Former NFL defensive end turned actor Charles “Bubba” Smith was found dead in his home today apparently as a result of natural causes. He was 66.
After a stellar collegiate career with the Michigan State Spartans, Smith was signed by the Baltimore Colts where he would earn a Super Bowl ring and two Pro Bowl selections. Smith also played with the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Oilers.
But Smith is best known for his career after the gridiron as an actor. He appeared in a series of Miller Lite commercials most notably with fellow NFL alumnus Dick Butkus. In the 1980s, Smith played florist turned cop Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies.
When I think of Smith, I remember a guest spot he did on Taxi in 1982 when he played a fictional version of himself who befriends Tony Banta (played by Tony Danza) and helps him revive his boxing career. I wish I could find video for it because Smith is quite funny in this episode. There is also a hillarious sequence in which the Miami Dolphins call the garage looking for Smith. But instead the phone is answered by Reverend Jim Ignatowski (played by Christopher Lloyd) who says, “Dolphins? I knew you guys were smart but I didn’t think you could dial.”
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