Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer and philanthropist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics and turned professional later that year. He became a Muslim after 1961. He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset on February 25, 1964, at age 22. On March 6, 1964, he announced that he no longer would be known as Cassius Clay but as Muhammad Ali. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and ethical opposition to the Vietnam War. He was found guilty of draft evasion so he faced 5 years in prison and was stripped of his boxing titles. He stayed out of prison as he appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971, but he had not fought for nearly four years and lost a period of peak performance as an athlete. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation, and he was a very high-profile figure of racial pride for African Americans during the civil rights movement and throughout his career. As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI). He later disavowed the NOI, adhering to Sunni Islam, and supporting racial integration like his former mentor Malcolm X.Ali was a leading heavyweight boxer of the 20th century, and he remains the only three-time lineal champion of that division. His joint records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified title bouts stood for 35 years. He is the only fighter to have been ranked as the world's best heavyweight by BoxRec twelve times. He has been ranked among BoxRec's ten best heavyweights seventeen times, the third most in history. He won 8 fights that were rated by BoxRec as 5-Star, the third most in the history of the heavyweight division. Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He has been ranked the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, and as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury. He was involved in several historic boxing matches and feuds, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, such as the Fight of the Century and the Thrilla in Manila, and his fight with George Foreman, known as The Rumble in the Jungle, which has been called "arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century" and was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide, becoming the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time. Ali thrived in the spotlight at a time when many fighters let their managers do the talking, and he was often provocative and outlandish. He was known for trash-talking, and often free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of hip hop.Outside the ring, Ali attained success as a musician, where he received two Grammy nominations. He also featured as an actor and writer, releasing two autobiographies. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and focused on religion, philanthropinism and activism. In 1984, he made public his diagnosis of Parkinson's syndrome, which some reports attribute to boxing-related injuries, though he and his specialist physicians disputed this. He remained an active public figure globally, but in his later years made fewer public appearances as his condition worsened, and he was cared for by his family. Ali died on June 3, 2016.
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. ( KASH-əs) was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He had one brother. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who had a sister and four brothers and who himself was named in honor of the 19th-century Republican politician and staunch abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay, also from the state of Kentucky. Clay's father's paternal grandparents were John Clay and Sallie Anne Clay; Clay's sister Eva claimed that Sallie was a native of Madagascar. He was a descendant of slaves of the antebellum South, and was predominantly of African descent, with some Irish and English family heritage. Ali's maternal great-grandfather, Abe Grady, emigrated from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland. DNA testing performed in 2018 showed that, through his paternal grandmother, Ali was a descendant of the former slave Archer Alexander, who had been chosen from the building crew as the model of a freed man for the Emancipation Memorial, and was the subject of abolitionist William Greenleaf Eliot's book, The Story of Archer Alexander: From Slavery to Freedom. Like Ali, Alexander fought for his freedom.His father was a sign and billboard painter, and his mother, Odessa O'Grady Clay (1917–1994), was a domestic helper. Although Cassius Sr. was a Methodist, he allowed Odessa to bring up both Cassius Jr. and his younger brother, Rudolph "Rudy" Clay (later renamed Rahman Ali), as Baptists. Cassius Jr. attended Central High School in Louisville. He was dyslexic, which led to difficulties in reading and writing, at school and for much of his life. Ali grew up amid racial segregation. His mother recalled one occasion when he was denied a drink of water at a store—"They wouldn't give him one because of his color. That really affected him." He was also strongly affected by the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, which led to young Clay and a friend taking out their frustration by vandalizing a local rail yard. His daughter Hana later wrote that Ali once told her, "Nothing would ever shake me up (more) than the story of Emmett Till."Ali was first directed toward boxing by Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin, who encountered the 12-year-old fuming over a thief's having taken his bicycle. He told the officer he was going to "whup" the thief. The officer told Clay he had better learn how to box first. Initially, Clay did not take up Martin's offer, but after seeing amateur boxers on a local television boxing program called Tomorrow's Champions, Clay was interested in the prospect of fighting. He then began to work with trainer Fred Stoner, whom he credits with giving him the "real training", eventually molding "my style, my stamina and my system." For the last four years of Clay's amateur career he was trained by boxing cutman Chuck Bodak.Clay made his amateur boxing debut in 1954 against local amateur boxer Ronnie O'Keefe. He won by split decision. He went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union national title, and the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Clay's amateur record was 100 wins with five losses. Ali said in his 1975 autobiography that shortly after his return from the Rome Olympics, he threw his gold medal into the Ohio River after he and a friend were refused service at a "whites-only" restaurant and fought with a white gang. The story was later disputed, and several of Ali's friends, including Bundini Brown and photographer Howard Bingham, denied it. Brown told Sports Illustrated writer Mark Kram, "Honkies sure bought into that one!" Thomas Hauser's biography of Ali stated that Ali was refused service at the diner but that he lost his medal a year after he won it. Ali received a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the torch to start the games.
