RIP Roscoe Lee Browne


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RIP Roscoe Lee Browne

Postby gm » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:03 pm

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Postby tandfman » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:14 pm

That is sad news. I saw him just a few months ago in New York and he seemed fine. He was not a young man, but I had no sense at all that he was ill.

Roscoe Browne (he never used his middle name when he was a runner) was a rarity. A number of prominent actors were track and field athletes when they were in school (I think we've done a thread or two about this). But few were as accomplished in both fields as he was.
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Postby bad hammy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:15 pm

T&F resume, please??
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Postby gh » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:23 pm

Fabulous as the butler who replaced Benson (Robert Guillaume) on Soap.
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Postby AS » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:28 pm

I have strong memories of him in Logan's Run
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Postby AS » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:32 pm

IMDB is claiming "Set a world's record in 1951 at Paris for the 800-meter run."

Doesn't look too likely. Here's the WR progression:

1' 44" 3 Peter Snell, NZL, 02 Feb 62, Christchurch
1' 45" 7 Roger Moens, BEL, 03 Aug 55, Oslo
1' 46" 6 Rudolf Harbig, GER, 15 Jun 39, Milano
1' 48" 4 Sydney Wooderson, GBR, 20 Aug 38, Motspur Park
http://www.athletix.org/statistics/wr800men.htm

His PR appears to have been 1.49.3 from Colombes (Jul 8, 1951)
(Found this at http://trackfield.brinkster.net/)


Yahoo Movies is claiming "Concurrent with teaching, Browne won two American indoor championships in track and the 1951 world championship in the 800 yard dash."

So many ways that last sentence is wrong...

He was definitely ranked #2 in the world behind Arthur Wint in 1951 by TFN (http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/rankin ... anking.pdf)

And he did win the two indoor titles (1950, 1951) over 1000y
http://www.usatf.org/statistics/champio ... /m800m.asp
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Postby louise tricard » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:49 am

roscoe was a member of the ny pioneer club - with joe yancy as his coach.....

used to train with them in ny indoors at an armory (142nd) and outdoors at macombs dam park opposite yankee stadium.....
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Postby dj » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:16 am

There are problems with all the bios on Browne. He was on the Lincoln University track team as a freshman in the spring of 1940, so it's highly unlikely he was only 81 years old when he passed away.

He was on the Lincoln team in 1940, '41 and '42, and returned in 1946 for his final year. I've not found confirmation, but one presumes he was in the service the intervening years.

I'm still looking for confirmation of where he attended high school (Ed Grant, are you out there?), probably in South Jersey. He doesn't appear on the Woodbury HS team list for Penn Relays in '38 or '39. (He was born in Woodbury, which is why I started there.)
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Postby Hedgehog » Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:30 am

Hello Gentlemen. This is from Dr. Z's pro football column over at SI.com

From Jonathan of Queens, N.Y. -- "Any thoughts about the death of Roscoe Lee Browne?" Lots of them, primarily of regret. A few years ago I was going to call him to do a memory lane column. I guess most of you know him from his acting. He won an Emmy and an Obie, plus lots of acclaim for his film roles, usually portraying highly sophisticated characters, often of a sinister bent. But I was going to do a piece about his days as just plain Roscoe Browne, second leg on the great indoor mile relay teams of Joe Yancey's NY Pioneer Club. And I never got around to it, for some reason.

I was a devotee of the indoor track circuit in Madison Square Garden during my high school and college years. Later I covered it, but it never was as good as it was in the old days (you might have heard that phrase before). The bang bang bang of the spiked shoes on the wooden floor as they hit the last turn of the 600, the squeak of the boards, the live military band that would accompany each feature race with a rousing march, the music rocking the walls of the old Garden. Many runners told me that was why they loved running in the Garden so much, the way the band got them jacked up. There was nothing like it.
Indoor running, especially on a cramped, 11-lap to the mile track such as the Garden's, was special. You had to be kind of a roughneck. Experienced runners seldom tried to pass on a turn. There were guys such as Pitt's Mel Barnwell, who was wide and muscular, a perfect indoor runner, who never would let anybody by him on a turn. And the Pioneers were terrific in the Garden.

