NFL Star-Turned-Actor Bubba Smith Found Dead

Bubba Smith, the NFL veteran who found success as an actor, was found dead.

Aug. 3, 2011 — -- Bubba Smith, the former NFL defensive end and "Police Academy" actor, was found dead in his Los Angeles home Wednesday at the age of 66.

Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner, said he didn't know the cause or circumstances surrounding Smith's death, but that it appeared to be of natural causes.

Smith, who was born in Beaumont, Texas, played football for Michigan State. While playing for the school he was one of the strongest players, inspring fans to change "Kill, Bubba, Kill" during games.

In 1966 he played in one of the most famous college games in history, when Michigan State took on Notre Dame. Both of the teams were then undefeated, and they played to a 10-10 tie.

He was a first round draft pick in 1967 and began his professional career as a defensive end and tackle for the Baltimore Colts. He spent five seasons with the team, before playing for two years each with Oakland and Houston.

After retiring from the NFL in 1976, Smith found success as an actor, most memorably starring as soft-spoken police officer Moses Hightower in the "Police Academy" series of films.

Smith also made guest appearances on "Charlie's Angels", "Wonder Woman" and "Eight Is Enough". He is also remembered for popular Miller beer commercials featuring ex-NFL players.

"He was simply a good guy. His size made him an intimidating figure, but he was a real gentleman. He was a helluva player," former Michigan State teammate Robert Viney said in a statement released through the university.