Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Johnson set world records in the decathlon three times amid a fierce rivalry with his UCLA teammate C.K. He had protected his friend. He was 86. On June 5, 1968, Johnson was working on Kennedy’s presidential campaign when the Democratic candidate was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. 39,333, This story has been shared 37,040 times. “His devotion to Uncle Bobby was pure and real. No cause of death was announced. As a freshman at UCLA, where he received academic and athletic scholarships, Johnson won gold at the the 1955 Pan Am Games, and set a world record of 7,985 points. In 1958, he was elected student body president, the third Black to hold the office in school history. Yang was his primary competition in Rome. He died at his home in LA. No cause of death was announced. At UCLA, Johnson played basketball for coach John Wooden, becoming a starter on the 1958-59 team. The decathlete died at his home in Sherman Oaks, LA, on Wednesday and his death was confirmed by family. In the turbulent summer of 1968, he found himself working on the White House campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Kennedy. : Devine, Chrissy Teigen slammed for 'tone deaf' inauguration tweet, 24 sweet Valentine's Day gift ideas for kids of all ages, 10 best women’s loungewear sets that are as cute as they are comfortable, 10 best lingerie brands of 2021 — and where to buy for Valentine's Day, Land your dream job in 2021 with these 10 apps that are now on sale, You can get Coach Outlet's surprise Valentine's Day collection for up to 65 percent off, Staten Island guy freaks out holding a fish, Aaron Rodgers' dating history: His ex-girlfriends and rumored flings. He was 86. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. “He stood for what he believed in and he did it in a very classy way with grace and dignity,” said fellow US Olympic champion Janet Evans, a swimmer. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. During his junior year of high school, Johnson’s coach took him to Tulare to watch Mathias compete in a decathlon, an experience Johnson later said spurred him to take up the grueling 10-event sport. Rafer Johnson of the United States, from center, finishers the fourth heat of the decathlon 100 meter dash at the Olympics in Rome, Italy on Sept. 5, 1960. LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. Johnson’s teammate Milt Campbell, a virtual unknown, gave the performance of his life, finishing with 7,937 points to win gold, 350 ahead of Johnson. Our American Athlete and Actor, Rafer Johnson died of complications from a stroke at the age of 86, on December 2, 2020. “That was one of the things I loved about him. Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. Rafer Johnson’s body had grown weak but his spirit was undimmed the last time he attended a Special Olympics breakfast at Long Beach State.That was … Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Born Rafer Lewis Johnson on Aug. 18, 1934, in Hillsboro, Texas, he moved to California in 1945 with his family, including his brother Jim, a future NFL Hall of Fame inductee. He was 86. IE 11 is not supported. He was 86. A car accident and subsequent back injury kept Johnson out of competition during 1959, but he was healthy again for the Olympics in 1960. Johnson married Elizabeth Thorsen in 1971. Johnson joined former NFL star Rosey Grier and journalist George Plimpton in apprehending Sirhan Sirhan moments after he shot Kennedy, who died the next day. From the mid-1950s through the early-1960s, Johnson established himself as among the world’s best all-around athletes — a run that started while he was still a teen. He put the lit torch to a cauldron and ignited not just a flame, but a legacy that has endured for more than three decades. The Texas-born, California-raised Johnson was seemingly destined for athletic greatness, playing football, basketball, baseball and track and field in high school. “He stood for what he believed in and he did it in a very classy way with grace and dignity,” Olympic champion swimmer Janet Evans said by phone. Off the field, Johnson gravitated to acting, sportscasting and humanitarian work. Terms of Use Josh competed in javelin at UCLA, where he was an All-American. He died … 50,432, This story has been shared 39,333 times. December 2, 2020 | 5:42pm | Updated December 2, 2020 | 5:43pm, Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights “I knew he did everything he could to take care of Uncle Bobby at his most vulnerable moment,” Kennedy’s niece, Maria Shriver, said Wednesday. Rafer Johnson, the famed Olympian who won gold and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday at age 86. He won silver, finishing behind fellow American Milt Campbell — while hampered by a pulled stomach muscle and a strained knee. At a welcome home meet afterward in Kingsburg, California, he set his first world record, breaking the mark of two-time Olympic champion and his childhood hero Bob Mathias. Johnson worked for the Peace Corps, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association and American Red Cross. Yang won six of the first nine events, but Johnson led by 66 points going into the 1,500 meters, the decathlon’s final event. No cause of … We've received your submission. We invite you to share condolences for Rafer Johnson in our Guest Book. Johnson won over the Soviet audience with his gutsy performance in front of what had been a hostile crowd. