Vale – Muhammad Ali


Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of all time, and one of the most iconic people of the 20th Century, has passed away.

Born Cassius Clay in 1942, Ali is best known for his sporting prowess in the art of boxing; a pugilist who became (self titled) “The Greatest”, he gained fame not only for his skill with his fists, but for the trash talk he spoke and the honest, driven manner in which he led his life. A three-time world heavyweight champion, Ali’s greatest fights include those against Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, bouts which have transcended sport to become enduring pop-culture mythology.

Muhammad Ali posing with Will Smith, who portrayed the boxer in the 2001 film Ali.
Muhammad Ali posing with Will Smith, who portrayed the boxer in the 2001 film Ali.

In later life, Ali became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, objecting to being drafted by the US military and becoming a polarising figure in political debate at the time. He converted to Islam (changing his name to Muhammad Ali) and was married four times during his life. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, a degenerative condition thought to be conspicuous in boxers following head-trauma in the ring. His death was said to be of a respiratory arrest due to the effects of the disease.

On a cinematic-front, Ali appeared in the 1996 Academy Award-winning documentary on his bout with George Foreman, When We Were Kings, and was famously portrayed by Will Smith in Michael Mann’s 2001 bio-pic, Ali.

At the time of his death, Muhammad Ali was 74.

Muhammad Ali knocks down his opponent in the ring.
Muhammad Ali knocks down his opponent in the ring.

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  1. I'm still smarting over this one. If you're interested he's had a big impact on the cinematic world, too. He played himself in his biopic "The Greatest." Of course, Will Smith played him in "Ali." He appeared in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" back in the early 60s. There have also been lots and lots of documentaries about him.
    My recent post On My Mind: Lady Ghostbusting Controversy

    • Indeed! Most of our local television networks have gone with some of the many documentaries about Ali over the last week. It's been great to see such a legend honoured by so many.

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Never blessed with a body worthy of a porn star, nor being the heir to a wealthy industrialists fortune, nor suffering the tragedy of having his parents murdered outside a Gotham theater, Rodney is, contrary to popular opinion, neither Ron Jeremy, JD Rockefeller, or Batman. As a serious appreciator of film since 1996, Rodney's love affair with the medium has continued with his online blog, Fernby Films, a facility allowing him to communicate with fellow cineasts in their mutual love of all things movie.

Vale – Muhammad Ali

by Rodney Twelftree
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