News is just hitting on the death of beloved ex-NFL star and “Police Academy” actor Bubba Smith.
Smith, who played ‘Hightower’ in the popular film franchise, was 66.
The actor was apparently found at his Los Angeles home earlier today; the cause of death is unknown at this stage.
The NY Times on Smith :
The 6-foot-7 (or possibly 6-foot-8), nearly 300-pound Smith, a defensive lineman, was the No. 1 draft pick for the Baltimore Colts in 1967. He spent nine seasons in the N.F.L., playing on two Pro Bowl teams, in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 he helped propel the Colts to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
Traded to the Oakland Raiders before the start of the 1972 season, Smith played two seasons with them before winding up his career with the Houston Oilers. He retired after the 1976 season.
Afterward, Smith made a career of playing rather large men on film and television. He was best known for his role as Moses Hightower, the mild-mannered florist-turned-lawman in the film comedy “Police Academy” (1984) and many of its sequels.
He starred in the short-lived TV crime series “Blue Thunder” (1984) and had roles on many other shows, including “Good Times,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Semi-Tough,” “Hart to Hart,” “Married With Children” and “Family Matters.”
Earlier this week it was reported that “Police Academy 8″, set up at New Line, was looking to begin filming later this year. Many of the original cast members were expected to reprise their roles (with current comedy faves, including Jason Sudeikis, rumoured to be filling the ‘recruit’ roles); assumingly, Smith would’ve been one of them.
Rest in peace big guy.