William Smith, the iconic tough-guy actor in “Hawaii Five-O” and “Laredo,” died Monday at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, his wife, Joan Cerveli Smith, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. . He was 88 years old.
The cause of death is unknown.
Smith was best known for his portrayal of Falconetti in “Rich Man, Poor Man” in 1976. The actor also fought in two of the most memorable feuds in cinematic history, against Clint Eastwood in 1980’s “Any What Way You Can” and against Rod Taylor in 1970’s “Darker Than Amber”.
In his heyday, the bodybuilder was a champion discus thrower, arm-wrestling and boxing champion at UCLA, and a black belt in martial arts. He had 18-inch biceps and could do 5,100 consecutive sit-ups and reverse-curls at 163 pounds—all of which cemented the 6-foot-2-inch man as one of Hollywood’s legendary tough guys. helped, as well as listing his 289 credits on IMDb.
Smith began his long Hollywood career as a child actor in his 40s when his family moved to Southern California after the Dust Bowl.
He briefly left Hollywood when he enlisted in the army that fought in the Korean War.
Returning to California, Smith continued working in Hollywood, casting biker films starring in “Run, Angel, Run!”, “The Losers,” “Angels Die Hard,” “CC & Company,” “Chrome and Hot”. Time became an obvious choice. Leather,” “Gentle Savage” and “Eye of the Tiger.”
He starred as Texas Ranger Joe Riley in season two of “Laredo” and then joined the original cast of “Hawaii Five-O” for its last season.
Smith was also part of the first miniseries aired on American television, “Rich Man, Poor Man”.
On the silver screen, Smith starred in the popular films “Red Dawn” as a Russian general speaking fluent Russian—one of only six languages he spoke. She starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Barbarian” and had her last acting credit as Hofbrau Bar Fly in “Irresistible” just last year.
In 1970, he played a sadistic bodybuilder in “Darker Than Amber”, where he starred in one of the most realistic on-screen fights, in which Taylor broke three of his ribs and busted his nose.
Ten years later, he made film history again when he took part in “Any What Way You Can” against Clint Eastwood. Smith said of the infamous scene, “It’s one of the longest two-man ever done on film without a duet.”
Smith was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Bodybuilding and Fitness and was inducted into the Venice Muscle Beach Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2010.
With his wife of 31 years, Smith is survived by his two children, William E. Smith III and Sherry are survived by Anne Cerveli.