After playing football at USC, Reb Brown began his acting career in 1973 appearing in the film SSSSSSS & in The Girl Most Likely to.... He moved forward to appear in guest starring roles in several Universal Studios-produced television series, including Emergency!, Marcus Welby, M.D., Kojak and The Rockford Files.
He also played Captain America in two made-for-TV films/unsuccessful series pilots during the late 1970s, part of the same Marvel Comics/Universal Studios/CBS network development deal that yielded the Lou Ferrigno vehicle, The Incredible Hulk.
In the film, Big Wednesday (1978), Brown played the role of Enforcer. He landed the supporting role of the only white member of the team in the college basketball comedy, Fast Break (1979), starring Gabe Kaplan.
Reb Brown landed his first lead role in the 1983 cult classic Yor, the Hunter from the Future, which won him a Worst Newcomer award at the 4th Golden Raspberry Awards. In 1983, he played Blaster, a Vietnam vet character, who trains with other vets in a POW rescue operation in Uncommon Valor.
Critical acclaim for Brown came in the Australian Death of a Soldier (1986), which was based on a true story. Starring James Coburn, Brown received a nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role by the Australian Film Institute for his portrayal of Private Edward Leonski.
Brown later starred with Lou Ferrigno playing Vietnam War veterans/buddies in a pair of action films, Cage (1989) and Cage II (1999). Brown also appeared in Bruno Mattei's Strike Commando (1987) and Robowar (1988).
Brown has continued his career moving between television and feature films. He is perhaps best known for portraying the main character, Dave Ryder in Space Mutiny, (1988), which was featured in a well known episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Brown is also known for his one-liners, though they are generally regarded as being too clunky and forgettable (the penultimate line of Strike Commando was the rather long-winded These Russian dentists make some pretty good dentures), or for being poor imitations of previous one-liners from the characters Reb is parodying (a famous example being in Robowar, where Reb mimics Arnold Schwarzenegger's line of 'stick around with the far less memorable dont move).
Reb Brown appeared in a third-season Miami Vice episode Viking Bikers From Hell. He was cast as a sociopathic biker, avenging his buddy's recent death.
Brown most recently co-starred in the movie The Deli, and made a guest appearance on the short-lived TV series The Players, which starred co-creator and rapper Ice-T, in the episode Con-traband.