|Date of birth:||July 21, 1956|
|Place of birth:||Florence, South Carolina|
|Date of death:||April 24, 1987(aged 30)|
|Place of death:||Hampton, Virginia|
|NFL Draft:||1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 28|
|Playing stats at|
Larry Bethea (July 21, 1956 – April 24, 1987) was an American football defensive lineman who played six years in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He later played for the Michigan Panthers, Oakland Invaders and Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League. He played college football at Michigan State University.
In 1976 he earned second-team Big Ten All-conference recognition.
Bethea still holds the school records for career sacks (33) and sacks in a season (16).
Bethea was rumored to have a drug abuse problem dating back to his college days, and cocaine addiction was blamed for the problems he had during his adult life.
His troubles with the law began in 1985 when he pleaded guilty to setting three fires in Mount Rainier National Park in Paradise Washington. He was ordered to pay $1,000 to the park to cover the cost of fighting the fires.
In 1986, he was jailed on charges of assaulting his wife and stealing his mother's life savings of $64,000. In 1987, he was given a suspended four-year prison term for stealing. The judge also ordered Bethea to serve two years on probation while repaying the money.
In the final incident, on April 24, 1987, police were called by an unidentified source who said the former football player had robbed two convenience stores. Bethea, 30, was later found in a friend's backyard with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his right temple and a .38-caliber automatic pistol near his body. He was taken to Hampton General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:08 a.m. The gun used in the shooting and the two robberies was believed to be a weapon that was reported stolen from a parked vehicle in the city.
- Bethea Apparent Suicide, AP Published: April 24, 1987 - New York Times