Best-known as the debonair star of detective drama "77 Sunset Strip" (ABC, 1958-1964), Roger Smith also enjoyed leading men roles in WWII sitcom "Mister Roberts" (NBC, 1965-66) and film noir "Teenage Delinquents" (1957) before moving behind the scenes as a producer, screenwriter and manager of actress wife Ann-Margret. Born in South Gate, CA in 1932, Smith was enrolled in stage school aged six by his parents and would later become a regular amateur talent prize-winning singer and guitarist during his studies at the University of Arizona. Smith made his screen debut performing on variety show "The Original Amateur Hour" (DuMont Television Network, 1948-49), but was encouraged to pursue an acting career after a chance meeting with James Cagney while stationed in Hawaii with the Naval Reserve. Smith subsequently landed guest spots in anthology series "Damon Runyan Theater" (CBS, 1955-56), "Celebrity Playhouse" (NBC, 1955-56) and "Ford Theatre" (ABC, 1956-57) as well as western "Sheriff of Cochise" (Syndication, 1956-1960) and sitcom "Father Knows Best" (CBS, 1954-1960). Smith then appeared alongside Cagney as his grown son Creighton in the Lon Chaney biopic "Man of a Thousand Faces" (1957) before signing a deal with Columbia Pictures. Roles as Cpl. Berryman in military comedy "Operation Mad Ball" (1957), robber Bob Miller in "Teenage Delinquents" (1957) and co-pilot John Smithback in disaster movie "Crash Landing" (1958) all followed. But it was when he moved to Warner Bros just a year later that Smith's career truly took off, largely thanks to the long-running role of suave private detective Jeff Spencer in "77 Sunset Strip" (ABC, 1958-1964). Smith's double act with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. lasted five seasons and 139 episodes, and he also guested as the same character in similar shows "Hawaiian Eye" (ABC, 1959-1963) and "Surfside 6" (ABC, 1961-62). During his stint on the show, Smith also played the older version of Patrick Dennis in Technicolor comedy "Auntie Mame" (1958) and appeared alongside Cagney again as attorney Dan Cabot in musical "Never Steal Anything Small" (1959). A blood clot found on his brain forced him out of action for several years but after making a full recovery he returned to screens in his second major recurring role, the titular lieutenant in short-lived military comedy "Mister Roberts" (NBC, 1965-66), based on the hit Broadway play and film. But after appearing alongside second wife Ann-Margret in "Criminal Symphony" (1968) and starring as private eye John Rogue in neo-noir "Rogue's Gallery" (1968), Smith decided to retire from acting altogether. Having previously penned several episodes of "77 Sunset Strip," he added to his screenwriting credits on sex comedy "They Don't Need Pajamas at Rosie's" (1969) and the much-maligned biker movie "C.C & Company" (1970), also serving as producer of both. Smith also helped guide the career of Ann-Margret, producing several of her 1970s TV specials and adoption drama "Nobody's Children" (1994) as well as steering her towards Oscar-nominated roles in "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) and "Tommy" (1975) before ill health forced him to retire. Smith passed away at Los Angeles' Sherman Oaks Hospital in 2017 aged 84.
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Made TV debut on "Damon Runyon Theater"
Played Doyle Hobbs on two episodes of "Father Knows Best"
Appeared in James Cagney biopic "Man of a Thousand Faces"
Appeared in Jack Lemmon comedic adaptation "Operation Mad Ball"
Played John Smithback in "Crash Landing"
Starred as Jeff Spencer on popular detective series "77 Sunset Strip"
Co-starred alongside James Cagney in "Never Steal Anything Small"
Appeared with James Darren in "For Those Who Think Young"
Played the title character on series "Mister Roberts"
Co-starred alongside John Thaw in "Praise Marx and Pass the Ammunition"
Had final screen role as John Rogue in "Rogue's Gallery"
Left acting to become Ann-Margret's personal manager