Paul Smith

Active - 1970 - 1995  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Thriller

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Biography by AllMovie

Massive, heavily bearded American actor Paul L. Smith had been a professional athlete before gravitating to films in the late '70s. His first important role was as the brutal, depraved Turkish prison guard Hamidou in Midnight Express (1978). Consigned by his size and weight to play villains (or at the very least, bullies), Smith was cast as Bluto, eternal nemesis to Popeye the Sailor and Olive Oyl, in the 1980 film/musical misfire Popeye. After several years of giving his all in abnormal roles in such films as Dune (1984) (as Beast Rabban), Red Sonya (1985) (as Falkon) and Caged Fury (1986) -- with a few side trips to Europe to make spaghetti westerns -- Smith gradually began to get parts that allowed him to play a recognizable human being. Paul L. Smith's appeared in 1994's Maverick as a Russian prince who travels to America for the express purpose of shooting Indians. The performance might have been broad and overstated, but at least Smith was believable -- and, despite the gross political incorrectness inherent in the role, he was even likable.

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