Photo of James Brown James Brown

Born in the working-class town of Barnwell, S.C., on May 3, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, singer-songwriter James Brown was orphaned at age 4 and spent much of his childhood on the streets.

It was a chance meeting with R&B vocalist Bobby Byrd during a stint in reform school that would ultimately change Brown's life, transforming a fast-talking juvenile delinquent into the undisputed "Godfather of Soul."

While Brown will undeniably be remembered for his influential musical style and trademark vocals, his persona remains immortal thanks to small but memorable roles in films and television, including The Blues Brothers (1980), Rocky IV (1985), "Miami Vice" (1987) and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998). He died on Dec. 25, 2006, at the age of 73.

James Brown in The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

1980 R

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd lay waste to Chicago as the title characters, a pair of two-bit crooks on a quest to save the Catholic orphanage where they were raised by reuniting their former band for a charity gig.

  • James Brown in Rocky IV Rocky IV
  • James Brown in The T.A.M.I. Show The T.A.M.I. Show
  • James Brown in Going My Way Going My Way
  • James Brown in The Tuxedo The Tuxedo
  • James Brown in Blues Brothers 2000 Blues Brothers 2000
  • James Brown in Quadrophenia Quadrophenia
  • James Brown in When We Were Kings When We Were Kings
  • James Brown in Air Force Air Force
  • James Brown in The Night James Brown Saved Boston The Night James Brown Saved Boston
  • James Brown in Undercover Brother Undercover Brother
  • James Brown in James Brown: Live in Concert James Brown: Live in Concert
  • James Brown in James Brown: Live at the Boston Garden James Brown: Live at the Boston Garden
  • James Brown in Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Music Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Music
  • James Brown in James Brown: Live at Montreux 1981 James Brown: Live at Montreux 1981
  • James Brown in James Brown & BB King: One Special Night James Brown & BB King: One Special Night
  • James Brown in A Night of Super Soul A Night of Super Soul
  • James Brown in James Brown: Live in East Berlin James Brown: Live in East Berlin
  • James Brown in 270 Miles From Graceland: Bonnaroo 2003 270 Miles From Graceland: Bonnaroo 2003
  • James Brown in Paper Chasers Paper Chasers
  • James Brown in ames Brown at Chastain Park ames Brown at Chastain Park
  • James Brown in Soul Power Soul Power