T Nation

Actor William Smith


#1


Does anyone remember this guy? He has been in tons of movies (almost always a villain) and tv shows. He is probably best known as Conan's father and as Clint Eastwood's nemesis in "Any Which Way You Can". One of my favorite roles was the pilot episode of The Rockford Files where he plays a thug/martial artist. He had an awesome physique, good looks and a laundry list of accomplishments.....

Appeared in the final episode of Batman (1966).

Lifetime Achievement Award from Academy of Bodybuilding and Fitness

Record-holder for reverse-curling his own body weight.

2 Time Arm Wrestling World Champion-200lb class-Petaluma, CA

Served in the Airforce, National Security Agency, during the Korean War.

Graduated UCLA Cum Laude.

He was the Marlboro Man in the final televised Marlboro commercial.

Fluent in English, Russian, German, French, Serbo-Croatian.

Competed as a downhill skier in AAU events at Mammoth Mountain

Competed in motocross events with Steve McQueen and doubled as one of the track riders in C.C. & Company (1970).

Had a 31-1 record as an amateur boxer

Held the Air Force Light-Heavyweight Weightlifting Championship

Performed over 5,100 continuous sit-ups over a five hour period

Played semi-pro football for the Wiesbaden Flyers in Germany

Has a Masters Degree in Russian and taught Russian Language Studies at UCLA in the late 1950s.

Won a Muscle Beach contest by performing 35 inverted handstand dips

Honorary member of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures.

Direct descendant of Western figures Kit Carson and Daniel Boone.

Bruce Lee personally offered Smith the co-lead in Enter the Dragon (1973), but another film went over schedule and John Saxon stepped into the role.

Filmed an eight-minute test pilot portraying Caine for the TV series Kung Fu (1972), wearing prosthetic eyepieces to make him appear Chinese. The network wanted Smith for the role, but producer Jerry Thorpe ultimately deemed him too muscular and menacing.

Studied kung fu for eight years with Jimmy Woo and kenpo karate master Ed Parker.

Stunt doubled for former Tarzan Lex Barker while living in France.

Turned down the role of Tarzan at MGM.

Training partner of first Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott.

Fought California wildfires in the early 1950s

Worked as a lifeguard on the French Riviera

Worked as a trainer at Bert Goodrich's Hollywood Gym

Child actor in both "A" and "B" movies of the 1940s. He stated in a horror magazine that during breaks on the set of The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), star Lon Chaney Jr., treated all of the children on the set to ice cream.

Threw the discus 151 feet at a time when the top AAU distance was 150.6 feet.

Won the Light-Heavyweight German-Austrian Boxing Championship while in the service.

In 1942's The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), he plays the boy who throws the little girl's ball to the top of the roof. This role marks the first of his many appearances as a villain.

Has a master's degree in Russian.

His favorite writer is Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Recipient of the 2008 Silver Spur Award.

Recipient of the 2005 Southern California Motion Picture Council Award.

Inducted into the Venice Muscle Beach Bodybuilding Hall of Fame 2010.

Bill Smith is also a most accomplished bull whip master. In a 2011 History Channel special on "Marksmen" he was chosen as "the most skilled bull whip master known today." In several feats of skill & accuracy he demonstrated among other things, how the tip at the end of a bull whip goes supersonic just before it pulls the flame off a candle. The "crack of the whip" sound is the result of the tip going supersonic & breaking the sound barrier, as was demonstrated in "slo-mo" video.

Auditioned for a role in Django Unchained (2012).


#2

On his birthday, the candles blow him.

Seriously though, what an impressive life.
How did you find out all that information on him ?


#3

Hell of a life. Turned down the role of Tarzan?! Man, that role alone would have changed the course of his career,… of course it’s not like it doesn’t sound like he’s had one hell of a life so far.

I wonder how useful being a whipmaster is in day to day life. Totally unrealistic, but growing up I had all sorts of crazy dreams about being Indiana Jones and using my whip and totally cooler than coolness to make even everyday activities badass.

