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Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:32 pm

LOS ANGELES -- Former NFL defensive star Bubba Smith, who found a successful second career as an actor, died Wednesday in Los Angeles at age 66.

Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said Smith was found dead at his Baldwin Hills home. Winter said he didn't know the circumstances or cause of death.


Police spokesman Richard French added the death does not appear to be suspicious.

The top overall pick in the 1967 draft after a sensational career at Michigan State, the 6-foot-7 Smith spent five seasons with the Baltimore Colts and two seasons each with Oakland and Houston. He won the 1971 Super Bowl with the Colts.

One of the most feared defensive ends in the game, Smith often drew two blockers, yet was effective enough to make two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team. His best work, though, came in college, and Smith was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

"He was simply a good guy," former Michigan State teammate Robert Viney said in a statement released through the university. "His size made him an intimidating figure, but he was a real gentleman. He was a helluva player."

As an actor his most memorable role was playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the "Police Academy" series. He also appeared in such television series as "Good Times," "Charlie's Angels," and "Half Nelson," and was a regular in the ground-breaking Miller Lite commercials featuring retired players.

Born Charles Aaron Smith, he played in high school for his father, Willie Ray Smith, in Beaumont, Texas, before heading to Michigan State, where he was an All-American in 1966.

"'Bubba' Smith was a great Spartan," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in a statement. "As both a football player and later as an actor, 'Bubba' was a great ambassador for the University. It's only fitting that beginning this fall the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Award bears his name."

At Michigan State he played on some of the school's greatest teams and was one of its best players. Fans in East Lansing, Mich., would chant, "Kill, Bubba, Kill" during games and his No. 95 jersey was retired in 2006.

"I will shed some tears tonight because I've lost a great friend," Viney said. "He never sought the spotlight. He was a humble man. As I remember him, I recall the chants of "Kill, Bubba, Kill" from the crowd in Spartan Stadium. He will be missed."

Smith was part of two of the most famous football games ever played. In 1966, he was at Michigan State when the Spartans and Notre Dame, both undefeated, played to a 10-10 tie. Michigan State finished second behind the top-ranked Fighting Irish.

In 1969, he played for the Colts against the New York Jets in the Super Bowl. Led by Joe Namath, the Jets of the AFL upset the NFL champion Colts 16-7 in Miami.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:33 pm

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Re: Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:34 pm

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Re: Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:35 pm

thats a shocker........... and a bummer, great fball player....

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:40 pm

this'll make ndunn sad, as I believe she bleeds Spartan Green.

never got to see him play, but did see his movies.
he was also in Stroker Ace w/ Burt Reynolds....and lots of nascar drivers in that one

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:49 am

I was never into footbal. But loved him in the Police Academy movies.

RIP Bubba

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:59 am

jamo14 wrote:this'll make ndunn sad, as I believe she bleeds Spartan Green.

never got to see him play, but did see his movies.
he was also in Stroker Ace w/ Burt Reynolds....and lots of nascar drivers in that one

Thanks jamo for the postings. They made me cry. Those that made Michigan State proud are never forgotten and Bubba was one of the best. He was a quiet decent man with athletic ability that doesn't compare. Yes I do bleed green but also when it counts I can bleed BLUE. I love the Big House and all the Hype except when the students come to East lansing and paint the Sparty statue blue. They finally got smart and guard it so no more painting. Thanks jamo.....

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:23 pm

Of all the Big Ten schools, the one with the most class, respect, best attitude, best sportsmanship from the athletes/ coaches has always been Michigan State, in my opinion.

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:37 am

Great football player thoughts and prayers to his family and friends

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:41 pm

jamo14 wrote:Of all the Big Ten schools, the one with the most class, respect, best attitude, best sportsmanship from the athletes/ coaches has always been Michigan State, in my opinion.

Jamo have you ever been on the campus of Michigan State? I know ytou had worked in the state and I just wondered. I have always loved the campus for the stately trees and beautiful buildings. It's a city all it's own. Michigan State started out as an agriculture college and has wonderful farm land they experimented things on. I don't know how many acres the University has but it's quite alot and during the year they have over 40,000 students. Perhaps alot more than that. I don't keep track. Michigan State over the years have had great coaches as well as Michigan has had. Alot of Alumni were upset when Nick Sabin left but they continue to find the best they can afford.

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:48 pm

I have ndunn, had some college rodeos up there....GREAT facility!
I loved the campus as well, although I only got to see it in the wintertime.

Re: Bubba Smith Died

Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:16 am

jamo14 wrote:I have ndunn, had some college rodeos up there....GREAT facility!
I loved the campus as well, although I only got to see it in the wintertime.

I'm sure it was pretty in the winter if there had been snow but the summer and fall are beautiful because of the trees. In October when the leaves change colors it is awesome. I haven't been on campus in a few years to see some of the new buildings. They are building all the time. They just tore down the married housing that was built after WW 2 for the veterans that came after the war. I believe they are building new modern housing in the same place. They have so much going on one can't keep track. I do know they have one of the best animal hospitals in the country along with the veterinary school.
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