstances like many of his early days.
In 2016 Lynn started the Point Blank Ministries – Name Above All Names Fellowship Group and is a Spiritual Counselor.
In an interview he did with Jim Conlan, Lynn mentions that he has retired from acting and is a spirtual teacher now of Yahweh
Lynn also mentions in the same interview that he grew up in the Bruce Lee era and that him and all his friends took some type of martial arts lessons in his youth. Hs first martial arts lessons were with Chuck Norris at the Chuck Norris Studios in Torrance, California
We may yet see more of him and his famous career as an athlete, actor, and mentor to America’s youth – only time will tell.
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