Bubba Smith, one of the performers in the Police Academy movies and the 6-foot-7 former National Football League player, was found dead earlier today, Aug. 3, at his Baldwin Hills home in Los Angeles. Smith was 66. No foul play is suspected.
As a professional football player, Charles Aaron ‘Bubba’ Smith (born Feb. 28, 1945, in Beaumont, Texas) played with the Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders, and Houston Oilers from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.
From the late 1970s on, Smith began to sporadically appear in films. His one notable big-screen role was that of soft-spoken florist-turned-police cadet Moses Hightower, later promoted to sergeant and finally lieutenant in the Police Academy movies of the mid-to-late 1980s. Those were inane slapstick fare that was generally derided by critics; the first movie in the series, however, became a major box office hit, collecting more $81 million in 1984 (or about $192 million today). Hugh Wilson directed, and Steve Guttenberg and Kim Cattrall starred.
Among Smith’s other film roles were those in Nico Mastorakis’ The Naked Truth (1993), Ezio Greggio’s The Silence of the Hams (1994), and Shedrack Anderson III’s Blood River (2010). He also co-starred with former NFL player Dick Butkus in the short-lived television series Blue Thunder.