Charles Aaron “Bubba” Smith, a former top pick in the NFL who is best known for his role in the Police Academy movie series, has died at the age of 66.
Smith, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end, enjoyed an All-American career at Michigan State before being selected first by the Baltimore Colts in the 1967 NFL draft.
After playing five seasons for the Colts – one of which earned him a Super Bowl Victory and ring – Smith was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he played in 1973 and 1974, and finished his career with the Houston Oilers in 1975 and 1976.
After retiring, Smith turned to acting in movies and TV, playing Moses Hightower in six “Police Academy” movies, and appearing in a number of TV series, including “Half-Nelson,” “Blue Thunder” and “Good Times.”
The tragic news of Bubba’s death stunned those who knew him well.
Hank Bullough, his defensive coordinator at MSU, revealed that he recently talked with Smith and confirmed that he would be back in East Lansing for MSU’s Oct. 22 homecoming game against Wisconsin.
“It’s real shocking,” Bullough said. “He’s a guy who did a lot of things to help people, he was a good guy.”
While the official cause of death is unknown at this time, authorities believe Smith appeared to die of natural causes as there were no initial indications of foul play.
The L.A. County coroner’s office is likely to decide Thursday whether to perform an autopsy on the pro football player turned actor.
“That will be up to the doctor, the pathologist, to decide,” S. Dixson, a coroner’s investigator, explained.
Here is memorable clip featuring Bubba Smith as “Hightower” in Police Academy 3.
via LA Times