Former NFL star and delightful comedic giant, Charles “Bubba” Smith was found dead in his Los Angeles home yesterday, apparently from natural causes. Smith was 66-years old. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the first pick of the draft in 1967, Smith also played for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers. However, it was with the Colts in 1971 that the All-Pro and Pro-Bowl defensive end won his only Super Bowl title.
As a child of the late 80s and early 90s, I can’t really pretend to be an expert on Smith’s collegiate and professional football careers, other than what I’ve read in other news articles and on Wikipedia. Like most people my age (somewhere between 21 and 35) I remember Smith best from one thing – Police Academy. As Moses Hightower, Smith was one of the hilarious characters alongside Steve Guttenberg’s Carey Mahoney, making a mockery of big city police and providing cheap jokes in a franchise that unfortunately began beating a dead horse when Guttenberg was replaced by Matt McCoy for Assignment: Miami Beach. But I digress.
Thanks to the merriment and convenience of YouTube, new generations have also been able to appreciate Smith’s first foray into acting, in a series of hilarious Miller Lite commercials that featured other big sports names like John Madden and Billy Martin, as well as comedic legend Rodney Dangerfield. But if you ask me, Smith’s acting career wasn’t defined by Hightower, as much as it was created by the character. His true defining moment came on my favorite TV show of all-time, and you can see that clip, and a few others after the jump.