Movies & TV shows
1 Movie · 1 TV show
70 Years of Youth Revolt
A look back at the social movements, revolts and youth subcultures from the post-war period to the present day: after the World War II, the left-bank of Paris became a mecca for jazz and alternative l...
Da 5 Bloods
Four African-American Vietnam veterans are returning to Vietnam. They are searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. These heroes are confronted by the ...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
What's My Name | Muhammad Ali
Ali had recordings of his own voice. The two-part documentary paints an intimate portrait of a man who was a beacon of hope and a symbol of humanity and understanding in his later years.
How African artists have spread African culture all over the world, especially music, since the harsh years of decolonization, trying to offer a nicer portrait of this amazing continent, historically ...
Black Is Beltza
New York City, October 10, 1965. A group of wooden giant figures from Pamplona, representing Basque culture and traditions, parade down the street; but the local authorities have not allowed the appea...
The Champ and the King
On February 14, 1973 Elvis presented Muhammad Ali with an 'Elvis Style' robe emblazoned with the words, 'People's Choice' on the back in rhinestones and jewels. The wording was a mistake as Ali was kn...
Andre the Giant
An ambitious and wide-ranging documentary about his upbringing in France, his celebrated career in wrestling, and his time in the entertainment world.
1 TV show
O.J.: Made in America
The rise and fall of American football star, O.J. Simpson, from his days growing up in Los Angeles to his murder trial that polarized the country.
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest
Hear from the people who knew him best, from experts of the world of boxing, relive the legendary fights and explore the life of boxing's greatest symbol, Ali.
I Am Ali
Access to Muhammad Ali's personal archive of "audio journals" as well as interviews and testimonials from his inner circle of family and friends are used to tell the legend's life story.
Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
The Supreme Court battle of Muhammad Ali was not open to the public. When Ali was drafted into the Vietnam War at the height of his boxing career, his claim to conscientious objector status led to a c...
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Brash boxer Cassius Clay burst into the American consciousness in the early 1960s, just ahead of the Civil Rights movement. His transformation into the spiritually enlightened heavyweight champion Muh...
Norman Mailer: The American
Norman Mailer was a provocateur, a rebel, a performer, and a true American. The documentary goes beyond the Mailer of the bookshelves and NY Times best seller list to Mailer the social critic, family ...
WWE: Undertaker 20-0 - The Streak
The path he can't be buried is dark and hallowed. The Apocalyptic Warrior denied salvation to twenty souls in order to forge an eternal streak. The dynasty of The Deadman is forever changed in The Str...
The Real Rocky
Chuck Wepner is from New Jersey. He was abused by Sonny Liston, got his nose broken by Muhammad Ali, and inspired the movie "Rocky" which won three Academy Awards. After being left out of the "Rocky" ...
When Ali Met Cathal
In advance of his fight with Al ‘Blue’ Lewis at Croke Park in Dublin, Cathal O’Shannon interviews Muhammad Ali about boxing, and his life outside the ring. When a fight is coming up Muhammad Ali (form...
