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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's role in 'Airplane' was originally written for Pete Rose

The pinnacle of Pete Rose's career in the entertainment industry was almost a hilarious role in the classic 1980 comedy "Airplane!" It's true.

An oral history of "Airplane!" recently published by the A.V. Club is informative if not exhaustive. It includes incredibly interesting morsels of information, like that David Letterman read for the part of Ted Striker, and that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's role as Roger Murdock was originally written for Rose.

David Zucker: That was another lucky break that we got, because Kareem himself was not the first choice for that role. We actually wrote it for Pete Rose.

Jim Abrahams: I'm not sure if Pete Rose actually accepted the role or not, or if we'd even gotten the green light from Paramount to use him. We may never have even sent him the script. I just know that we ended up having to film in August, so he was still in the middle of baseball season.

Oh, what could have been.

RosePilot

Though, we guess Rose had better things to do that summer, as he hit .331 for the 1979 Phillies that summer. The following year -- when "Airplane!" was released to theaters -- Rose and the Phils won the 1980 World Series.