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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (26)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 March 1931Los Angeles, California, USA
Date of Death 25 January 1995Los Angeles, California, USA  (cirrhosis of the liver)
Birth NameRobert Errol Van Orden
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Actor John Smith was born Robert Errol Van Orden in Los Angeles. He began his career singing with The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir, a group which appeared in two Bing Crosby films, Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).

His agent Henry Willson, who also gave Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson their names, changed Van Orden's name to "John Smith". Robert Hofler, author of "The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson", reports that an actress identified as Pocahontas Crowfoot was in the courtroom when the name change was granted.

In We're No Angels (1955), Smith had a small role as "Arnaud", the ship's doctor. Aldo Ray, observing the doctor in full dress whites, says "he looks like a glass of milk". John Smith's other film credits include Circus World (1964) and Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1972). Smith also appeared in the television westerns Cimarron City (1958) and Laramie (1959).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: jojo-acapulco

Spouse (1)

Luana Patten (4 June 1960 - 3 December 1964) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

The character of Slim Sherman in Laramie (1959).

Trivia (26)

Born at 8:12pm-PST
Has a daughter, but not by wife.
According to his obituary, Robert Van Orden changed his name to John Smith in order to be 'the only one in the business.'
Early in his career he was a member of the The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir.
Graduated from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California, in 1949.
Acting mentor was George Montgomery.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Slim Sherman on Laramie (1959).
Worked with Robert Fuller and Julie London on episodes of two television series: Laramie (1959) and Emergency! (1972).
Met Robert Fuller and Doug McClure in 1956, while working on the movie Friendly Persuasion (1956), though they didn't all participate in the movie.
Best friends with Robert Fuller for almost 40 years, from 1956 till Smith's death in 1995.
Went to high school with future baseball manager Sparky Anderson.
Of Dutch, German and Irish ancestry.
Died just 1 week before Doug McClure.
Started singing at age 13.
Before he was a successful actor, in his youth, he was also a singer in both Bing Crosby movies.
His parents were Errol and Margaret Van Orden.
After his last guest-starring role on Emergency! (1972), Smith withdrew from acting at the age of 41.
Before he was a successful actor, he worked at MGM Studios as a mailboy and soon advanced to head of the mail department.
Upon his death, he was cremated, his ashes were scattered at sea.
Was a guest at the very first Festival of The West in 1990. In later years, failing health prevented him from attending. Smith died in 1995.
Had originally decided to be an aeronautical engineer.
Was an excellent deep sea diver and an avid hunter.
A sports and cowboy buff.
He introduced Julie London to Robert Fuller, whom Fuller became his best friend for 40 years until London's death in 2000.
His ex-Laramie (1959) co-star, Robert Fuller, paid tribute to him at the Festival of the West, in Scottsdale, Arizona, 15 years after Smith's death [20 March 2010].

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