Forgive my memory. I seem to remember Browne taking the stick from George Rhoden and passing off to Mal Whitfield, who gave it to Herb McKenley for the anchor leg. Browne was the only non-Olympic gold medalist on that great team, but he was a sturdy runner who seldom gave up his position. Are there any old time track fans out there who remember the exact lineup? Did he ever run for the Grand Street Boys as well? Was Reggie Pearman of NYU ever on the relay team with him? Help me out. This was 50 years ago, or more. Memory dims. That's what I wanted to talk to him about, but I blew it, and now he's gone. It's sad.
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Postby tandfman » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:16 pm

Hedgehog wrote:Hello Gentlemen. This is from Dr. Z's pro football column over at SI.com

Forgive my memory. I seem to remember Browne taking the stick from George Rhoden and passing off to Mal Whitfield, who gave it to Herb McKenley for the anchor leg. Browne was the only non-Olympic gold medalist on that great team, but he was a sturdy runner who seldom gave up his position. Are there any old time track fans out there who remember the exact lineup? Did he ever run for the Grand Street Boys as well? Was Reggie Pearman of NYU ever on the relay team with him? Help me out. This was 50 years ago, or more. Memory dims. That's what I wanted to talk to him about, but I blew it, and now he's gone. It's sad.

I grew up in the same era and I remember Roscoe Browne as a runner. But my memory of that relay team is a bit different from his. As I recall, it was a Grand Street Boys team, and Browne wasn't a part of it. It was Andy Stanfield who ran with Rhoden, McKenley, and Whitfield. I don't recall Browne's ever running for the GSB, just the NYPC.

By the way, in addition to being a fan, Dr. Z was, before he worked for SI and devoted his full time to football, the track writer for the New York Post. He was, needless to say, very good.
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Postby dj » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:42 pm

Reggie Pearman ran for the New York Pioneers after his days at NYU, and he and Browne would have been teammates.
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Postby KDFINE » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:38 pm

My 1962 edition of Wally Donovan's "All Time Indoor Track and Field Record Book" provides a list of the best mile relays. In 1954 the N.Y. Pioneer Club ran a 3:17.9 in Madison Square Garden from scratch in a handicap race. Their order was Carty, Bright, Browne and Pearman. it apparently took place in the NYAC Meet, as this order, time and date was listed as the meet record (page 28). Bring back the scratch relay races indoors! Browne's listed as having a best winning 600 time of 1:13.1 from 1948, and a best winning 1000 time of 2:11:0 from 1950 (Boston AA). From the 1962 AAU program I found out that his winning time in the 1951 1000 was 2:14:0. It only gives the winners from 1951 to 1961. The NYPC won the sprint medley relay in 1954, 1955 and 1957 and the mile relay in 1956. He ran for the NYPC in 1954 so he may have been a member of a relay or two. That's it for what I can provide. Browne was retire long before my time, so the only time I saw him run was in Hitchcock's movie "Topaz." One of the responders questioned his being listed as 81 when he died but I read where his age was reported as 84.
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Postby Walt Murphy » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:44 am

Can anyone figure out how to respond to Paul Zimmerman on the SI site?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/dr_z/04/13/mailbag/index.html
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Postby tandfman » Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:13 am

KDFINE wrote:From the 1962 AAU program I found out that his winning time in the 1951 1000 was 2:14:0. It only gives the winners from 1951 to 1961.

His winning time in 1950 was 2:15.6.
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Postby KDFINE » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:07 pm

Oops. Thgrowing out the papers I realized that I misreported that I'd seen Browne was 84 years old. They repeated the age of 81. (Maybe I was confusing Browne with Vonnegut.)
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Re:

Postby coagie » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:43 am

AS wrote:IMDB is claiming "Set a world's record in 1951 at Paris for the 800-meter run."

Doesn't look too likely. Here's the WR progression:

1' 44" 3 Peter Snell, NZL, 02 Feb 62, Christchurch
1' 45" 7 Roger Moens, BEL, 03 Aug 55, Oslo
1' 46" 6 Rudolf Harbig, GER, 15 Jun 39, Milano
1' 48" 4 Sydney Wooderson, GBR, 20 Aug 38, Motspur Park
http://www.athletix.org/statistics/wr800men.htm

His PR appears to have been 1.49.3 from Colombes (Jul 8, 1951)
(Found this at http://trackfield.brinkster.net/)


Yahoo Movies is claiming "Concurrent with teaching, Browne won two American indoor championships in track and the 1951 world championship in the 800 yard dash."

