Police Academy's Bubba Smith died

Only 66, he died way too soon.

I remember Bubba Smith best for his short lived series Blue Thunder. His pal Dick Butkus appeared with him. Those two often worked together in various tv projects.

Bubba is also known for the many Police Academy movies. Hightower has always been a popular character in those movies.

The big guy will be missed. All six foot seven inches of him. :slight_smile: He had no problems with those Miller Lite commercials and the easy opening can. Oh yeah, he also played football and won a Superbowl ring with the Colts. I’ll always remember him primarily as an actor with a great comedic touch.

Miller Lite commercial with Bubba and others

Easy opening can. Bubba was great in these

La Times article

He had gained a lot of weight in the past few years.

Guy Magar one of the directors on Blue Thunder.


That’s sad. I always liked him.

Has it really been 45 years since the Bubba-led Spartans and Notre Dame locked horns in the “Tie One for the Gipper” game?

Bubba was hilarious in those Miller Lite commercials. But at the same time, I respected him when he stopped doing them. They were defining him. Kids only knew him as “the beer commercial guy”, and he didn’t want that.

Blue Thunder, Manimal and Automan were shows that I could probably never sit through now but, when they were on the air, represented the pinnacle of Western civilization to us 5th & 6th grade boys. They are awesome.

So long, Bubba Smith.

Acting experience and a football resume like he had? Pity ESPN wasn’t as popular then, or they could have given him a job. And I liked everything he did, especially turning over that car in Police Academy.

Good night, Officer Hightower.

I only saw him once, when he played for Michigan State. He was a presence on the field. He was big, incredibly big, fast, quicker than you (or our offensive line) could imagine, and smart. He was good enough that a hostile student section cheered him.

And now he is gone, along with another piece of our youth.

This thread could’ve just as well gone in The Game Room.

Incidentally, did Bubba Smith ever get elected to the Pro Football HOF? If not, was his career too short for him to be considered?

Bubba played football for 9 years. He’s in the college hall of fame. Wiki doesn’t mention him in the Pro HoF.

Bubba was an actor and commercial pitchman for over thirty-five years. I think most people under 40 probably remember him in the Police Academy movies and the commercials.

Dick Butkus said…

I still think SNL should have hired him as a one-shot surprise for Hans & Frans. Sneak up behind 'em.

9 seasons. 1 Super Bowl ring, 1 All-Pro, and 2 Pro-Bowls. Not too short a career, really. It’s about as long as Jim Brown’s.

He had a good career, maybe even a great career, but there are only 7 people selected each year. And while he had a solid career, it was nothing exceptional by NFL standards.

This is a real shame. I always enjoyed him in the Police Academy movies.