Ian Smith (actor)

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Ian Smith
Ian Smith (actor) crop.jpg
Ian Smith in 2001
Born (1938-06-19) 19 June 1938 (age 81)
OccupationTelevision actor
television producer
Years active1959 – present
Spouse(s)Gail Smith

Ian Smith (born 19 June 1938) is an Australian soap opera character actor, theatre performer, television producer and screenwriter. He played Harold Bishop in the soap opera Neighbours from 1987 when the series was taken over by Network Ten until 1991. He returned to the role in 1996 and continued as a series regular until 2009.


Smith started his professional acting career in 1959, and although better known for his later role's on television, started as a stage performer with The National Theatre, roles include Merry Widow, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and Anthony and Elizabeth and numerous others[1] Before appearing on Neighbours, Smith had previously acted in guest roles in drama series such as the Crawford Productions police dramas Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police. He had a regular role in long-running Australian television serial Bellbird, made a guest appearance as a police detective in The Box in 1975, and had a semi-regular role in serial Prisoner, in which he served as script editor of for most of its eight-year run and became Associate Producer later in its run.

Smith featured in Series 11 of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! to set the camp-mates challenges. He did not join the camp-mates.[2]


Smith became best known through his portrayal of Harold Bishop in the soap opera Neighbours from 1987 to 1991, and returning in 1996. He switched to recurring status from 2008 to 2009, becoming one of its longest serving characters. For his portrayal of Harold, Smith received a nomination for a Gold Logie Award in 2009.

In December 2010, Ryan Moloney revealed to TV Week that Smith would be returning to Neighbours in 2011. Smith appeared for six weeks from May 2011.[3] Smith returned to Neighbours in 2015, with former co-star Anne Charleston for the 30th anniversary. He also appeared in a documentary celebrating the anniversary titled Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, which aired in Australia and the UK in March 2015.[4][5]

In April 2018, Smith admitted that he should have left Neighbours sooner and admits he felt typecast. Smith admitted "he wasn't aware he was becoming 'Harold from Neighbours while he was on the show" and joked that when he auditioned for other roles he would be told "Oh you were in Neighbours, you were Harold, you couldn't possibly be a murdering paedophile".[6]

Personal life[edit]

Smith was 54 when his mother Connie Smith, realising she had very little time to live, told him that he had been adopted. After her death, Smith went in search of his natural mother Peg Kline, whom he finally found. According to Kline's story, Smith was conceived when she was fourteen, the product of rape, and was put up for adoption. Kline eventually married and had two children from this marriage. She never told anyone besides her husband about her first son until she was contacted by Smith via a letter. Kline contacted Ian's wife Gail Smith, who mentioned that her husband was a prominent Neighbours actor, to which Kline replied, "I've never seen Neighbours in my life". Smith and Kline were reunited and he has built a strong relationship with his mother and two half-brothers, although Smith said that he did not feel a mother–son relationship. He called Kline "one of my best friends". Peg Kline died in May 2005 after a battle with cancer. Smith told his story in an exclusive interview on the biographical documentary series Australian Story in March 2005. He had also described the situation in a BBC interview some years before.[citation needed] Smith lives in Melbourne.

Although Smith was raised as a Roman Catholic,[7] in a 2008 interview, he identified as an atheist.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Hughesy, We Have a Problem Himself Celebrity Problem
2015 Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite Himself Documentary
2011 The British Soap Awards Himself Award presentation
2011 OK! TV Himself
2011 Loose Women Himself
2010 Underbelly The Golden Mile Ken Wallis
2009 Talkin' Bout Your Generation Himself
The Jesus Spoon Buck Senior
Remembering Nigel Himself
2008 Loose Women Himself
2007 Little Britain Down Under Himself Special thanks
2005 Australian Story Himself
2002 It Shouldn't Happen To A... Soapstar Himself
2001 The Big Breakfast Himself
2000 Neighbours Revealed Himself
Harold Bishop
1997 The Last Of Ryans Sir Arthur Rylah
1996 The Genie From Down Under Race Judge
1994 Blue Heelers Clive Burton
1993 Body Melt Dr. Carrera
1992 Noel's House Party Himself
1991 Pebble Mill at One Himself
That's Showbusiness Himself
1990 Happy Birthday, Coronation Street Himself
1987–1991, 1996–2009, 2011, 2015 Neighbours Harold Bishop Main cast (2,131 episodes)
1981 I Can Jump Puddles Mr. Slade
1979–1986 Prisoner Ted Douglas
Rev. Potter
Script editor
Associate producer
1978 Chopper Squad Unknown
1977 Glenview High Rocky
Bluey Sen. Det. Davidson
1975 Division 4 Mike Chapman
Matlock Police Barry
Quality of Mercy Unknown
1974 Ryan Unknown
Alpha Scorpio Unknown
1972 Homicide Johnny Reid
1971–1973 Matlock Police Larry Fisher
Rick Cameron
David Wishart
Const. Graham Browning
Estate Agent
John Roberts
Multiple roles
1971 Homicide Michael Edmunds
1969 Detective Dick Spencer
1967 Belbird Russell Ashwood
1966 Homicide Ray Fox


  1. ^ "IAN SMITH" (PDF).
  2. ^ Dean, Sarah (20 November 2011). "'I'm A Celebrity' Day 7: Ian Smith Joins The Jungle, Things Heat Up Between Emily Scott And Mark Wright, Sinitta Freaks Out AGAIN". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  3. ^ Millar, Paul (28 December 2010). "Harold Bishop returning to Ramsay Street". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  4. ^ Knox, David (28 February 2015). "Airdate: Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 March 2015). "Neighbours 30th anniversary schedule confirmed by Channel 5". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  6. ^ Sandwell, Ian (18 April 2018). "Neighbours legend Ian Smith wishes he'd quit Harold Bishop role sooner". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  7. ^ Sale, Jonathan (13 December 2007). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Ian Smith, actor in 'Neighbours'". Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  8. ^ " Ian himself is the longest-serving member of the cast, and fans are often shocked when they meet him, expecting him to be an old fuddy duddy like his famous alter ego. "I can't argue with any of his morals on life," Ian says. "He believes in honesty, in not doing anybody any harm, and doing an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. "As far as those things go, I pretty much base him on my own values, but I swear, I drink booze and I'm an atheist, so I am different to Harold." "Gemma Quaid interviewing Smith, 'Blue skies over Erinsborough', Birmingham Post, 9 February 2008, Features, TV & Radio, Pg. 32.

External links[edit]