Charles Bubba Smith Remembered As Football Great and Actor

Former football great and actor Bubba Smith is being remembered after being found dead on Wednesday. Smiths body was found in his Baldwin Hills CA. home a suburb of Los Angeles, said Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Gregory Baek. He was 66 years old and is believed to have died of natural causes.

Police and fire officials were called to Smith’s home after “he was found unresponsive” by a caretaker, and pronounced him dead, said Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations and investigation for the coroner. An autopsy will be performed to determine cause of death, Winter said. However, asked if there was any reason to believe the death was due to anything other than natural causes, he replied, “Not at this time.”

Smith was born in Beaumont, Texas. He graduated from Charlton-Pollard High School in Beaumont in 1963. Smith played college football at Michigan State University. He was awarded with All-America honors in 1965 and 1966. In 1988, Smith was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Smith spent nine seasons in the NFL as a defensive end. He was the first overall selection in the 1967 NFL draft, chosen by the Baltimore Colts. The Colts won Super Bowl V at the end of the 1970 season, earning Smith his only Super Bowl ring. However, in interviews, Smith stated that he would never wear the ring, as it was seen as a “sloppy” game by many. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders before the 1972 season, and finished his career with the Houston Oilers. He was selected All-Pro one year, All-Conference two years, and went to two Pro Bowls.

After leaving professional football, Smith began his acting career in small movie and television roles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Bubba Smith also appeared in Tales of the Gold Monkey, in the episode called “God Save the Queen”, along with fellow actor James Avery. He appeared on Good Times as a bodyguard/thug of Marion “Sweet Daddy” Williams. He is perhaps best known for his role as Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movie series, a role he has reprised in all but one of the Police Academy sequels. He appeared in two episodes of the hit television series Married… with Children, once as the character “Spare Tire” Dixon and in a later episode as himself.

By: Pat Prescott
Published: Aug 4, 2021
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