Riley Smith

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For the American football player of the same name, see Riley Smith (American football).
Riley Smith
Born Riley Bryant Smith
(1978-04-12) April 12, 1978 (age 37)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Residence Los Angeles
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Years active 1998–present
Home town Marion, Iowa
Awards CAMIE Award 2005

Riley Bryant Smith (born April 12, 1978 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is an American film actor and singer for the band The Life of Riley.


Smith's parents are Russ and Roxanne Smith. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and raised in Marion, Iowa[1] on his parents’ horse ranch.[2] He became an accomplished rider, competing in a horse show for the first time when he was 9 years old.[3] When he was 15, he placed 4th in 3-Year-Old Mares division at the American Quarter Horse Youth World Championship,[3] and at 16 won the American Quarter Horse Youth World Championship.[1] When he was 17, he became president of the 50,000-member youth association, becoming the youngest person to serve as corresponding vice president of American Quarter Horse Youth Association.[1][4]

He graduated from Alburnett Junior-Senior High School in 1997, and his original intention was to earn a college degree to cover his horse racing,[1][2] but he was "discovered" at the Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids by a local talent scout[5] and flew to New York City to compete at the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) Convention.[2] There he was signed to a Tommy Hilfiger modeling campaign.[2][6][7] He used the money he earned to pay for acting classes.[1][8]


Three months after the Hilfiger campaign, Smith flew to Los Angeles to do a screen test for the 1998 WB pilot Minor Threat, but the pilot was not picked up. Subsequently, he went on to do eight prime time network pilots, more than a dozen guest-starring roles, and recurring character roles in three television series.


Smith has appeared in the film Eight Legged Freaks, Not Another Teen Movie, Radio, New York Minute and the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury nominee Weapons.[9]

For the film New York Minute, he and co-star Jared Padalecki were hand picked for their roles by stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. After his role as Jim, the love interest for Ashley's character of Jane, he admitted that he could not tell the sisters apart.[10]

In Radio, Smith had the role of Johnny Clay, team star and ringleader of the group pulling nasty pranks on Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character of Radio.[5] For their work in the film, key production members were awarded a 2005 CAMIE Award; These included executive producer Todd Garner, director Michael Tollin, screenwriter Mike Rich, and actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Riley Smith, Alfre Woodard, Brent Sexton, S. Epatha Merkerson and Sarah Drew.[11]


Smith had recurring roles in the Emmy-nominated CBS series Joan of Arcadia, the highly acclaimed Emmy Fox show 24 season 3 as Kyle Singer, the short-lived WB series Summerland and the acclaimed Judd Apatow creation for NBC Freaks and Geeks. He was also a main cast member in the short lived Fox show Drive. Riley also played Dean Talon in the Disney Channel movie Motocrossed. He played a love interest and mentor to Andrea "Andy" Carson on the race track.

He played Russ, the love interest of Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character in the dancing film Make It Happen.

In 2008 Smith joined in collaboration with The Academy of Cinema and Television to create an online educational series for children and teens interested in the entertainment industry,[2] and in 2009 he appeared in one episode of Ghost Whisperer, a paranormal TV series starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Smith also appeared in seven episodes of the fifth season of 90210 as Riley Wallace, mostly starring alongside two of the shows main stars Shenae Grimes and Tristan Wilds, in 2012-2013.

In 2014 Smith played the role of Keith in the HBO series True Blood. In 2015, he will play Markus Keen in the ABC musical drama series Nashville.


Smith took up the guitar to fill downtime while on film sets,[9] and in 2006, he and Henri O'Connor formed the band "The Life of Riley", of which he is guitarist and lead singer. His original idea was to write music that could be used in his films, but when he and his bandmates had written 16 songs, they picked 11 and cut an album.[9] The song most important to Riley is "Forget about me". He describes the lyrics as clear and simple and yet very deep and emotional. As of August 2010, the Los Angeles based group has released 3 CDs: The Life of Riley (2007), Long Way Home EP (2009) and Live in Hollywood at the Hotel Cafe (2010).[12] They have also performed at such music festivals as the New Bohemia Music Festival.[13][14]



