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Sunday, May 31, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jackson Bad As He Wants To Be -- Acting Gives Ex-Hawk Chance To Be Unruly

AP

SPOKANE, Wash. - Since his days with the Washington Huskies and Seattle Seahawks, Michael Jackson has been a drug addict, a convict and a gun-wielding villain.

"It's been absolutely great, this is what I really want to do," the former linebacker said.

Jackson's change of face, however, has been on the screen rather than in real life. The roles have come in his second career as a television and movie actor.

"I've been typecast as a real derelict," Jackson, who lives in Mill Creek, told The Spokesman-Review and Spokane Chronicle newspapers. "And that's great because there's a dark side to all of us and it's really neat to let that come out in a character and get really gross with it."

In his six years off the football field, Jackson, 34, has appeared in four movies, including "Look Who's Talking Too," and television shows including "Wiseguy," "21 Jump Street," MacGyver," `"treet Justice" and `"he Commish."

His most recent recurring role was in a series called "Lightning Force," which allowed Jackson to rely on his football instincts.

"It was like `The A-Team' but with way more violence," he said.

The series didn't catch on with viewers, though, and he is waiting for his next role.

Jackson is hoping his accomplishments on the screen can match up to his achievements on the football field. The Pasco High School graduate made his name at UW, where he headed a defense that helped the Huskies to the 1978 Rose Bowl.

With the Seahawks, Jackson led the team in tackles from 1980 through 1983. Knee injuries slowed him down, and his eight-year pro career ended in 1986.

"When I got out of football, I was wondering what I was going to do that would give me the same kind of rush that football did," Jackson said. "And when I got into acting, I knew that was it."

"He has studied a great deal and become a seasoned performer," said Dee Schilling-George, Jackson's Seattle-based agent. "He's reached the point where he's an actor instead of just a football player-turned-actor."

At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, Jackson is about 20 pounds heavier than in his playing days. He lifts weights in part so he can win acting roles as a tough guy.

The change from football to acting hasn't been a huge switch for Jackson.

"The main thing is that I'm not afraid of being in the public eye," he said. "That's something I learned from - forgive me for saying this - from being an idol of sorts. I'm not bashful about being in the limelight."

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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