101 Stories: Anthony Muñoz

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years.

Anthony Muñoz

In 1994 and 1999, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati had a GIANT casting coup! Cincinnati Bengal Pro Football Hall of Famer, Anthony Muñoz, agreed to star as The Giant in TCT’s MainStage production of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK. The show also featured Broadway star, Pam Myers. 

Anthony Muñoz is one of Cincinnati’s true sports icons. Considered by many as the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, Muñoz has a record of excellence that is unrivaled in Professional Football. An eleven-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Muñoz is the only Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in Cincinnati Bengals history. Since retiring, Anthony and his family have remained in Cincinnati, where Muñoz has served as one of the community’s most accessible and involved advocates. 

A Southern California native, Anthony excelled in football, basketball, and baseball at Chaffey High School. He received a football scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he led the Trojans to the 1978 National Championship. Throughout his career at USC, he earned All-American and All-Conference awards. 

Despite his skill and brilliant performance, Muñoz battled multiple injuries, including three knee surgeries that almost ended his career. His faith, family, and sheer will helped him overcome the setbacks. His diligent workout routine and commitment to fitness paved the way for a remarkable professional career in which he missed just three games in his first 11 years in the NFL. 

Anthony was selected by the Bengals as the third overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft, and instantly became one of the league’s premier lineman. He led the team to two Super Bowls, three AFC Central Division titles, and two AFC Championships (1981 and 1988). 

Following his retirement, Muñoz received the ultimate honor for an athlete. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first attempt on the ballot. In August of 1998, Muñoz was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He selected his son, Michael, to introduce him at the induction ceremonies. 

Recently The Cincinnati Bengals introduced their Ring of Honor and Anthony Muñoz has been selected as one of the four legends to make up the inaugural class.  

Anthony Muñoz as The Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk

A devoted husband of 42 years and father, Anthony and his wife, Dede, are the proud parents of Michael and Michelle as well as the grandparents of nine. 

We were recently able to catch up with Mr. Muñoz and he said: 

“…It had to do with young people, so that is why I first agreed to perform with TCT. It was something I have never done before, but I wanted to give it a shot!” 

He continues: “It was a lot of rehearsals and hard work to put on this production; however, with my work ethic as an NFL player, I wanted to commit that same effort to TCT. I knew whatever time I needed to put into it, I would put into it. I didn’t see the full effect of The Children’s Theatre’s impact until my first performance in front of a live audience and was able to witness the children’s reactions and engagement with the show. Also within the casting of young people in their shows – I saw these kids developing and their passion for theatre growing throughout the process. I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and said yes to this opportunity.” 

Would you honor Anthony Muñoz with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?