Kent Smith

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Kent Smith
Kent Smith 1953.JPG
Kent Smith (1953)
Frank Kent Smith

(1907-03-19)March 19, 1907
DiedApril 23, 1985(1985-04-23) (aged 78)
Years active1929-1978
Betty Gillette
(m. 1937; div. 1954)

(m. 1962)

Frank Kent Smith (March 19, 1907 – April 23, 1985) was an American actor who had a lengthy career in film, theatre and television.

Early years[edit]

Smith was born in New York City and was educated at Harvard University.[1]


Smith's early acting experience started in 1925 when he was one of the founders of the Harvard University Players, which later included Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Joshua Logan and Margaret Sullavan in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Smith's stock experience included productions with the Maryland Theatre in Baltimore. His professional acting debut was in 1929 in Blind Window in Baltimore. He made his Broadway acting debut in 1932 in Men Must Fight.[1] He appeared on Broadway in Measure for Measure, Sweet Love Remembered, The Best Man, Ah, Wilderness!,[2] Dodsworth (1934), Saint Joan (1936), Old Acquaintance (1941), Antony and Cleopatra (1948) and Bus Stop (1956).


Smith moved to Hollywood, California, where he made his film debut in The Garden Murder Case.[1]

His biggest successes occurred during the 1940s in films such as Cat People (1942), Hitler's Children (1943), This Land Is Mine (1943), Three Russian Girls (1943), Youth Runs Wild (1944), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Spiral Staircase (1946), Nora Prentiss (1947), Magic Town (1947), My Foolish Heart (1949), The Fountainhead (1949), and The Damned Don't Cry (1950). He continued acting in films such as Comanche (1956), Sayonara (1957), Party Girl (1958), The Mugger (1958), Imitation General (1958), The Badlanders (1958), This Earth Is Mine (1959), Strangers When We Meet (1960), Susan Slade (1961), The Balcony (1963), A Distant Trumpet (1964), Youngblood Hawke (1964), The Young Lovers (1964), The Trouble with Angels (1966), A Covenant with Death (1967), Games (1967), The Money Jungle (1968), Kona Coast (1968), Assignment to Kill (1968), Death of a Gunfighter (1969), The Games (1970), Pete 'n' Tillie (1972), Die Sister, Die! (1972), Lost Horizon (1973) and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977).

During World War II, Smith served as a private in the U.S. Army, making training films covering among others, medical, dental, artillery, and electronics.


Regular cast[edit]

Kent Smith played the imperious Dr. Morton on the popular series Peyton Place with his actual wife (Edith Atwater) cast as Mrs. Morton. Smith played Edgar Scoville in the second season of the science-fiction series The Invaders (1967-1968)[3] and was a host for the anthology series Philip Morris Playhouse (1953-1954).[3]:831

Guest appearances[edit]

Smith had roles in TV movies such as How Awful About Allan (1970), The Night Stalker (1972), The Judge and Jake Wyler (1972), The Cat Creature (1973), The Affair (1973) and The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974). His numerous television credits included a continuing role in Peyton Place as Dr. Robert Morton. He began guest-starring in television series in 1949 in The Philco Television Playhouse and appeared in Robert Montgomery Presents, Wagon Train, General Electric Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, Have Gun Will Travel, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Beverly Hillbillies, Rawhide, The Americans, Barnaby Jones, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, and the 1976 miniseries Once an Eagle. His last appearance was in a 1977 episode of Wonder Woman.[citation needed]

Kent Smith and Simone Simon in Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Personal life[edit]

Smith was married to actress Betty Gillette from 1937 until 1954 and to actress Edith Atwater (died March 1986) from 1962 until his death from congestive heart failure in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 78.

He was survived by his wife and daughter.[2]

Smith was a Republican and campaigned for Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1936 The Garden Murder Case Woode Swift
1939 Back Door to Heaven Attorney
1942 Cat People Oliver Reed
1943 Hitler's Children Professor Nichols
1943 Forever and a Day Gates Trimble Pomfret
1943 This Land Is Mine Paul Martin
1943 Three Russian Girls John Hill alternate title: She Who Dares
1944 The Curse of the Cat People Oliver Reed
1944 Resisting Enemy Interrogation Capt. Reining - American Working for the Nazis
1944 Youth Runs Wild Danny Coates
1946 The Spiral Staircase Dr. Parry
1947 Nora Prentiss Dr. Richard Talbot
1947 Magic Town Professor Frederick Hoopendecker
1947 The Voice of the Turtle Kenneth Bartlett
1949 The Fountainhead Peter Keating
1949 My Foolish Heart Lew Wengler
1950 The Damned Don't Cry Martin Blankford
1950 This Side of the Law David Cummins
1952 Paula John Rogers alternate title: The Silent Voice
1956 Comanche Quanah Parker
1957 Sayonara General Mark Webster
1958 Imitation General Brig. Gen. Charles Lane
1958 The Badlanders Cyril Lounsberry
1958 Party Girl Jeffrey Stewart
1958 The Mugger Dr. Pete Graham
1959 This Earth Is Mine Francis Fairon
1960 Strangers When We Meet Stanley Baxter
1961 Susan Slade Dr. Fane
1962 Moon Pilot Secretary of the Air Force
1963 The Balcony General
1964 A Distant Trumpet Secretary of War
1964 Youngblood Hawke Paul Winter Sr.
1964 The Young Lovers Dr. Shoemaker
1966 The Trouble with Angels Uncle George
1967 A Covenant with Death Parmalee
1967 Games Harry Gordon
1967 The Money Jungle Paul Kimmel
1968 Assignment to Kill Mr. Eversley
1968 Kona Coast Akamai
1969 Death of a Gunfighter Andrew Oxley
1970 The Games Kaverley
1970 How Awful About Allan Raymond Colleigh TV movie
1971 The Last Child Gus Iverson TV movie
1972 The Night Stalker D.A. Tom Paine TV movie
1972 Probe Dr. Edward Laurent TV movie
1972 Another Part of the Forest Simon Isham TV movie
1972 The Crooked Hearts James Simpson TV movie
1972 The Judge and Jake Wyler Robert Dodd TV movie
1972 Pete 'n' Tillie Father Keating
1972 Call Me by My Rightful Name Mr. Watkins
1973 Lost Horizon Bill Fergunson
1973 Maurie Dr. Walker uncredited
1973 Cops and Robbers Bit Part uncredited
1973 The Affair Mr. Patterson TV movie
1973 The Cat Creature Frank Lucas TV movie
1974 Murder or Mercy Judge TV movie
1974 The Disappearance of Flight 412 General Enright TV movie
1976 Once an Eagle Gen. Jacklyn TV miniseries
1977 Billy Jack Goes to Washington Senator Joe Foley
1978 Die Sister, Die! Dr. Thorne alternate title: The Companion
final film role


  1. ^ a b c Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 690–691. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Kent Smith, the Actor, Dies; Career Lasted Four Decades". The New York Times. New York, New York City. Associated Press. April 26, 1985. Archived from the original on March 3, 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 508509. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  4. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers

External links[edit]