Paul Lawrence Smith (June 24, 1936 – April 25, 2012), most frequently credited as Paul Smith or Paul L. Smith, was an American actor. Burly, bearded and imposing, he appeared in feature films and occasionally on television since the 1970s, generally playing "heavies" and bad guys. His most notable roles include Hamidou, the vicious prison guard in Midnight Express (1978), Bluto in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), Gideon in the ABC miniseries Masada (1981), Glossu Rabban in David Lynch's Dune (1984) and Falkon in Red Sonja (1985).
Born in Everett, Massachusetts into a Jewish family, Smith was raised in Miami, Florida, graduating in 1954 from Miami Senior High School where he played football and became a High School All American.
He attended Brandeis University but transferred to Florida State University on a football scholarship and graduated in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Philosophy.
Smith's first acting role was in Exodus, which was filmed in Israel. This was his first visit to the country. In 1967, Smith returned to Israel as a Mahal volunteer in the Six-Day War and stayed there until 1973. In that time, he participated in five productions filmed in Israel.
Afterwards, he moved to Italy where, due to his resemblance to Bud Spencer, he made a series of films with Michael Coby (pseudonym of Antonio Cantafora), a Terence Hill lookalike. One of these films Convoy Buddies was selected for American release by Film Ventures International, and producer Edward L. Montoro changed Smith's name to Bob Spencer and Cantafora's name to Terrance Hall. Smith sued, successfully arguing that an actor's name recognition is vital to his career. The judicial system agreed and ruled against FVI, which paid Smith damages and court costs.In 1977, Smith moved to Hollywood, making appearances in such films as 21 Hours at Munich (1976), Midnight Express (1978), as Bluto in Popeye (1980), and as Glossu Rabban in Dune (1984). On television he appeared in such established series as Emergency!, CHiPS, Wonder Woman, Barney Miller and Hawaii Five-O.
Smith was Jewish. He briefly attended Brandeis University, where he met and married his first wife, Norma Kalman. They had one son, Elliot. Paul and Norma divorced in 1960.
He subsequently married Eve Smith. Smith eventually retired from acting and in February 2006 he and his wife emigrated to Israel, adopting Ra'anana as their new home. After taking Israeli citizenship, the couple adopted Hebrew names: Adam and Aviva Eden.
On April 25, 2012, Smith died in Ra'anana at age 75. The cause of death is unconfirmed.
I'm Mean (1980)References
Paul L. Smith at IMDb
Paul L. Smith at Find a Grave
Paul L. Smith at AllMovie