Ernie Barnes, a renowned artist and former pro football player, has died in Los Angeles, according to published reports. He was 70.
Barnes played for the Denver Broncos in 1964 and 1965. He grew up in Durham, N.C. and was an art major at North Carolina Central University.
It was the TV sitcom “Good Times” that brought major attention to Barnes’ artistic talents. His painting, “Sugar Shack,” was featured during the opening credits and theme song.
Comedian Eddie Murphy is said to have bought the painting for $75,000 from the Marvin Gaye estate.
In the NFL, Barnes was said to have sometimes sketched the defensive linemen he would face the next Sunday. He said the drawings helped him prepare.
In a 1995 interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Barnes was quoted as saying: “The gift that athletics gave me was an enhancement of my sensory perceptions and an understanding of what the body feels like in movement. In a way, football was an advanced art class for the study of human anatomy.”
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