Thursday, September 28, 2017

Seven Things to Know About William Smith--Actor, Bodybuilder, Poet (and more!)

A few months ago, we reviewed the Laredo TV series and were surprised by the number of William Smith comments. That inspired us to do some more research on one of the most intriguing actors of his era. Did you know...

1. William Smith began his acting career as a child appearing in films such as The Ghost of Frankenstein (1940), Song of Bernadette (1943), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945).

2. His fight scene with Rod Taylor in Darker Than Amber (1970) is justly famous for its realism. Taylor broke three of Smith's ribs and Smith broke Taylor's nose. In Tales from the Cult Film Trenches, Smith said: "Rod Taylor is a tough guy. It's the best fight scene I ever worked on."

3. Smith appeared in eleven (!) biker films. In the memorably-titled Chrome and Hot Leather, he appeared alongside his Laredo TV series co-star Peter Brown...and soul singer Marvin Gaye. His favorite biker pic may have been C.C. & Company (1970) because he enjoyed working with Joe Namath and Ann-Margret.

4. He graduated cum laude with a Master's degree from UCLA. He later taught Russian language studies at the university.

5. The 6' 2" Smith is also well-known for his athletic endeavors as a bodybuilder, amateur boxer, discus thrower, martial artist, and skier.

6. In 2009, Smith published The Poetic Works of William Smith. You can read some of his poems at his web site by clicking here.

7. During his lengthy career, William Smith amassed over 270 film and television credits. Some of his most famous roles were in the television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and the films Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, and Any Which Way You Can. The last film pitted Smith against Clint Eastwood in a climatic fist fight--one of the longest in movie history.


  1. I did not know most of that stuff. I don't know if I should feel like a dolt, or feel grateful now that I have been enlightened. I'll go with grateful.

    Thanks for the link to the website. Cool.

  2. I've always enjoyed watching for him in movies, and I particularly like his turn as the bad guy in The Frisco Kid. This was some great info. What a fascinating fellow!

  3. Greatest psycho bad guy in Hollywood history

  4. Loved him from Laredo and followed him from there. It seems he has the longest legs in Hollywood!

  5. Willian Smith is a great friend and a great actor. I have the honor of directing him in my film FORGOTTEN HEROES. One of his best performances of a defecting Russian General in Vietnam. Forgotten Heroes is the only film Willam Smith is in that has never been release. His fans can go to the website and purchase a DVD and see Bill Smith in a heroic role. Bill taught me a lot on how to direct actors he is a great teacher and friend. Read about William Smith in FORGOTTEN HEROES at

  6. The fight scene in "Darker Than Amber" (1970) is the greatest ever committed to film. You can access just the fight scene or the entire uncut (R-rated) movie on Youtube.

    1. I agree! The first time I saw Darker Than Amber and he just explodes into the room for that last brutal fight, he was so evil and violent, I gasped and almost ran from the room! Having met him a few times at fan/trade shows, he is just so gracious and genuinely nice! I might also add that in grade school my friends and I would actually argue over who "got" Ranger Riley. Nobody wanted Reese, and Cooper was a sad second. Those were the days!

  7. From this quote it would appear that he was very modest about his talents: "I've always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation." William Smith

  8. William Smith is the greatest! I always told him he was my hero when I met him over the years! My favorite celebrity!

  9. I've seen this guy, guest starring in many tv shows while I was growing up in the 1980's. I saw him in the movie, "Any Which Way You Can" during it's initial theatrical release in theaters in 1980. I was 6 years old & enjoyed it. Still one of my favorites. I never knew his name till today, when I saw an episode of Laredo. How embarrassing. I've always wondered, was his face damaged in a fire or car accident?
    That doesn't look like normal aging wrinkles...

  10. This man is wholly impressive and accomplished. As legitimate a badass as there is.

  11. He was the baddest biker EVER......