Roger Smith (actor)

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Roger Smith
Roger Smith Mister Roberts.JPG
Born Roger LaVerne Smith
(1932-12-18) December 18, 1932 (age 84)
South Gate, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, singer
Years active 1956–1977
Spouse(s) Victoria Shaw
(m. 1956; div. 1965)

(m. 1967)
Children 3

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.

Early life[edit]

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[1] 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 the Fleet All-Weather Training Unit-Pacific, 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.

With wife Victoria Shaw

Smith signed with Columbia Pictures in 1959 and made several films, then moved to Warner Bros. in 1959.

On April 16, 1958, Smith appeared with Charles Bickford in "The Daniel Barrister Story" on NBC's Wagon Train.

His greatest film exposure was the role of the adult Patrick Dennis in Auntie Mame, with Rosalind Russell.[citation needed]

His signature TV role was private detective Jeff Spencer in 77 Sunset Strip, with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Edd Byrnes and Richard Long.[2]:951 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.

Before he obtained a role in another television series, Smith said he had to "fight my way back from a point where I had almost decided to give up acting."[3] He then starred as Lt. Douglas Roberts in Mister Roberts, a comedy-drama series on NBC-TV in 1965-1966.[2]

His health declined and in 1980, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, according to wife Ann-Margret.[4] 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.[5]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Smith has 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.

He has been married to Ann-Margret since May 8, 1967. He became her manager, but is now semi-retired because of myasthenia gravis.

According to, Smith was a private pilot with an instrument rating issued November 30, 2002


The Fox Broadcasting animated series "American Dad!" features a family with the Surname "Smith." In the show they have an alien character called Roger Smith, who is able to change outfits and facial appearances in an instant. "Roger Smith: Alien of a Thousand Faces!" - Seth MacFarlane (the creater of "American Dad") admitted in an interview that his alien character Roger Smith and his "Thousand Faces" is no coincidence, as Macfarlane shares a love for classic old movies.



  1. ^ "Ann-Margret and Her Daddy". New York Magazine. August 9, 1976. p. 30. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 703.
  3. ^ "Television Hits Carry No Weight In Show Business". San Antonio Express. Texas, San Antonio. September 10, 1965. p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Hollywood Legend Ann-Margret on Faith, Love and Recovery". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  5. ^ "Ann-Margret dishes on sexy legacy". New York Post. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 

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