So many ways that last sentence is wrong...

He was definitely ranked #2 in the world behind Arthur Wint in 1951 by TFN (http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/rankin ... anking.pdf)

And he did win the two indoor titles (1950, 1951) over 1000y
http://www.usatf.org/statistics/champio ... /m800m.asp



Actually, he ran the fastest 800 meters in the world in 1951, at 1:49.3. It was not, as you've pointed out, a historical world record, but it was a "world record" for 1951, so, I guess, it's sort of correct to say it was a record. He was quite an impressive runner, and injuries kept him from the Olympics. Anyway he was a "track star", before he was a movie star, winning indoor races in Madison Square Garden, and winning events on tour in Europe. He spoke fluent French and had college degrees, so his track stardom, got him a job with a wine import/export company (his fastest 1951 800 meter time was run in France). He didn't become a professional actor, until he was 35.
Anyway, thought I'd clear this up, because some of the articles and obituaries on Roscoe Lee Browne are not clear about his track days, some even calling the race "800 yards" instead of 800 meters. He was also a World War Two veteran, who served in Italy. Impressive guy, really. I read a comment on a forum, from a patron of the bar that Roscoe frequented, and he indicated, that Roscoe was a down to earth, regular guy. A very humble man for an star athlete, who was also a star actor.
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Re: RIP Roscoe Lee Browne

Postby gh » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:12 am

not quite true. Track statisticians recoginize the fastest 2-lapper in the world for '51 as Arthur Wint, who ran 1:49.6 for 880y, which is worth 1:48.9 for 800 meters, 0.4 faster than Browne's 1:49.3.
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Re: RIP Roscoe Lee Browne

Postby Jackaloupe » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:12 pm

it was a Grand Street Boys team, and Browne wasn't a part of it. It was Andy Stanfield who ran with Rhoden, McKenley, and Whitfield

That's right, and RB was Pioneer all the way. Great recall from all those MSG days: Sound "bites", tight turns and all. Glad someone followed Mel Barnwell from Boys High to Pitt, where I'd lost his trail; Arnie Sowell was the smooth Pitt 880 runner who doubtless met RB many times, as did OlyChamp, Fordham's Tom Courtney.

All those GSBs save Whitfield showed up at an exhibition 300 yds. during Milt Campbell's first National Decathlon Championship at his homefield, Plainfield, NJ, in 1953. Perfect matchup of 200m Champ w/ the two best 400m runners of the time (Wint was better suited to 800m)
[A composite statue of the three original Jamaican greats graces the entry to the Jamaican National Stadium!]
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Re: RIP Roscoe Lee Browne

Postby dj » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:48 am

Jackaloupe wrote:[A composite statue of the three original Jamaican greats graces the entry to the Jamaican National Stadium!]


The aluminum statue is really a composite of the four runners from the Jamaican 1952 4x4 gold medal team: McKenley, Rhoden and Wint as well as Les Laing.
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Re:

Postby CookyMonzta » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:42 am

tandfman wrote:
KDFINE wrote:From the 1962 AAU program I found out that his winning time in the 1951 1000 was 2:14:0. It only gives the winners from 1951 to 1961.

His winning time in 1950 was 2:15.6.

Did he ever hold the indoor WR for 1,000y?
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Re: Re:

Postby dj » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:09 pm

CookyMonzta wrote:
tandfman wrote:
KDFINE wrote:From the 1962 AAU program I found out that his winning time in the 1951 1000 was 2:14:0. It only gives the winners from 1951 to 1961.

His winning time in 1950 was 2:15.6.

Did he ever hold the indoor WR for 1,000y?


No. You might be thinking of John Borican (2:08.8 in '39) or Arnie Sowell (2:08.2 in '55). The one WR in between was set by Don Germann (2:08.2 in '52).
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Re: Re:

Postby kuha » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:13 pm

dj wrote:John Borican (2:08.8 in '39)


I'm surprised to be reminded that the record was that good that early.
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Re: Re:

Postby tandfman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:53 pm

coagie wrote:Actually, he ran the fastest 800 meters in the world in 1951, at 1:49.3. It was not, as you've pointed out, a historical world record, but it was a "world record" for 1951, so, I guess, it's sort of correct to say it was a record.

No, it's not.
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