Bubba Smith

Active - 1978 - 2006  |   Born - Feb 28, 1945 in Orange, Texas, United States  |   Died - Aug 3, 2011   |   Genres - Comedy, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

During his stay at Michigan State University in the mid-1960s, Charles "Bubba" Smith achieved legendary status for his gridiron activities. The All-American defensive lineman joined the Baltimore Colts as a first-round draft choice in 1967. After playing in two Super Bowls, Smith was sidelined with a knee injury in 1972; he made a comeback the following year with the Oakland Raiders, then played with the Houston Oilers, but by 1975 his football days were over. After a few seasons as a sportscaster, Smith started a whole new career as an actor, beginning with the role of Puddin in the 1980 TV-series version of the 1977 film Semi-Tough. He went on to play regular roles in weekly TVers Open All Night (1982, as Robin) Blue Thunder (1984, as Bubba Kelsey) and Half Nelson (1985, as Beau). In films from 1983, Bubba Smith's best screen showings were as the misleadingly mild-mannered Moses Hightower in the six low-budget, high-grossing Police Academy flicks.

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  • Hoped to play college football at the University of Texas, but while coach Darrell Royal was willing to offer him a scholarship, he couldn't guarantee he would ever get to play. Texas did not integrate its football program until 1970.
  • Was the first overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.
  • Spent nine seasons in the NFL playing for the Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers.
  • Gained recognition after his playing career as a pitchman for Miller Lite beer.
  • Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.