Hal Smith (actor)

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For other people named Hal Smith, see Hal Smith (disambiguation).
Hal Smith
Born Harold John Smith
(1916-08-24)August 24, 1916
Petoskey, Michigan, U.S.
Died January 28, 1994(1994-01-28) (aged 77)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica
Nationality American
Other names Hal J. Smith
Hal John Smith
Education Massena Central High School
Occupation Actor, voice actor
Years active 1936–1994
Known for Otis Campbell in The Andy Griffith Show
Owl in the Winnie the Pooh franchise
Religion Christian (Congregationalist)
Spouse(s) Louise C. Smith (m. 1936; d. 1992)
Children 1

Harold John Smith, known as Hal Smith (August 24, 1916 – January 28, 1994), was an American actor and voice actor best known as Otis Campbell, the town drunk on CBS' The Andy Griffith Show.

Smith was also active in voice-over roles, having played many characters on various animated shorts including Owl in the first four original Winnie the Pooh shorts (the first three of which were combined into the feature film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) and later The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Uncle Tex on The Flintstones, Goliath in Davey and Goliath, and Flintheart Glomgold and Gyro Gearloose on DuckTales, as well as multiple other characters in The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, The Gumby Show, The Jetsons, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Hong Kong Phooey, and many more. He is also known to radio listeners as John Avery Whittaker in Adventures in Odyssey.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Petoskey in Emmet County in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, but he spent a significant part of his early years living in Massena, New York. He graduated from the Massena High School in 1936. His mother was a seamstress, and his father worked at the local Aluminum Company Of America (Alcoa) factory.

After graduation, Smith worked from 1936 to 1943 as a disc jockey and voice talent for WIBX Radio in Utica, New York. After serving in the United States Army Special Services (entertainment) during World War II, he traveled to Hollywood and appeared in many television shows such as I Married Joan, Fury, The People's Choice, The Texan, Rescue 8, Dennis the Menace, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, National Velvet, and The Red Skelton Show.[1]


The Andy Griffith Show[edit]

Smith's best-remembered on-screen character was Otis Campbell, the town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show, during most of the series' run from 1960 to 1968. When intoxicated, he would often comically let himself into his regular jail cell, using the key which was stored within reach of the two comfortable jail rooms, and "sleep off" the effects of alcohol. Deputy Barney Fife would often become irritated with Otis, and attempted to either sober him up or rehabilitate him in several episodes. Hal Smith was the opposite of his character. According to longtime friends Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, he did not drink in real life. The Otis character stopped appearing in the show towards the end of the series because of concerns by the sponsors of the program in regard to the portrayal of excessive drinking. Smith appeared as Calver Weems in the 1966 Don Knotts comedy The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, playing essentially the same town drunk character, Otis.

Smith would play Otis one more time in the 1986 TV movie Return to Mayberry. In the television movie, Otis is the town's ice cream truck driver and is reported to have been "sober for years". Smith later used his Otis Campbell character in commercial spots for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization and appeared as Otis in Alan Jackson's "Don't Rock the Juke Box" music video.

Other performances[edit]

In 1957 Smith played Rollin Daggett in the role of a newspaper man in the early days of Mark Twain in the "Fifteen Paces to Fame" episode of Death Valley Days. Smith had a cameo role as the Mayor of Boracho in The Great Race in 1965. He played the industrialist Hans Spear in CBS' Hogan's Heroes.

He portrayed King Theseus Of Rhodes in "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules" in 1965 (and later provided various voices for the cartoon series "The New 3 Stooges").

He played the character John Wilson in the 1967 episode "The Man Who Didn't Want Gold" of the syndicated western series, Death Valley Days.

Smith had a cameo role as a drunk driver in Adam-12 season 1 episode 19 (1969). Also in 1969, he appeared on Petticoat Junction in the episode "The Great Race", as Jug Gunderson. (He was a moonshiner that helped the Cannonball train win the afore mentioned race. Though his character was never seen drinking or drunk, by the end of the episode he makes an oath to himself to stop drinking & reform.)

In the early 1960s, Smith also had a morning children's show at television station KTLA called The Pancake Man, sponsored by The International House of Pancakes (IHOP). He reprised the Pancake Man role as "Kartoon King" in the 1971 episode of The Brady Bunch titled "The Winner". He also played Mother Goose in the X-rated animated feature film Once Upon a Girl in 1976.

Voice roles[edit]

Beginning in the late 1950s with such shows as The Huckleberry Hound Show and Quick Draw McGraw, Smith became one of the most prolific voice actors in Hollywood, eventually working with most of the major studios and production companies, such as Hanna-Barbera, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, The Mirisch Corporation, and Sid and Marty Krofft, with voice roles in such shows as The Flintstones in which he mostly did the voices of Texas millionaires such as Fred's rich uncle Tex, Pink Panther, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Yogi Bear, and Looney Tunes.

