Drew Bundini Brown

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Drew Bundini Brown
Born(1928-03-21)March 21, 1928
Midway, Florida
DiedSeptember 24, 1987(1987-09-24) (aged 59)
Los Angeles County, California
Occupationathletic trainer, boxing cornerman, valet, actor
Spouse(s)Rhoda Palestine (divorced)
Children2 sons, Drew Bundini Brown III (with Palestine)
Ronald David Jackson (with blues singer Ruth Brown)
 
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Drew Bundini Brown
Born(1928-03-21)March 21, 1928
Midway, Florida
DiedSeptember 24, 1987(1987-09-24) (aged 59)
Los Angeles County, California
Occupationathletic trainer, boxing cornerman, valet, actor
Spouse(s)Rhoda Palestine (divorced)
Children2 sons, Drew Bundini Brown III (with Palestine)
Ronald David Jackson (with blues singer Ruth Brown)

Drew Bundini Brown (March 21, 1928 – September 24, 1987) was an assistant trainer and cornerman of Muhammad Ali throughout the former heavyweight champion's career,[1] as well as occasional film actor. He was portrayed by Jamie Foxx in the film Ali.

Early life[edit]

Brown, who was born in Midway, Florida, and raised in nearby Sanford, Florida, and dropped out of junior high school after the eighth grade. The strapping young Brown, who had matured rapidly during puberty, was able to lie about his age and join the Navy as a messboy at age 13.

Career[edit]

Discharged two years later, he would become a United States Merchant Marine, and would spend 12 years traveling the world, later becoming a part of Sugar Ray Robinson's entourage as a cornerman.[2]

Brown joined Ali's entourage as a cornerman in 1963,[3] when the boxer was known as Cassius Clay, and remained with him until his final fight in 1981.[1]

Brown was also one of Ali's speech writers. He wrote certain poems, including that which coined Ali's famous and oft quoted:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.

Ali used the poem to taunt Sonny Liston at the press conference prior to his February 25, 1964 victory over the WBA and WBC champion to claim both titles.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In the early 1950s, while living in Harlem, New York, Brown met and married Rhoda Palestine, a white woman of Russian-Jewish extraction. Through this relationship, Brown would eventually convert to Reform Judaism. They married at a time when interracial relationships and marriages were considered by many as taboo (and which were still illegal in some southern states), and had one son, Drew Brown III (born January 20, 1955, in Harlem).

According to the autobiography of singer Ruth Brown (no relation),[4] he was also the true father of her son Ronald David Jackson ("Ronnie"), though he was unaware of this during the boy's childhood.

His son Drew III later joined the United States Navy and became a Medium Attack Bomber pilot flying the A-6 Intruder. He won numerous awards for his service, and made U.S. military history as the only Black Jew to ever fly off of a Navy aircraft carrier. He then went on to write a bestselling book titled You Gotta Believe and became a nationally known speaker.[1][5]

Brown died in 1987 from the effects of a car accident. He pinched a nerve in his spine in the crash and subsequently suffered a serious fall at home from which he never recovered. He was visited by Ali on his deathbed.[6]

Filmography[edit]

as Actor[edit]

as Self[edit]

Archive footage[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]