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Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson joins lineup for film festival

Fred "The Hammer" Williamson | Wikimedia Commons
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 9, 2019 10:05 am Updated: Jan. 9, 2019 10:23 am

QUINCY -- The lineup for the inaugural Great River Film Festival continues to take shape.

Former NFL football player-turned-action film star Fred "The Hammer" Williamson is now among the latest to commit to the Oct. 2-5 event, festival director Mike Marx said.

Williamson, 80, also has a history of directing and producing but is arguably best known for his roles in such films as "Hammer," "Hell Up in Harlem," "That Man Bolt," "Black Caesar" and "Three the Hard Way."

Some of Williamson's most memorable characters were B.J. Hammer, Jefferson Bolt and Jagger Daniels.

As a pro football player, the Northwestern product played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs from 1960 to 1967. He was a three-time all-pro selection.

"I was very happy Fred agreed to come. Everything is beginning to take shape," said Marx, a native of Hannibal, Mo., who spent more than 30 years in Hollywood as a talent agent. "We're still waiting to hear from a number of stars. You just have to be patient."

Marx is working in cooperation with the Quincy Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Quality Inn and Suites, 201 S. Third, will be the host venue for the festival that will feature up to and possibly more than 20 current and former movie and entertainment stars.

The festival was originally scheduled for Hannibal in late 2018 but ran into scheduling difficulties that forced postponement and opened the door for relocating to Quincy.

Marx, 75, helped coordinate a similar event for 38 years in Winston-Salem, N.C., before deciding to move it closer to his hometown. During its stay in North Carolina, which ended in 2017, the event was primarily known as the Western Film Festival and Nostalgia Convention.

Other artists who have already committed to the Quincy event are former James Bond girl Lana Wood, Kim Lankford ("Knots Landing"), Lynda Day George ("Mission: Impossible"), Lisa Loring ("Addams Family") and singer Roy Head ("Treat Her Right").

"I'm happy with the variety of stars we already have," Marx said. "It's kind of a waiting game at the moment to see who else we will have. We're currently waiting to hear from a number of folks who are trying to clear time out of their schedules."

Vintage films and assorted nostalgia vendors will be among the other attractions at the festival. Details on times, sites and ticket prices will be released in the near future.

Holly Cain, executive director of the Quincy Visitors and Convention Bureau, said her organization will help with marketing the festival and promoting it through social media.

Cain thinks the nostalgic appeal of the films and the actors who will be on hand should be a huge drawing card, and she is helping coordinate festival events that will tie in downtown sites such as the Washington Theater and the State Room.