In 1962, he voiced Taurus, the Scots-accented mechanic of the spaceship Starduster for the series Space Angel. According to the book: Space Patrol, missions of daring in the name of early television, "It's rumored that Gene Roddenberry was a huge fan of the show and patterned Star Trek's engineer, Mr. Scott, after McCloud's Scottish sidekick, Taurus". He also did voices for the Hong Kong Phooey show. In 1977, he was the voice of Grandpa Josiah in the cartoon TV special, Halloween Is Grinch Night. He was also very active with doing voices in 1980s; he was Sludge in The Smurfs, Goofy in Mickey's Christmas Carol, in Disney's DuckTales he did the voices of Scrooge McDuck's rival Flintheart Glomgold and the absent-minded scientist Gyro Gearloose and in Frog And Toad are Friends and Frog And Toad Together he also did the voice of Toad.

Smith also voiced the Disney cartoon character Goofy after Pinto Colvig died in 1967. Additionally, he provided the voice of Owl in the three original Winnie the Pooh featurettes (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977. In the 1960s, he was one of the most sought after voice actors in Hollywood. From 1959 till 1975, he provided the voices for Goliath, Davey's dad and many other characters in Davey and Goliath. From 1960 to 1961, he was the voice of Elmer Fudd after Arthur Q. Bryan died. In 1963, he voiced Dr. Todd Goodheart, Belly Laguna, and Dr. Von Upp in the Funny Company cartoon series. From 1964 to 1966, he was the voice of Yappee in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon shorts Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey. He was also the voice of Cosgoode Creeps, Asa Shanks, the Farmer, Mr. Greenway and Mr. Bluestone the Great/Phantom, in Scooby-Doo, Where are You!.

In 1981, he reprised his role as Owl and voiced Winnie-the-Pooh in the short Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons, replacing Sterling Holloway, who had provided the voice of the character for many years. He then voiced the two characters in Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore in 1983, as well as Disney Channel's TV series Welcome to Pooh Corner. On the TV program The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1988, Jim Cummings took over as Pooh while Smith continued playing Owl. The two voice actors sometimes rotated the voice of Winnie the Pooh. In 1991, Smith provided the voice of Philippe the Horse in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast, as well as Jafar's horse in Aladdin.

Starting in 1987, he was the voice of the main character John Avery Whittaker on the Focus on the Family radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. He was responsible for much of the cast joining the show after he signed on, and he continued recording episodes until a few weeks before his death, even while his health deteriorated. Additionally, he voiced dozens of other characters during the over 260 episodes in which he participated. He voiced Joe McGee in the "The Old Man and the Sea Duck" episode of TaleSpin.

Smith was also very active working in television commercials as various characters. He provided on-screen promotion for 3 Musketeers, United Van Lines, Hickory Farms, Toyota, Green Giant, General Mills, Mattel, Kellogg's, Pizza Hut, Chicken of the Sea, Ivory soap, Doctor Ross Dog Food, Pioneer Chicken, Bell Telephone Company, and hundreds of other companies.

Personal life[edit]

Smith was married to Louise C. Smith from 1936 until her death in 1992.[2] They had a son named Terry who lived 1950-1998.[3]


After his wife died in 1992, Smith's own health began to deteriorate rapidly. Producers of Adventures in Odyssey even began preparing for how to handle Smith's character after he died.[4] On January 28, 1994, at the age of 77, Hal Smith died from an apparent heart attack. Don Pitts, his longtime agent, said that Smith died at his home in Santa Monica while he was listening to a nightly drama hour on radio.[5][6] Smith is interred in the mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.



Year Title Role Notes
1964 Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! Corn Pone
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Owl
1983 Mickey's Christmas Carol Goofy played as Jacob Marley's ghost
1984 Warriors of the Wind Lord Yupa
1985 English dub
1986 The Adventures of the American Rabbit Mentor
Too Loose
1986 An American Tail Moe
1991 Beauty and the Beast Philippe


Year Title Role Notes
1960–66 The Andy Griffith Show Otis Campbell 32 episodes
1969 Green Acres Horace Colby
1975 The Hoober-Bloob Highway Additional voices
1980 Yogi's First Christmas Otto the Chef
Santa Claus
1982 Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper J. Wellington Jones
1988–91 The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Owl
1988 The New Yogi Bear Show Additional voices


  1. ^ Michaud, John D. III, ed. (2004) [2004]. More than Otis: No Bull! A Salute to Hollywood Actor Hal J. Smith (1st ed.). Massena, New York: Stubbs Printing. 
  2. ^ "Louise C. Smith at Find A Grave". 
  3. ^ "Terry Jay Smith at Find A Grave". 
  4. ^ http://www.aiowiki.com/wiki/Hal_Smith
  5. ^ "Hal Smith; Played Otis on Griffith Show". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ "Hal Smith, The Friendly Drunk Otis On `Andy Griffith Show' In The '60S". Seattle Times. 13 February 1994. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 

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