Frank McRae, 'License to Kill' Actor and NFL Alum, Dead at 80

Frank McRae, best known for his role as Sharkey in the James Bond film License to Kill, died in Santa Monica, California on April 29 due to a heart attack. He was 80 years old. The actor's daughter-in-law confirmed the news to Variety. Robert Davi, who worked with the actor on the film reacted to the news on Twitter saying, "Saddened to hear of the passing of FRANK McRae a gentle soul - I remember his sense of humor and joy while we filmed License to Kill! Condolences to family and friends."

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, McRae attended Tennessee State University where he double-majored in drama and history. Though, before he became known as a prolific big man in entertainment, McRae had a brief career in the NFL playing as a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams.

After walking away from the field, McRae chose to take his talents to another arena. With a film career spanning 30 years, McRae starred in over 40 films. With his strong build and tall physique, he landed "tough guy" parts in Hard Times, Big Wednesday, and F.I.S.T. with Sylvester Stallone. He also worked with Stallone through the 70s and 80s in Paradise Alley, Lock Up, and Rocky II. McRae played Reed Youngblood, the grinning inmate who assisted John Dillinger's (Warren Oates) prison escape, in the 1973 film Dillinger.

Outside of the harder roles (he also played a police officer on four occasions from 1982 to 1983), he was also cast in a number of comedies like National Lampoon's Vacation, Batteries Not Included, and Used Cars. He also starred in Bank Shot (1974) opposite George C. Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Last Action Hero in 1993, where he poked fun at his 48 Hours role. His TV career included hit shows such as Hill Street Blues, Police Story, The Rockford Files, Magnum, P.I., and Quincy M.E.


McRae leaves behind his son Marcellus, and his grandchildren Camden, Jensen, and Holden. Those looking to donate can send donations in memory of the late actor to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.