Ten of Muhammad Ali's former rivals pay tribute to the three-time world heavyweight champion.
Muhammad and Larry
In October of 1980 Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the t...
The Night James Brown Saved Boston
On April 5, 1968, soul legend James Brown performed a concert in Boston that many say shielded that city from the kinds of devastating riots that ripped other cities apart after the assassination of M...
Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami
Documentary chronicles the many ways in which the city of Miami helped transform little-known Olympic boxing into world-renowned, three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Archival footage and int...
Soul Power is a 2008 documentary film about the Zaire 74 music festival in Kinshasa which accompanied the Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight boxing championship match between Muhammad Ali and George For...
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Thompson was a free lance who wentring sacred cows with impunity, hilarious, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. The film has never-before-seen home movies, audiotapes, and passages from u...
Thrilla in Manila
On October 1, 1975, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali was in the ring with his arch rival Joe Frazier for the third time. This fight in the Philippines, which has been nicknamed "Thrilla ...
After the death of his employer, Frank Lucas was the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He buys heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and then comes up wit...
Legends Never Die
Death Has Fallen on Deaf Ears in the World of Professional Sports. Step into the ring and watch all the action as fists fly when Legendary Wrestlers Roddy Piper, Bruno Sammartino, Mick Foley, Dominick...
Jack Paar: Smart Television
PBS documentary examining the work of Jack Paar.
The Last Round: Chuvalo vs. Ali
Get a ringside seat for one of the most unforgettable fights in the history of boxing with this documentary that explores the legendary match between Muhammad Ali and Canadian underdog George Chuvalo ...
The Documented Life and Times of Muhammad Ali - The Greatest
Charting the life and times of Muhammad Ali, this documentary begins in Louisville, Kentucky, the birthplace of the future World Heavyweight champion and follows his career from his first amateur figh...
America: A Tribute to Heroes
A benefit concert and telethon organized by George Clooney and broadcast by the four major television networks just 10 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Penta...
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration
The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special was held in New York City. On September 7, 2001 and September 10, 2001 it happened. In 2001, CBS aired a two-hour special about Michael Jackson's last yea...
Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World
A kid just said it. He said it with poetry. James Earl Jones said, "I don't mean just the poems that he wrote but with the poetic energy, the poetic spirit." Through the eys of the world is a unique a...
Champions Forever - World Heavyweight Champs!
Previously unseen footage, seeing and hearing the champions interviewed and talking to each other at a private dinner party hosted by baseball’s legendary great, Reggie Jackson. Ali, Frazier, Foreman...
Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme
From neighborhood ciphers to the most notorious MC battles, "Freestyle: the Art of Rhyme" captures the electrifying energy of improvisational hip-hop--the rarely recorded art form of rhyming spontaneo...
Muhammad Ali - The Greatest Collection
Ali's greatest fights in full length with original microphone 1. I Shook Up the World: Clay vs. Liston (1964) 2. Rumble in the Jungle: Ali vs. Foreman (1974) 3. Thrilla in Manila: Ali vs. Frazier III ...
The Best of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts
Dean Martin hosts a video series that highlights memorable moments. "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" were a series of specials in the 1970s and 1980s that roasted famous people, such as Muhammad Ali and...
B.B. King: Live In Africa '74
In 1974, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held their heavyweight title fight in Zaire, billing it as the "Rumble in the Jungle". A three-day music festival was staged concurrently, and B.B. King was th...
Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion
The remarkable story of the man who was voted the greatest boxer in history is told in this sports documentary. Spanning his career from the early Depression-era days until his death in 1989, this spe...
3 Movies · 1 TV show
Muhammad Ali The Whole Story
Muhammad Ali. He is known as the most thrilling athlete of all time... he is known as The Greatest. The remarkable story of how he became one of the most loved, hated, intriguing, and controversial fi...
