Paul L. Smith
|Paul L. Smith|
|Born||Paul Lawrence Smith
June 24, 1936
Everett, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||April 25, 2012
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.
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 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.
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.
- Peter in The Gospel Road (1973)
- Rebel in Moses the Lawgiver (1974)
- Hamidou in Midnight Express (1978)
- Jim Waterman in Disaster on the Coastliner (1979)
- Bluto in Popeye (1980)
- Willard in Pieces (1983)
- Paul (Mob Boss) in Return of the Tiger (1984)
- Glossu Rabban Harkonnen in Dune (1984)
- Falkon in Red Sonja (1985)
- Faron Crush in Crimewave (1985)
- Dr. Paul Abbot in Haunted Honeymoon (1986)
- Surbus in Gor (1988)
- Slue in Sonny boy (1989)
- Head guard in Caged Fury (1989)
- Elmo Rodgers in Ten Little Indians (1989)
- The Archduke in Maverick (1994).
- As himself in Paul Smith: The Reddest Herring (directed by Alma Har'el), an extended interview with star Paul L. Smith featured on the North American DVD release of the film, Pieces, where he discusses the film, his life and career.