Drew Bundini Brown
|Died||September 24, 1987 (aged 59)|
|Occupation||athletic trainer, boxing cornerman, valet, actor|
|Rhoda Palestine (divorced)|
|Children||2 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, as well as occasional film actor. He was portrayed by actors Bernie Mac and Jamie Foxx in the films Don King: Only in America, and Ali respectively.
Brown, who was born in Midway, Florida, and raised in nearby Sanford, Florida, 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. Discharged two years later, he would become a United States Merchant Marine, and would spend 12 years traveling the world.
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, rumble young man rumble."
In the early 1950s, while living in Harlem, New York, Brown met and married Rhoda Palestine, whose family was Russian-Jewish. 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 had one son, Drew Brown III (born January 20, 1955, in Harlem).
His son Drew III later joined the United States Navy and became a Medium Attack Bomber pilot flying the A-6 Intruder. He then went on to write a bestselling book titled You Gotta Believe and became a nationally known speaker.
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.He had one brother, Elbert James Brown who also was raised by his father Drew Brown Sr.