Hal Smith

Active - 1943 - 1993  |   Born - Aug 24, 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan  |   Died - Jan 28, 1994   |   Genres - Comedy

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Character actor Hal Smith (born Harold John Smith) cut his acting teeth in various touring road companies. Before serving in the Air Force during World War II, he had amassed impressive credits as a band singer, radio disc jockey, and writer. In the postwar years, he decided to try his luck in Hollywood, although holding down a real-estate job so he'd have a financial cushion between acting jobs. His first recurring TV role was on the vintage sitcom I Married Joan (1952-53). (It was a different actor who appeared in the bit role of Anne Baxter's suitor in O. Henry's Full House [1952].) He spent most of the '50s playing guest stints and providing voice-overs for cartoon characters, and was briefly Hal the Bartender, a commercial spokesman for a popular brand of beer. In 1960, he was signed for the semi-regular role of town drunk Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show, essaying this hilarious (if politically incorrect) characterization with expertise, although he often insisted, "I don't think I've ever really been drunk in my whole life." Since Otis did not appear in every Griffith episode, Smith had time aplenty to free-lance, playing such film roles as a drunken Santa in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960) and an effeminate Roman emperor in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962), and supplying voices for such cartoon programs as Davey and Goliath and The Flintstones. By 1962, he was making 50,000 dollars per year, a tidy sum in those days. During the 1970s and '80s, Smith was most closely associated with Disney, replacing the late Vance "Pinto" Colvig as the voice of Goofy and providing voices for series ranging from Winnie the Pooh and Friends to Ducktales. Smith died in 1994.

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