Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Donald Gibb is best known for two major roles: Ray "Tiny" Jackson in 1988's Bloodsport and "Ogre" in 1984's Revenge of the Nerds. And while these two high-profile films cemented the image of Gibbs' lovable mug in the collective subconscious, he has actually appeared in scores of other films and television shows. Like Don Swayze, he did his stints on Hunter and Renegade, but the rest of his television credits read like a virtual who's-who of awesome shows in the 80's and 90's. Among others: The A-Team (1983), Magnum, P.I. ('82-'83), Knight Rider (1984), The Facts of Life (1987), 227 (1989), Night Court (1990), MacGyver (1991), Quantum Leap (1992), and a semi-regular role (as "Slasher") on Step By Step from 1993-1998. GODDAMN!
From Donald Gibbs' Myspace page: "Jean-Claude Van Damme is a douchebag. Just so you know."
But it was his portrayal of the cheap-beer-swilling, head-crushing biker Tiny Jackson that truly made me a fan. He has played many similar roles since (he is often typecast as the "bad-ass biker guy" due to his size, tattoos, and long hair), but "Tiny" was the highlight of Bloodsport for me - a good-natured, ass-kicking rocker who simply oozed "Bro".
How did Don get his start in the movies, you ask? Funny story. He was an uncredited extra in a triumverate of ruling movies: Any Which Way You Can in 1980, Stripes in 1981, and CONAN THE FUCKING BARBARIAN in 1982. It seems that awesome movies were simply "in the cards" for Mr. Gibb.
Below: Don poses with Frank Dux, CIA special agent and martial arts master behind the "true story" known as Bloodsport. If you've got a couple hours to spare, look into Frank Dux's "life story" (hint: HOAX). Go ahead. Start here.
Donald Gibb was raised in California, but attended the University of New Mexico on a basketball scholarship. Being the badass that he is, he eventually decided football was cooler and transferred to the University of San Diego to play it there. He even joined a fraternity.
Like fellow 'Semi-Obscure Action Star of the Week' alumnus Fred Dryer, Don went pro with the San Diego Chargers for a spell, but soon decided that acting was his thing.
Playing supporting roles in movies like Meatballs Part 2 (1984), Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), Jocks (1986), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), and 2 of the 3 Revenge of the Nerds sequels, Gibb was never awarded a starring spot, although he did co-star as Dan Storm in American Tigers (1996 - above left). A particularly curious film that he also co-starred in was 1993's Breakfast of Aliens, the story of "lovable loser" Walter Clydepepper, an aspiring comedian who accidentally eats an alien in his cereal one morning and becomes a hilarious (and deadly) insult comic. You can rent (or buy) this amazing film online here.
Did I mention that a microbrewery in Chicago makes "Ogre Beer" in honor of Gibb's long-pissing character in Revenge of the Nerds? Because they do.
And it's delicious.
Gibb as "Tiny" Jackson in Bloodsport, using brute force to dispatch an opponent:
Here's a clip of Don from the TV show Step By Step, dancing in a tutu with Alan Thicke:
Next Week: JIM KELLY!