Bob Penny, an Alabama college professor and actor, who performed small roles in movies including Forrest Gump and Sweet Home Alabama, has died at age 87.

Bob Penny, a longtime former UAB professor and actor who performed in more than 30 films, including “Forrest Gump” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” has died.

Born in Anniston in 1935, Dr. Robert Lynn “Bob” Penny won several awards for his poetry, teaching and acting, including the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence on Classroom Teaching in 1974.

A professor of poetry and prose for 21 years at UAB, Penny was honored with the Birmingham Festival of the Arts’ Silver Bowl Award in 1980 for his poetry in “Prologues to Home.”

During the 1980s, Penny found work on the side acting in TV commercials for a local department store as well as for a United Way campaign in Atlanta.

When he wasn't acting in films, Penny took parts in theatre productions in Birmingham, where he performed onstage in plays including The Odd Couple and Don Juan in Hell.

Penny had done commercials for Birmingham’s Parisian department store in the early 1980s and was teaching English at UAB when he got bitten harder by the acting bug.

“Bob Penny captivated all of our hearts at Birmingham Festival Theatre and put his all into his work,” she said in a statement to