How did William Smith die? 'Hawaii Five-O' star dead at 88, fans mourn 'greatest TV villain'

'Hawaii Five-O' actor William Smith died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills on Monday, July 5. He was 88


                            How did William Smith die? 'Hawaii Five-O' star dead at 88, fans mourn 'greatest TV villain'
In a career span of more than 75 years, William Smith appeared in almost three hundred feature films and television productions (Twitter)

Actor William Smith, who was famous for starring in television shows like 'Hawaii Five-O' and 'Laredo', has died. The actor took his last breath at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills on Monday, July 5, according to his wife Joanne Cervelli Smith. Smith was 88 years old.

The cause of the actor's death is unknown yet. However, news of his death has saddened the industry which is already mourning the loss of a lot of great actors recently. Chick Vennera, Robert Downey Sr, Richard Donner and Frank Bonner are to name a few.

READ MORE

How did Joy Vogelsang die? Nicolas Cage's mom, 85, battled schizophrenia

How did Lisa Banes die? Actor, 65, was on way to meet wife Kathryn Kranhold

Actor William Smith and his wife Joanne (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

William Smith life and career

In a career span of more than 75 years, Smith appeared in almost three hundred feature films and television productions. The actor was famously known for his stint as Falconetti in 1976’s 'Rich Man, Poor Man'. Smith was also known to fight in two of the most memorable fight sequences in cinematic history going up against Clint Eastwood in 1980’s 'Any Which Way You Can' and Rod Taylor in 1970’s 'Darker than Amber'. "It has to be one of the longest two-man fights ever done on film without doubles," Smith said about the fight scene with Clint Eastwood in 'Any Which Way You Can'. Born in Columbia, Missouri on March 24, 1933, Smith debuted as a child actor in 1942 in films like 'The Ghost of Frankenstein', 'The Song of Bernadette' and 'Meet Me in St. Louis' at the age of 8.

Smith left Hollywood for a while when he enlisted in the Army to fight in the Korean War, during which he served as a Russian Intercept Interrogator and flew secret ferret missions over the Russian SFSR. Having both CIA and NSA clearance, Smith made up his mind to enter a classified position with the US government, but while he was working on his doctorate studies he took on an acting contract with MGM.

After returning to California, Smith continued acting and starred in films like 'Run, Angel, Run!', 'The Losers', 'Angels Die Hard', 'C.C. and Company', 'Chrome and Hot Leather,' 'Gentle Savage' and 'Eye of the Tiger'. He also portrayed Texas Ranger Joe Riley in the two seasons of 'Laredo' and then joined the original cast of 'Hawaii Five-O' for its last season. The iconic actor also was a part of the first miniseries broadcast on American television, 'Rich Man, Poor Man'. Smith is survived by his wife of 31 years, Joanne Cervelli Smith and his two children William E. Smith III and Sherri Anne Cervelli.

William Smith remembered as 'greatest TV villain ever'

Fans took to Twitter and posted messages of condolence for the iconic actor remembering his great performances. One fan wrote, "Greatest TV villain ever, as a kid in the 70's everyone and their aunt hated the character of Falconetti that he brought to life in 'Rich Man, Poor Man'. He was so convincing as a villain that people attacked him in the streets! R.I.P William Smith & thanks for the memories."

Another tweeted, "Rest in Peace, William Smith. Loved his performances as Joe Riley in the TV series #Laredo ('65-'67), & in particular in the season 2 episode, 'The Bitter Yen of General Ti,' with Irene Tsu." One fan commented, "I'll never forget that fearsome brawl between Rod Taylor and William Smith in Darker than Amber. To me, it was like the hand-to-hand combat version of the Battle of Bloody Porch. So insanely violent for its time. RIP, Big Bill."

Another tweeted, "A sad day for Classic HFO fans. William Smith was in the Season 12 Classic HFO season 1979-1980. It was the final season. One of those great men you thought would live forever. In excellent shape and healthy living. #RIP #WilliamSmith."



 



 



 



 

If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515