Wednesday, February 13, 2013

RIP Paul Smith

Burly, bearded and imposing American actor Paul Smith died in Ra’anana, Israel on April 25, 2012. He was 75. Paul and his wife Eve had moved there in 2006 taking Israeli citizenship, and adopting the Hebrew names: Adam and Aviva Eden. Born as Paul Lawrence Smith in Everett, Massachusetts on June 24, 1936 he graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in philosophy and psychology and a master’s degree in motivational psychology from Harvard. Later he attended Florida State University where he appeared as Yank in Eugene O’Neil’s “The Hairy Ape” and then and there decided to become an actor. He studied acting in New York and at a chance meeting with Otto Preminger at a party he was offered a part in “Exodus” (1960). Paul would go on to appear in films and occasionally on television beginning in the 1970s, generally playing "heavies" and bad guys. His most notable roles include Hamidou, the vicious prison warden in “Midnight Express” (1978), Bluto in Robert Altman's “Popeye” (1980), Gideon in the ABC miniseries “Masada and the Beast” Rabban in David Lynch's “Dune” (1984) and as ‘The Archduke’ in 1994’s “Maverick”. Paul also appeared in six Euro-westerns notably alongside Michael Coby (Antonio Cantafora) in a series of comedy films created by director Ferdinando Baldi as a clone comedy team of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. The pair appeared as Len and Coby in “Carambola!” (1973) and the sequel “The Crazy Adventures of Len and Coby” (1974), Smith also appeared in “Bullets Don’t Argue” (1964), “Guns for San Sebastian” (1967), “Madron” (1970) and “We Are No Angels” (1975). Paul was sometimes credited as P.L. Smith Paul L. Smith.

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