Paul L. Smith

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Paul L. Smith
Born Paul Lawrence Smith
(1936-06-24)June 24, 1936
Everett, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died April 25, 2012(2012-04-25) (aged 75)
Ra'anana, Israel
Occupation Character actor
Years active 1963-1999
Paul L. Smith in the left side, in the Israeli movie "My name is Shmil"

Paul L. Smith (June 24, 1936 – April 25, 2012) was an American character actor. Burly, bearded and imposing, he appeared in films and occasionally on television since the 1970s, generally playing "heavies" and bad guys. His most notable roles include Hamidou, the vicious prison warden in Midnight Express (1978), Bluto in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), Gideon in the ABC miniseries Masada and the Beast Rabban in David Lynch's Dune (1984). He was sometimes credited as Paul Smith or Paul Lawrence Smith.

Personal life[edit]

Paul L. Smith attended Miami Senior High School, Miami, Florida, graduating in 1954. He later attended Brandeis University for a short time and transferred to Florida State University on a football scholarship graduating in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Philosophy.

Paul L. Smith's first acting role was in the 1960 film Exodus which was filmed in Israel. This was his first visit to the country. He returned to Israel in 1967 as a Mahal volunteer in the Six-Day War and stayed there until 1973. In that time, he participated in five productions filmed in Israel.

He later moved to Italy where due to his resemblance to Bud Spencer, he made a series of films with Terence Hill lookalike Michael Coby (pseudonym of Antonio Cantafora). One of these films Convoy Buddies was picked up for American release by Film Ventures International where producer by Edward L. Montoro changed Smith's name to "Bob Spencer" and Cantafora's name to "Terrance Hall". Smith sued[1] successfully arguing that the only thing an actor has is his name and if that's taken away, he has nothing. The judicial system agreed with him and ruled against FVI who paid Smith damages and court costs.[2]

Smith moved to Hollywood in 1977 making appearances in such films as 21 Hours at Munich (1976), Midnight Express (1978) and as Bluto in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980).

Smith and his wife emigrated to Israel in February 2006, adopting Ra'anana as their home. After taking Israeli citizenship, the couple adopted Hebrew names: Adam and Aviva Eden. Paul Smith died in Ra'anana, Israel on April 25, 2012.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "648 F2d 602 Smith v. L Montoro". OpenJurist. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  2. ^ Bad Movie Planet Jim Bertgets Interview'FVI: What You Didn't Know
  3. ^ Tom B. (2013-02-13). "Boot Hill: RIP Paul Smith". Retrieved 2013-02-21. 

Notice of death

External links[edit]