Dean Smith, a sprinter who won a gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics and later became a top Hollywood stuntman, appearing in many movies starring John Wayne and Paul Newman, died Saturday. He was 91.
Smith died at his home in Breckenridge, Texas, after a battle with cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Smith was born in Breckenridge on Jan. 15, 1932, and earned All-America honors in the 100-meter dash in 1952, Variety reported. He won a gold medal competing as part of the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team in the Helsinki Olympics.
He returned to the University of Texas and played running back for the Longhorns, gaining 13 yards on three carries, according to Sports-Reference.com.
Turning to Hollywood after his athletic career ended, Smith became a stuntman. He worked in several Academy Award-winning films, including movies starring Wayne in “True Grit” and “How the West Was Won,” according to Variety.
He also appeared with Wayne in “The Comancheros,” “In Harm’s Way,” “El Dorado,” “The War Wagon,” “Rio Lobo,” “Big Jake” and “The Train Robbers.”
Smith even wore a red wig and white bustle to stand in for Maureen O’Hara in the Wayne movie, “McLintock” in 1963, according to The Hollywood Reporter. O’Hara’s character backs out of a two-story building and lands in a hay wagon and then holds onto the back of a moving carriage.
“The other stuntmen just kidded me all over the place, said it looked like I had walnuts in my socks,” he told Rob Word on a 2014 episode of the web series “A Word on Westerns.” “But anyway, I made more money on “McLintock!” than any of the other stuntmen, so you can’t complain on that.”
Smith also appeared in seven films featuring Paul Newman, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “The Sting,” and “The Towering Inferno,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Smith also worked as a stuntman in several television series, including “Tales of Wells Fargo,” “Maverick,” “Gunsmoke,” “Law Man, “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “The Outer Limits,” Variety reported.
He also worked as a professional rodeo cowboy and was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2006, the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Hollywood Stuntman’s Hall of Fame, Variety reported.
Help a Deserving Family Get a New Roof for Free!
LISTEN LIVE: Listen to Houston’s Eagle now!
SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream and Spooktacular
Dean & Rog’s Thousand Dollar Minute
Dean & Rog Mornings
Play the Harley High Roller Contest
On-air surprise: Joe Buck learns he is joining father in Pro Football Hall of Fame
‘Leave him alone’: Adele halts Las Vegas show, scolds security for ‘bothering’ fan