Birth Date: March 24, 1934 / Age: 79
Birth Place: Columbia, Missouri, USA
Biography: William Smith (born 1934) is an American actor.
Smith was born in Columbia, Missouri, on March 24, 1934. He worked as a child actor, but is best known as an adult low-budget action star for playing bikers, cowboys, tough-guys, and villains. He is especially infamous as Falconetti on the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man. The macho 6'2" inch 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 arm-wrestling championship of the world multiple times and held 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 brawn, 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 PhD 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, Serbian/Croatian, Yugoslavian, 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 took away his security clearance.
One of his best known roles was as a Texas Ranger on 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 in Any Which Way You Can, the barbarian's father in Conan the Barbarian and a Russian commander in Red Dawn, but his starring roles typically had titles the likes of Grave of the Vampire, Invasion of the Bee Girls, and The Swinging Barmaids. Big Bill 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.