Paul L. Smith

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Paul L. Smith
Paul L. Smith (1936-2012).jpg
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
Cause of death Unspecified
Body discovered Ra'anana, Israel
Resting place Unspecified
Nationality American
Other names Paul Smith
Paul Lawrence Smith
Alma mater Brandeis University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–1999
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Religion Jewish
Spouse(s) Norma Kalman
(m. ?–1960; divorced)
Eve Smith
(m. ?–2012; his death)

Paul Lawrence Smith (June 24, 1936 – April 25, 2012), most frequently credited as Paul Smith or Paul L. Smith, was an American 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 guard in Midnight Express (1978), Bluto in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), Gideon in the ABC miniseries Masada and Glossu Rabban in David Lynch's Dune (1984).

Early life[edit]

Born in the Massachusetts city of Everett, Smith was raised in Miami, graduating in 1954 from Miami Senior High School where he played football and became a High School All American. He transferred from Brandeis University to Florida State University on a football scholarship graduating in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Philosophy.

At age 12, Smith weighed 200 pounds and was 6 ft. tall.


Smith's first acting role was in Exodus, which was filmed in Israel. This was his first visit to the country. In 1967, Smith returned to Israel as a Mahal volunteer in the Six-Day War and stayed there until 1973. In that time, he participated in 5 productions filmed in Israel.

Afterwards, he moved to Italy where, due to his resemblance to Bud Spencer, he made a series of films with Michael Coby (pseudonym of Antonio Cantafora), Terence Hill lookalike. 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]

In 1977, Smith moved to Hollywood, making appearances in such films as 21 Hours at Munich (1976), Midnight Express (1978), as Bluto in Popeye (1980), and as Glossu Rabban in Dune (1984).

Personal life[edit]

Smith was of Jewish religion. He briefly attended Brandeis University, where he met and married his first wife, Norma Kalman. They had one son, Elliot. Paul and Norma were divorced in 1960. Smith married Eve Smith. In February 2006, they immigrated to Israel, adopting Ra'anana as their new home. After taking Israeli citizenship, the couple adopted Hebrew names: Adam and Aviva Eden.


On April 25, 2012, Smith died in Ra'anana.[3] The cause of death is unconfirmed.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1973 The Gospel Road Peter
1974 Moses the Lawgiver Rebel TV miniseries
Carambola! Clem Rodovam
1975 Convoy Buddies Butch
Carambola's Philosophy: In the Right Pocket Len
We Are No Angels Raphael
1976 The Diamond Peddlers Butch
21 Hours at Munich Gutfreund TV movie
1978 Midnight Express Hamidou
Return of the Tiger Paul the Westerner
1979 The In-Laws Mo
Disaster on the Coastliner Jim Waterman TV movie
1980 Popeye Bluto
1981 Masada Gideon TV miniseries
The Salamander The Surgeon
1983 Pieces Willard
Sadat King Farouk TV miniseries
Raiders in Action Saul the Priest
1984 Dune Glossu Rabban
Jungle Warriors Cesar Santiago
1985 Red Sonja Falkon
Crimewave Faron Crush
1986 Haunted Honeymoon Dr. Paul Abbot
1988 Gor Surbus
Terminal Entry Stewart
1989 Sonny Boy Slue
Caged Fury Head Guard
Ten Little Indians Elmo Rodgers
1991 Eye of the Widow Elko
1992 Desert Kickboxer Santos
1994 Maverick Archduke
2008 Paul Smith: The Reddest Herring Himself Extended interview with star Paul L. Smith featured on the North American DVD release of Pieces, where he discusses the film, his life, and career


  • I'm Mean (1980)


  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. 

External links[edit]