S


#4

Will Smith? Ya I’ve heard of him. Loved him in Independence Day.


#5

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
Training partner of first Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott.[/quote]
In The Wild Physique, Vince Gironda wrote about some of his Hollywood clients. Of Bill Smith, he wrote:

“I still get letters at the gym asking for Bill’s workout routine. He’s the most popular actor with bodybuilders. He was an aggressive super-serious trainer. Many ask me how he built his great-looking triceps. He favored overhead extensions with the upper arm help close to the head.”

There’s also a picture of him with the caption: “Bill trained at Vince’s for years.”

I never would’ve guessed that this was the same dude who played the bad guy in (the original) Red Dawn. Very cool.


#6

I was 10 when Any Which Way You Can came out … I still remember Clint “meeting” Smith for the first time and asking him what he does for a living … Smith says he works behind a desk mostly… Clint gives him that famous WTF look and asks “doing what, lifting it?”

Awesome physique … He’s the guy I wanted to be built like before I was introduced to Weider/ Arnold/ M&F …

Great post


#7

Here is a funny scene from The Rockford Files where Jim outsmarts him in the men’s room. He sure was one bad ass actor!


#8

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:

Here is a funny scene from The Rockford Files where Jim outsmarts him in the men’s room. He sure was one bad ass actor![/quote]

That clip had it all … Plaid sport coats, cheesy bar, bathroom fight, male bondage, and drinking bourbon from a beer mug :slight_smile:


#9

I like how the list has all of his accomplishments/skills and also “His favorite writer is Fyodor Dostoevsky”.


#10

[quote]PKNY wrote:
On his birthday, the candles blow him.

Seriously though, what an impressive life.
How did you find out all that information on him ?[/quote]

It was all from IMDB.com I watched him on tv and just thought to look him up. Man, was I blown away!


#11

Wasn’t he the dude from Commando with Arnold? Like his nemesis or something?


#12

[quote]Icarus wrote:
Wasn’t he the dude from Commando with Arnold? Like his nemesis or something?[/quote]

No, that wasn’t him …

…I’m pretty sure it was Freddie Mercury :wink:


#13

[quote]gregron wrote:
Will Smith? Ya I’ve heard of him. Loved him in Independence Day.[/quote]

LOLHAHAHA


#14

"Record-holder for reverse-curling his own body weight. "

How much did he weigh?


#15

[quote]BIG-GEORDIE wrote:
"Record-holder for reverse-curling his own body weight. "

How much did he weigh?[/quote]

He was an arm wrestling champion in the 200 lb class. He was 6’2" so he had to be 2 bills for sure for most of his career.


#16

[quote]Icarus wrote:
Wasn’t he the dude from Commando with Arnold? Like his nemesis or something?[/quote]

That was Vernon Wells. He was cast as Bennett after the original actor (pictured left) was fired for not being menacing enough. Filming had already begun.


#17

[quote]roybot wrote:

[quote]Icarus wrote:
Wasn’t he the dude from Commando with Arnold? Like his nemesis or something?[/quote]

That was Vernon Wells. He was cast as Bennett after the original actor (pictured left) was fired for not being menacing enough. Filming had already begun.[/quote]

Vernon Wells was scary as hell in “The Road Warrior”, but was just goofy in “Commando”.


#18

I used to watch him in the TV western Laredo.


#19

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:

[quote]roybot wrote:

[quote]Icarus wrote:
Wasn’t he the dude from Commando with Arnold? Like his nemesis or something?[/quote]

That was Vernon Wells. He was cast as Bennett after the original actor (pictured left) was fired for not being menacing enough. Filming had already begun.[/quote]

Vernon Wells was scary as hell in “The Road Warrior”, but was just goofy in “Commando”.[/quote]

Yeah. I’m stil not sure why they pitted prime Arnie against an out of shape chainnmail-vested guy. Did he bring his own chainmail?


#20

Mytch, great post. I remember this guy in the Clint Eastwood film. However, I had no idea to the degree of accomplishments which he possesses.