NFL star turned actor Bubba Smith dies at 66
LOS ANGELES — Bubba Smith, a former All-Pro football player turned actor and commercial pitch man who delighted TV viewers by wrenching off the tops of "easy-opening cans" of beer, was found dead Wednesday at his Los Angeles home. He was 66.
The cause of death has not been determined, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said.
A caretaker found Smith at his home in Los Angeles' Baldwin Hills section, police said.
A 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end, Smith was the No. 1 NFL draft pick from Michigan State when he joined the Baltimore Colts in 1967.
He played five seasons for the Colts, which included their upset loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. He spent two seasons with the Oakland Raiders and two more with the Houston Oilers before a knee injury ended his career in 1976.
After football, Smith was recruited to the ranks of former professional athletes who appeared as themselves in commercials for Miller Lite beer. He and fellow NFL veteran Dick Butkus were cast as inept golfers and polo players in the TV spots. Smith was also featured solo in one commercial extolling the virtues of the beer, beaming into the camera, "I also love the easy-opening cans," while ripping off the top of the can.
Charles Aaron Smith was born Feb. 28, 1945, in Orange, Texas, and grew up in Beaumont, where his mother was a teacher and his father was his high school football coach.
At Michigan State, Smith became an All-America defensive end for the Spartans, who went 19-1-1 his last two seasons. He also earned a bachelor's degree in sociology.
His brother Tody, a star at USC and in the NFL, later became Bubba's agent. He died at 50 in 1999.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers remain confident in defense
- Berry wins Steelers’ punting job; Wing traded to Giants
- Steelers laud decision, praise Brady for taking on Goodell
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Steelers notebook: Thomas, Moats only starting defensive players to see action vs. Panthers
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Steelers notebook: New kicker Scobee relishes opportunity
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Steelers won’t change contract policy for Antonio Brown