The Leelanau School
| Walter Lane Smith III|
April 29, 1936 (1936-04-29) Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
June 13, 2005, Northridge, Los Angeles, California, United States
Debbie Benedict (m. 2000–2005)
Lane Smith Jr., Robertson Smith
Lois & Clark: The New Adv, The Mighty Ducks, My Cousin Vinny, Son in Law, The Distinguished Gentleman
Mitchell Whitfield, Justin Whalin, Bruce McGill, Jonathan Lynn, Cindy Pickett
Lane Smith Wikipedia
Walter Lane Smith III, known as Lane Smith (April 29, 1936 – June 13, 2005), was an American actor. His well-known roles included portraying collaborator entrepreneur Nathan Bates in the NBC television series V, Mayor Bates in the film Red Dawn, newspaper editor Perry White in the ABC series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Coach Jack Reilly in The Mighty Ducks, district attorney Jim Trotter III in My Cousin Vinny and American President Richard Nixon in The Final Days, for which he received a Golden Globe award nomination.
Lane Smith was born in 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Glen Arbor, Michigan and spent one year boarding at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania before going off to study at the Actors Studio in the late 1950s and early 1960s along with Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino; there he was recognized with their Hall of Fame. Smith served two years in the United States Army.
After his graduation, he found steady work in New York theater before making his film debut in Maidstone in 1970. During the 1970s, he regularly made appearances in small film roles including Rooster Cogburn in 1975 and Network in 1976. In 1981 he appeared in the Sidney Lumet-directed film Prince of the City. He also acted on television, notably playing a United States Marine in Vietnam in the television miniseries A Rumor of War and in the 1980 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie Gideon's Trumpet starring Henry Fonda, José Ferrer and John Houseman. He is also credited for playing McMurphy 650 times in the 1971 Broadway revival of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.
He made a major breakthrough in 1984 with significant roles in Red Dawn, Places in the Heart and the television series V. He also played on Quincy, M.E. in season 8, episode 7, "Science for Sale" as an oncologist searching for a cure to cancer. In 1989, Smith gained great recognition for his portrayal of former Pres. Richard Nixon in the docudrama The Final Days. Newsweek praised Smith's role by stating, "[Smith] is such a good Nixon that his despair and sorrow at his predicament become simply overwhelming." Smith later earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. He also appeared in the original Broadway stage production of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross as James Lingk. For his role, he received a Drama Desk Award.
In 1990, he appeared in Air America playing a United States Senator, a role for which he was selected based on his resemblance to then-Minority Leader Bob Dole. Two years later, he played a small-town district attorney opposite Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, followed by a role as Coach Jack Reilly in The Mighty Ducks. However, it was not until 1993 that Smith landed his first major television role as Perry White in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, for four seasons before ending in 1997. In 1994, he portrayed New York Yankees front officeman Ron in The Scout, along with Albert Brooks (Al Percolo, Yankees scout) and Brendan Fraser (player Steve Nebraska). In 1998, Smith appeared in a major role as fictional television anchorman Emmett Seaborn in the HBO miniseries From The Earth to the Moon. Smith's final film appearance was in The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000.
Smith was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) in April 2005. He died of the disease at his home in Northridge, California on June 13, 2005 at the age of 69. He was survived by his wife, Debbie Benedict Smith and his son Robert Smith.