Vale: Roger Smith
US actor best known for 77 Sunset Strip has died.
US actor Roger Smith, best known for 77 Sunset Strip, has died, aged 84.
He died at a Los Angeles hospital after battling the nerve disease myasthenia gravis for many years.
Smith launched his career in the 1950s when James Cagney spotted him and recommended him for films.
From 1958 to 1963, he co-starred with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., playing Jeff Spencer on 77 Sunset Strip, a fore-runner to Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6 and Bourbon Street Beat. In its Encyclopedia of Television, the Museum of Broadcast Communications said the show revived the crime drama and became “the epicenter of hipness on television, a sun-drenched world of cocktails, cool jazz and convertibles.”
Smith once told the Los Angeles Times that the series aimed to show that private investigators were well-trained, serious men, and not the movie and TV stereotype with “dangling cigarettes and large chips on their shoulders.”
Later Smith got the title role on Mister Roberts, based on the 1955 comedy-drama about Navy life. It lasted from 1965-66.
Other credits included Father Knows Best, Wagon Train, and Auntie Mame.
Smith survived two serious illnesses to have a second career as manager of his second wife, entertainer Ann-Margret.
He was previously married to a glamorous Australian actress, Victoria Shaw.
Source: USA Today