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The great decathlete and humanitarian Rafer Johnson died at age 86. His Olympic career included carrying the U.S. flag at the 1960 Games and lighting the torch at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to open the 1984 Games. LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. Rafer Johnson, Actor: Licence to Kill. “He really was an extraordinary man, such a loving, gracious, elegant, humble man who handled his success in such a beautiful way and stayed so true to himself throughout his life.”, Peter Ueberroth, who chose Johnson to light the Olympic torch in 1984, called him “just one great person, a marvelous human being.”. He served on the organizing committee of the first Special Olympics in Chicago in 1968, working with founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He was 86. Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. He began acting in movies, including appearances in “Wild in the Country” with Elvis Presley, “None But the Brave” with Frank Sinatra and the 1989 James Bond film “License to Kill.” He worked briefly as a TV sportscaster before becoming a vice president at Continental Telephone in 1971. Rafer Johnson, a vaunted decathlete who won Olympic gold for the US at the 1960 games and later tackled the assassin of Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, died Wednesday. In 1956, Johnson won the national decathlon championship and a spot on America’s squad for the Olympic games in Melbourne, Australia. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. leads pallbearers as they carry Senator Kennedy's casket to the gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. He was 86. At 6-foot-3 and 200-plus pounds, he looked more like a linebacker than a track and field athlete. On July 28, 1984, Johnson carried the Olympic torch up 99 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum stairs. Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy´s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. Rafer Johnson, a Los Angeles legend who won the 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medal, helped organize the 1984 Games in L.A. and wrestled the gun from Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin … As a freshman at UCLA, Johnson dominated the 1955 Pan American Games, winning gold while setting records in the international gauntlet. Johnson died at his Los Angeles home, according to family friend Michael Roth, who did not disclose the cause of death. LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. They eventually settled in Kingsburg, near Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley. He was 86. Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy's assassin in 1968, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. It was less than 25 miles from Tulare, the hometown of Mathias, who would win the decathlon at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics and prove an early inspiration to Johnson. He died at … He didn’t want credit.”. “Rafer really paved the path for many of us to understand the responsibilities that come with being a successful athlete and the number of lives you can impact and change,” Evans said. He was 86. He was 86. Kuznetzov, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist who the Soviets called their “man of steel,” broke Johnson’s world record in May 1958 with 8,016 points. LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. No cause of death was announced. Privacy Notice He was 86. LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. “He stood for what he believed in and he did it in a very classy way with grace and dignity,” an Olympic athlete recalled. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. Johnson, Yang, and Kuznetzov had their way with the record books between the 1956 and 1960 Olympics. In 2016, he received the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest award for extraordinary accomplishments. This story has been shared 50,432 times. Yang earned silver and Kuznetsov took bronze. Johnson won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1955 while competing in just his fourth decathlon. 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Rafer Johnson, in full Rafer Lewis Johnson, (born August 18, 1934, Hillsboro, Texas, U.S.—died December 2, 2020, Los Angeles, California), American athlete and actor, who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.. Johnson competed in his first decathlon in 1954 as a sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and in 1955 he won the gold medal … The Texas-born, California-raised Johnson was seemingly destined for … He was 86. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. Evans last saw Johnson, who attended her 2004 wedding, at a luncheon in his honor in May 2019. In 1984 Johnson lit the Olympic flame for the Los Angeles Games. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to … He was 86. Thanks for contacting us. Besides his wife of 49 years and children, he is survived by son-in-law Kevin Jordan and four grandchildren. A distinguished American athlete and occasional actor with many other strings to his bow, Rafer Johnson was a UCLA basketball star who went on to become Pan American decathlon champion in 1955, a two time decathlon silver medallist at the Melbourne Olympics (despite injuries) and winner of gold four years later in Rome. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. Jenny was a beach volleyball player who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is on the coaching staff of UCLA’s beach volleyball team. He was 86. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, … Johnson was a standout student and played football, basketball, baseball and track and field at Kingsburg Joint Union High. 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