One of the most charismatic action stars, Fred is known for coming at you hard in-your-face action. True to his image, you can find him presently doing exactly that in Down ‘N Dirty, his second in a series of films in which he stars as street-wise Dakota ‘Dak’ Smith (first starred as “Dak’ in Night Vision – which he received the Dallas Forth-Worth Film Critics Assoc. Award).
A 1960 graduate of Northwestern University in Architectural Engineering, Fred was also well-schooled on the football field by Coach Ara Parseghian. After university, her went on to become an All-Pro defensive cornerback, earning the nick-name “The Hammer.” Playing for the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, Fred had the distinction of playing in Super Bowl One.
Arriving in Hollywood in 1972, he was immediately signed to play the lead opposite Dianann Carroll on her TV series “Julia.” He move fast up the ladder, Spearchucker Jones was his character is the classic Robert Altman film M*A*S*H, then he was in Otto Preminger’s Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon with Liza Minnelli. Working with Altman and Preminger sparked Fred’s interest in directing and producing. He studied the technical end of the business and launched his Po’ Boy Productions in 1974.
However, his rugged, athletic physique made him a natural for energetic roles and he quickly established himself as a street wise, tough guy in films including That Man Bolt (1973), Boss Nigger (1975), Black Caesar (1973), and Mean Johnny Barrows (1976). Since then directing and starring in close to 40 films under the Po’ Boy banner.
Po’ Boy has expanded from the seventies classics such as Three The Hard Way (1974) and One Down One To Go (1982), to films with more slick action like South Beach, with Peter Fonda (1993). Po’ Boy has widen its base to include many international co-productions as well, resulting in exotic locations and talent. From this he has gained a substantial world-wide following as well experience in foreign sales. No stranger to television, Fred has tackled a wide variety of genres on television. Winning an Emmy nomination for his work on “Police Story,” he had a recurring role on “The Equalizer” and had a regular co-starring role with Joe Pesci in the Glen Larson series “Half Nelson.” His lighter side has been a hit on shows from “Amen” to “The Jamie Foxx Show,” and his quick wit has made him a favorite on shows such as “Politically Incorrect.” Fred was one of the original pitchmen for Miller Lite Beer, and more recently in a series of popular Reebok commercials. For years he was the national spokesman for Anheuser-Busch’s King Cobra Malt Liquor. Fred maintains Canadian status, allowing him to work in “Canadian content” projects. He was a regular (and sometime director) on the Toronto-based Showtime/Alliance series “Fast Track” (TV Series) and starred with Dolph Lundgren in John Woo’s BlackJack (1998) for Miramax.
He is a member of the DGC (Directors Guild of Canada) and directed and starred in Silent Hunter (1995) shot on location in Quebec. He resides in Palm Springs along with his wife, Linda. He is an avid golfer. Below is a gallery of Fred Williamson Movie Poster Art that is in the collection of The Museum of UnCut Funk.