Quentin Tarantino dubbed William Smith the King of the Biker Films and I have to agree. Many come close but in my book Smith is hands down the best. I would go a little further than Tarantino and say that Smith was one of the best over all villans of the 1970’s. When he wasn’t popping up in biker films he was guest appearing in many of the most popular films and T.V. shows of the 1970’s.
Usually cast as the tough bad ass villan and most of the time he out shines his fellow cast members. Look for him in older episodes of Kung Fu, Mission Impossible, Columbo, Hawaii Five O, SWAT, Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team. In addition to acting Smith was a talented stunt man and actually performed many of his own stunts. Oh yeah and if you have ever seen “Conan the Barbarian” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Smith plays his father.
Few people are aware that Smith speaks 5 languages. Flew top-secret NSA and CIA missions over Eastern Europe and Russia during the Korean War. After the War he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Finally he completed his academic studies at UCLA graduating Cum Laude with a Masters Degree in Russian. He became a champion body builder and then thought he would try his hand at acting. One of his first gigs was portraying “The Marlboro Man” in one of the most popular ad campaigns of all time.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Smith and his wife in Burbank, California. Really a down to earth couple. He is still running strong after 60 years in Hollywood. Smith has recently published a book of his poetry,”The Poetic Works of William Smith“. William Smith is 77 years old now but still a guy you wouldn’t want to mess with.
Smith carries this scene from CC & Company despite having to work with a very weak Joe Namath performance.