2013 Christmas in Conway Tommy
1999 Lovers Lane Michael Lamson
2000 Voodoo Academy Christopher Sawyer
Bring It On Tim
2001 Not Another Teen Movie Les
2002 Eight Legged Freaks Randy
Full Ride Matt Sabo
2003 National Lampoon's Barely Legal Jake
Radio Johnny Clay
2004 New York Minute Jim
The Plight of Clownana Riley
2007 Weapons Jason
White Air Alexi
Graduation Chaucer Boyle
2009 Make It Happen Russ
2010 Minuteman Lance Deakin
2011 The Closer Trey Gavin
2012 Gallowwalkers Fabulos
2014 Shirin in Love William


Year Film Role Notes
1998 One World Riley 1 episode
1999 Alien Arsenal Chad Television movie
7th Heaven Tyler 1 episode
2000 Freaks and Geeks Todd Schellinger Recurring role, 5 episodes
Hang Time Dave Carter 1 episode
Wild Grizzly Josh Harding Television movie
2000–01 Once and Again Pace 2 episodes
2001 Chestnut Hill Jamie Eastman Television pilot
Motocrossed Dean Talon Disney Channel Original Movie
Gideon's Crossing Derek Fitzhugh 3 episodes
All About Us Jeremy 1 episode
2002 Eastwick Dakota Television pilot
Raising Dad Jared Ashby Recurring role, 9 episodes
Boston Public Mark 1 episode
2003 CSI: Miami Jack 1 episode
Peacemakers Eric Soper 1 episode
24 Kyle Singer Recurring role, 6 episodes
2004 Summerland Tanner 2 episodes
Hawaii Sheldon 1 episode
2004–05 Joan of Arcadia Andy Baker Recurring role, 5 episode
2005 Spring Break Shark Attack Shane Jones Television movie
2006 The Way Karl Television pilot
2007 Drive Rob Laird Main role, 6 episodes
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Jordan Rockwell 1 episode
Women's Murder Club Jamie Galvan 1 episode
2008 Criminal Minds Ryan Phillips 1 episode
The Madness of Jane Dane Television pilot
2009 Ghost Whisperer Sean Flannery 1 episode
2010 Night and Day Jim Pollard Television pilot
Leverage Dr. Wes Abernathy 1 episode
10,000 Days Sam Beck
2011 The Glades Greg 1 episode
Cooper and Stone Danny Kovacs Television pilot
2012–13 90210 Riley Wallace Recurring role, 7 episodes
2013 Christmas in Conway Tommy Harris Television movie
2014 True Blood Keith Recurring role, 5 episodes
2015 True Detective Steve Mercier 2 episodes
The Messengers Mark Plowman Recurring role, 6 episodes
2015–present Nashville Markus Keen[15] Recurring role
2016 Urban Cowboy Wes Main role[16]


Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rasdal, Dave (February 6, 2001). "Marion's Riley Smith starting out strong in Hollywood". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e McGlothlen, John (March 14, 2008). "Actor from E. Iowa to create online educational series for youth interested in show biz". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Lucas, Marlene (August 26, 1993). "Riley Smith proves he's a winner". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Sauerberg, George (February 1, 1996). "More than just competition". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Former E. Iowan Riley Smith relished 'Radio' role". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). October 23, 2003. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Karen (February 5, 2004). "2004's letter-perfect men". USA Today. Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Riley Smith bio". Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Riley Smith Biography". BuddyTV. April 10, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c "Iowa native Smith adds music to his Hollywood repertoire". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). July 26, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Actor Reports No Worries With Olsens". The Vindicator (Google News Archive). May 9, 2004. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "The 2005 CAMIES". CAMIE Awards. August 11, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ Doherty, Michael (August 21, 2010). "The Life of Riley: "The Life of Riley" (2007)". Suite 101. 
  13. ^ "You have options galore this Labor Day weekend". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). August 30, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ Truman, Deanna (August 28, 2008). "For music fest, the show must go on". Press-Citizen. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ Roots, Kimberly (July 25, 2015). "Nashville Adds True Blood Alum as Rayna's Hot New Highway 65 Artist". TVLine. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 11, 2015). "‘Urban Cowboy’ Fox Pilot Adds Riley Smith To Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]