Bubba Smith, ‘Police Academy’ Actor and NFL Star, Found Dead at 66

Former Super Bowl winner also starred in “Blue Thunder” television series

Last Updated: August 3, 2011 @ 6:33 PM

Bubba Smith, who transitioned from professional football into a career in acting, was found dead in his Los Angeles residence on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office confirmed. He was 66 years old.

The Coroner's Office told TheWrap that an investigation is in progress.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, he was found by a caretaker.

Born Charles Aaron Smith in Beaumont, Texas, in 1945, Smith began his nine-year career in the NFL in 1967, after being drafted by the Baltimore Colts. His tenure with the Colts earned Smith his first Super Bowl ring, when the team won Super Bowl V. The defensive end was later traded to the Oakland Raiders, finishing his career with the Houston Oilers.

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The 6' 7" Smith segued into acting following his retirement from the NFL, at first picking up small television roles starting in the late '70s on such series as "Wonder Woman," "Charlie's Angels" and "Eight is Enough," moving on to a starring role as Lyman "Bubba" Kelsey in the short-lived series "Blue Thunder" in 1984.

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That same year, Smith began his rise to big-screen notoriety in the first "Police Academy" movie. Smith played soft-spoken police officer Moses Hightower throughout the duration of the six-film series, reprising the role for the 1997 TV offering "Police Academy: The Series." In the later years of his acting career, Smith would also guest-star in series such as "Married With Children," "MacGyver" and "Family Matters."