Bubba Smith, Football Star and Police Academy Actor, Dies at 66
Bubba Smith, a superstar defensive lineman who went on an acting career with memorable performances in the Police Academy movies, has died. He was 66.
Smith's cause of death has not been determined, according to the Los Angeles Coroner's office. "There is no indication of anything other than natural death," the coroner's office told The New York Times.
Smith, who was born Charles Aaron Smith in Beaumont, Texas, played defensive end for Michigan State where he was named All-American in 1965 and 1966. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound lineman had a huge day in a famous 10-10 tie in 1966 between then No. 1-ranked Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State. He went on to be the No. 1 draft pick in 1967 by the Baltimore Colts. In his nine seasons in the National Football League, Smith played on two Pro Bowl teams and the 1971 Super Bowl-winning Colts. He retired in 1976.
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He loomed large enough to inspire fanatical Colts fan and legendary light-verse poet Odgen Nash to write: "When hearing tales of Bubba Smith, you wonder, is he man or myth?"
Smith went on to have a successful career in film and television. He appeared on popular shows such as Charlie's Angels, Hart to Hart, Married ... With Children and Family Matters, but is most well-known for his role in six of the seven the Police Academy films. Smith played Moses Hightower, a florist-turned-policeman.
Smith's brother Tody, who also played in the NFL and later became Bubba's agent, died in 1999 at age 50.