The Journey of the African-American Athlete
Documentary feature exploring the rise of African-Americans to positions of greatness in American sports. Stories are told of boxers, tennis players, runners, and basketball players, athletes who eith...
When We Were Kings
It's 1974. Many people think Muhammad Ali is past his prime. George is ten years older than the champion of the world. Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million d...
Kings of The Ring - History of Heavyweight Boxing 1919-1990
"Kings of the Ring - History of Heavyweight Boxing 1919-1990" celebrates boxing's marquee division. It begins with Jess Willard's victory over Jack Johnson in Cuba and goes through the Mike Tyson era....
WCW Halloween Havoc 1994
Halloween Havoc took place in Detroit in 1994. The Steel Cage career was the main event. There was a career match between Hogan and Flair. The Guardian Angel vs Vader was one of the matches. There is ...
Naked Sport: Welcome to the Sewer
The darker side of boxing was explored in this documentary. Interviews with Evander Holyfield, Teddy Atlas, Dan Duva, Kathy Duva, Lou Duva, Bobby Czyz, Bob Arum, Mike Marley and even Muhammad Ali are ...
No other film has the sweeping review of Ali's greatest fights, the legendary fight footage, and the real time relevant comments and conversations with the men who made him "The Greatest." Muhammad Al...
At the John Dillinger prison, Duke Jarrett is sent to jail. The prison is more or less ruled by the prisoners.
The first professional wrestling pay-per-view event took place in New York City. There were professional wrestling matches on the show. T against Paul Orndorff.
In 1870's Virginia, Muhammad Ali plays an ex-slave who gets elected to the U.S. The Senate is located in Washington D.C. The land they tended all their lives was kept by other former slaves and white ...
Leon Spinks vs Muhammad Ali II
Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II, was a professional boxing match contested on September 15, 1978, in New Orleans for the WBA and Lineal Heavyweight Championships. The fight was estimated to have been ...
The greatest is a 1977 film about the life of a boxer. The movie was directed by Tom Gries and Monte Hellman. Whitney Houston made a remake of the song "Greatest Love of All". The movie follows Ali's ...
Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III
The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World, fought at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon Ci...
In 1971, maverick filmmaker William Greaves trained his cameras on both Muhammad Ali and his opponent, Joe Frazier, ahead of the “Fight of the Century” at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The epic ba...
The Rumble in the Jungle: George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali
The Rumble in the Jungle was a historic boxing event in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974. Held at the 20th of May Stadium (now the Stade Tata Raphaël), it pit...
a.k.a. Cassius Clay
The study of crazy brilliance and flamboyant sincerity. a.k.a. Cassius Clay presents a fascinating look at the incredible life and achievements of one of the most courageous, outspoken and charismatic...
The Super Fight
Retired, undefeated Heavyweight World champion Rocky Marciano and the then current undefeated Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, sparred together with the footage then being edited to the instructions...
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest
Universally accepted as a true icon of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali’s phenomenal achievements spanned sport, politics and religion. One man – photographer William Klein had comprehensive access to t...
1 TV show
The Dick Cavett Show
The Dick Cavett Show is a talk show hosted by Dick Cavett on various television networks.
Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston II
The World Boxing Council ordered a second bout because of the ending of the first one. The World Boxing Association stripped Ali of his title. The fight was delayed for six months because Ali needed e...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The Merv Griffin Show
The Merv Griffin Show is an American television talk show, starring Merv Griffin. The series ran from October 1, 1962 to March 29, 1963 on NBC, September 20, 1965 to August 15, 1969 in first-run syndi...
Requiem for a Heavyweight
Mountain Rivera is at the end of his boxing career after a knockout by Cassius Clay in the seventh round. His left eye is one punch from permanent trauma, his ears turned to cauliflower, his speech sl...
An in-depth look at the life of boxer, Muhammad Ali, including his years as an activist and philanthropist.
Boxing's Greatest Champions
Boxing Writers of America selects the best fighters of all time in each weight division and then selects the greatest fighter of all time. Action footage of Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad...
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