Smilin' Jack Smith
|Born||Jack Ward Smith
November 16, 1913
Bainbridge Island, Washington, U.S.
|Died||July 3, 2006
Westlake Village, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Other names||'Smilin' Jack Smith|
|Spouse(s)||Victoria Stuart (m. 1936–2002) (her death)|
|Relatives||Walter Reed (brother)|
Born in Seattle, Washington, Smith was in a singing trio, The Three Ambassadors, from age 15. In 1939, he became a solo crooner with a voice described as a "strong baritone with a tenor lilt". He also sang with the Phil Harris Orchestra in 1932, recording "Here It is Only Monday".
Establishing a radio show in 1945, he went on to host such guests as Dinah Shore, Margaret Whiting, John Serry, Sr. and Ginny Simms. Following a guest appearance in the musical film Make Believe Ballroom (1949), Jack was offered the second lead in Warner Bros.' On Moonlight Bay (1951) opposite Doris Day.
With the television's arrival, radio saw a decline in audiences, and Jack lost his show in 1952. In 1953, Smith briefly hosted the NBC game show Place the Face, only to be replaced by Jack Bailey, who in turn was followed by Bill Cullen. Smith became the host of You Asked For It in 1958, staying with it in various roles until 1991. He also appeared as himself in the "Fearless Fonzarelli" episode of Happy Days, aired in 1975; in that episode, Smith hosted You Wanted To See It, a fictionalized version of his real show, bearing witness to Fonzie's feat of leaping 14 garbage cans on his motorcycle.