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William Smith

William Smith

William Smith is an American actor. He worked as a child actor, but is best known for his numerous roles in low-budget action films playing bikers, cowboys, tough-guys, and villains. He is possibly best-known for playing Falconetti on the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man. The physically imposing 6'2" actor was a lifelong bodybuilder and had the distinction of being the final Marlboro Man before the cigarette ads were discontinued on TV.

Smith won the 200 pound (91 kg) arm-wrestling championship of the world multiple times and also won the Air Force weightlifting championship. At one time he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for reverse-curling his own bodyweight. His trademark arms measured 18 and 1/2 inches. Smith held a 31-1 record as an amateur boxer and studied martial arts with kenpo instructor Ed Parker for several years. Smith also played semi-pro football in Germany and competed in motocross and downhill ski events. He entered films stunt doubling for former screen Tarzan Lex Barker in a French film.

Going against his rough-hewn image, Smith was also highly educated. He held a BA from Syracuse and a Master's Degree in Russian Studies from UCLA. He even taught Russian at UCLA before abandoning his Ph.D. studies for an MGM contract. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Munich while learning languages courtesy of the military. Smith was fluent in Russian, Serbo-Croatian, French, and German. During the Korean War he was a Russian Intercept Interrogator and was awarded a Purple Heart. He had both CIA and NSA clearance and intended to enter a classified position with the U.S. government, but married a French actress which meant he lost his security clearance.

One of his best known roles was as a Texas Ranger the popular 60's TV Western Laredo. He also replaced James MacArthur on the final season of the long running Hawaii Five-O series. On film he played Clint Eastwood's bare-knuckle nemesis Jack Wilson in Any Which Way You Can, the barbarian's father in Conan the Barbarian and a Russian commander in Red Dawn, he also appeared in the 1983 classic film The Outsiders as a store clerk, but his starring roles typically had titles such as Grave of the Vampire, Invasion of the Bee Girls, and The Swinging Barmaids. Smith also played in several biker flicks including C.C. and Co., where he starred as the menacing Moon, opposite football great Joe Namath and Ann Margret. Smith has also made guest appearances in numerous tv shows.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.

William Smith Facts

BirthdayMarch 24, 1934 (87)
BirthplaceColumbia, Missouri, USA
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is William Smith compared to you?

Selected Filmography

USS Indianapolis: The Legacy
The Firm
Deep Impact
Trading Places
Where Hope Grows
Beverly Hills Cop III
Cheaper By The Dozen 2
The Day After Tomorrow
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