Roger Smith (actor)
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Smith as Mister Roberts
|Born||Roger LaVerne Smith
December 18, 1932
South Gate, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, screenwriter, singer|
(m. 1956; div. 1965)
Roger LaVerne Smith (born December 18, 1932) is an American television and film actor and screenwriter. He starred in the television detective series 77 Sunset Strip and in the comedy series Mister Roberts. He is married to actress Ann-Margret.
A debonair and handsome leading man in his youth, Smith was born in South Gate, California, the son of Dallas and Leone Smith. When he was six, his parents enrolled him into a stage school, where he took singing, dancing and elocution lessons. He was educated at the University of Arizona at Tucson on a football scholarship. He won several amateur talent prizes as a singer and guitarist.
Smith served with the Naval Reserve and was stationed in Hawaii with FAWTUPAC, a flight training unit near Honolulu. After a chance meeting with actor James Cagney, he was encouraged to try a career in Hollywood. (Cagney had also encouraged other young actors, including Don Dubbins, for whom he found roles in two 1956 films.) He would later play Cagney's character's son in Man of a Thousand Faces.
His signature TV role was private detective Jeff Spencer in 77 Sunset Strip, with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Edd Byrnes and Richard Long. Smith appeared in 74 episodes of the Warner Bros. series. He left the popular ABC program in 1962 because of a blood clot in his brain. He recovered from this injury post-surgery. His health declined and in 1980, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, according to wife Ann-Margret. His condition went into remission in 1985. Following his retirement from performing, he managed his wife's career and produced her popular Las Vegas stage shows. In an interview with the New York Post, Ann-Margret said that he had Parkinson's disease.
Smith appeared rarely on TV after his health deteriorated, although he participated on This is Your Life ,when host Ralph Edwards devoted an episode to Ann-Margret. In addition to the appearances credited below, Smith appeared on several game shows.
Smith married twice. His first wife (1956–65) was Australian-born actress Victoria Shaw, and together they had three children: daughter Tracey (b. 1957), and sons Jordan (b. 1958) and Dallas (b. 1961). Smith and Shaw divorced in 1965.
According to cfidarren.com, Smith was a private pilot with an instrument rating issued November 30, 2002
- "Hollywood Legend Ann-Margret on Faith, Love and Recovery". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Ann-Margret dishes on sexy legacy". New York Post. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
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