In the 1980s, actor Donald Gibb made a name for himself playing imposing tough guys in two wildly different genres – raunchy teen comedies and martial arts action films. But what happened to Gibb after his iconic roles in Revenge of the Nerds and Bloodsport?
Born in New York City on August 4th, 1954, and raised in California, Donald Richard Gibb excelled in sports, earning a basketball scholarship and joining Phi Delta Theta at the University of New Mexico before transferring to the University of San Diego to play football and basketball, and briefly playing professionally for the San Diego Chargers.
A severe automobile accident causing double vision and a basal skull fracture ended his sports career, leading him to pivot to acting.
His first roles would be minor, uncredited appearances in some movies playing tough guys. This includes Any Which Way You Can in 1980, Stripes in 1081, and Conan the Barbarian in 1982.
His imposing frame would land him many roles that required a big, mean-looking person. Despite this, he seems to be gentle and well-liked by his co-stars. He made a career playing tough characters, but he appeared to be genuinely nice.
1st & Ten
One of his most significant television series roles was the HBO sitcom 1st & Ten. This was HBO’s first significant foray into the world of sitcoms with fewer restrictions than network television. The football sitcom ran from 1984 to 1991 with over 80 episodes. Donald Gibb would play the character of Leslie “Dr. Death” Crunchner across most episodes.
Revenge of the Nerds
However, Donald Gibbs may be best known for the Revenge of the Nerds franchise. He would appear as Frederick Aloysius "Ogre" Palowaski in 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds and then again later in 1987’s Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise. He would reprise the role a final time in the television film Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love in 1994.
In the 1988 martial arts film “Bloodsport,” Donald Gibb portrayed the role of Ray Jackson, an American fighter who befriends Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character, Frank Dux, as they compete in the underground full-contact tournament known as the Kumite.
Donald Gibb would reprise the role of Ray Jackson in the 1996 sequel Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite. This action film was directed by Alan Mehrez and starred Daniel Bernhardt, Pat Morita, Donald Gibb, and James Hong. The film had a limited theatrical release.
After playing the wild-haired Ray Jackson in the 1988 martial arts film Bloodsport, Donald Gibb’s acting career shifted away from action and toward comedy. Rather than build on his tough guy persona, Gibb often took roles that poked fun at his imposing physicality, frequently portraying lovable oafs, bimbos, and thugs.
Through the 1990s, he made appearances in comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Steve Harvey Show, and Boy Meets World. Gibb even spoofed his own Bloodsport character with a turn as Zangief in 1994’s Street Fighter.
What is Donald Gibb doing now?
Donald Gibb has taken a step back from the limelight of acting and ventured into the entrepreneurial world of the brewing business. As the co-owner and spokesman for Trader Todd’s, a popular Chicago bar, Gibb has embraced his iconic “Revenge of the Nerds” persona, promoting the establishment’s signature “Ogre Beer.”
His involvement with the bar goes beyond mere ownership; he makes monthly appearances to mingle with patrons, offering fans a chance to meet the man behind the legend.
For those who can’t make it to Chicago, Gibb extends his larger-than-life personality through personalized Cameo messages, delighting fans by delivering greetings both as himself and in character as the beloved Ogre.
Donald Gibb has maintained a private personal life, sharing it closely with his wife, Jacqueline Bauer, whom he married in June 1981.
In a rare personal revelation during a 2017 interview, Gibb shared that he and Jacqueline are parents to a daughter named Olivia, who was four years old at the time.