William Smith dies at 88: Hollywood veteran actor who famously played Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in Any Which Way You Can passes away in hospital
Famous actor and athlete William Smith, star of such titles as Laredo and Rich Man, Poor Man, has died at the age of 88.
Smith passed away on Monday at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, his wife, Joanne Cervelli Smith, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
A cause of death was not revealed.
RIP: Famous actor and athlete William Smith, star of such titles as Laredo and Rich Man, Poor Man, has died at the age of 88; seen here circa 1975
Standing at 6ft2in tall, the brawny Smith cultivated a popular tough guy image in Hollywood, appearing into of the more famous fight scenes in movie history.
One was in 1970’s Darker Than Amber, in which William’s villainous bodybuilder character faced off against Rod Taylor in one of the most violent and realistic brawl scenes of all time.
And ten years later, he appeared in Any Which Way You Can alongside Clint Eastwood, in which they participated in a cinematic fistfight through the streets and restaurants of Wyoming.
Smith, who was a champion discus thrower, arm-wrestler and black belt in martial arts, had an incredible 274 screen credits on his IMDb, spanning 1942 all the way until just last year, in the Steve Carell movie Irresistible.
Hollywood tough guy: Standing at 6ft2in tall, the brawny Smith cultivated a popular tough guy image in Hollywood, appearing in titles ranging from Laredo to Any Which Way You Can
Other highlights in the veteran actor’s illustrious career include Conan The Barbarian in 1982 with fellow bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Red Dawn two years later with Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey.
In that film, William spoke fluent Russian as general Strelnikov.
He also squared off against none other than Yul Brynner in 1975’s The Ultimate Warrior, in which he played a menacing gang leader named Carrot.
Other highlights in the veteran actor’s illustrious career include: Hawaii Five-O, pictured here in 1968
Television credits include Hawaii Five-O, The Virginian and Laredo, along with countless guest appearances in everything from I Dream Of Jeannie to Walker, Texas Ranger.
He also appeared twice on Fantasy Island – first as Wyatt Earp, and then later as Frankenstein… which echoed his first-ever screen credit, as a child extra in 1942’s in The Ghost of Frankenstein, with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr.
Smith is survived by his makeup artist wife Joanne of 32 years, along with his children William E. Smith III and Sherri Anne Cervelli.
Longtime couple: Smith is survived by his makeup artist wife Joanne of 32 years, along with his children William E. Smith III and Sherri Anne Cervelli; pictured here in 2004
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