Missing Hollywood Exec Gavin Smith's Family Pleads for Help

PHOTO: Gavin Smith, 57, left, a movie executive with 20th Century Fox studios has gone missing.PlayABC News
WATCH Movie Executive Gavin Smith Missing

The mystery of what happened to Hollywood executive Gavin Smith began last week, when Smith was staying at a friend's house and drove off, without a word, in his black Mercedes around 10 p.m. and never came back.

Smith, 57, was reported missing by his wife on Wednesday morning when he failed to pick up his son to take him to school and then did not call into work or his family. Smith's wife, children, and sister told ABC News that the former UCLA basketball star and 20th Century Fox movie executive would never abandon his family.

"He would never do anything like that. He's a great father. My dad had no reason to leave. No reason at all," said Evan Smith, Gavin's eldest son and a star basketball player at USC.

The family would not say why Smith, an 18-year veteran in the movie industry who has helped distribute movies such as "Avatar" and the "Star Wars" trilogy, was staying with a family friend in Oak Park, Calif., Tuesday night. He had returned earlier that that day from a movie convention in Las Vegas and was supposed to stay the night there, but the family said it was unusual that he left that home at 10 p.m. without warning.

"They had already gone to bed," Lisa Smith said. "So, he was still downstairs watching TV when our friend went to bed. And he was going to be coming up to bed shortly."

The Smiths told ABC News that Gavin Smith's cell phone charger, shaving kit, and other belongings were all at the friend's house where he was staying. He was last seen wearing purple workout pants that had belonged to his teenage son, which the family says is a sure sign he had no intention of going out anywhere in public.

"That's what he was wearing, you know? It doesn't sound like he was going anywhere, you know?" Evan Smith said.

Lisa Smith said she last spoke to her husband Tuesday during the day to arrange plans for Wednesday morning for him to come pick up his son and take him to school. Lisa Smith was busy taking care of her mother, who is battling cancer, she said.

"As soon as I heard that he had not picked up Austin from school, that's when I said, 'There has to be something wrong.' What that is, I don't know. I don't know," said Tara Addeo, Smith's sister.

The family has not been able to track down Smith through cell phone or credit card use or locate his car. They say he had no known enemies.

"We know someone knows something. There's no doubt that someone knows something," Lisa Smith said.

"He's so recognizable, and he was in purple pants," Addeo added.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Public Information Officer Steve Whitmore told ABC News it's a missing-person case. The sheriff's department has asked the public for tips.

Authorities say he was driving his black 2000 Mercedes-Benz 420E with a storage rack on the roof, tinted windows and a California license plate number 6EKT044. Lisa Smith and family friends have searched for signs of the car in ravines or off-road locations, but have not been able to find anything, she said.

Evan Smith has been using Twitter to spread the word on his father's disappearance, and the family has been trying to spread the word about Gavin's disappearance through Facebook and flyers posted around the area.

"Still looking for him, I'll never stop," Evan Smith tweeted on Sunday.

"WOW. So many people have come to my family's side in these times of despair and confusion. i thank each and everyone of you for your support," he wrote on Monday.

Gavin Smith played for UCLA's 1975 national championship team under the legendary coach John Wooden. He has been a longtime employee at Fox.

Chris Aronson of 20th Century Fox said in statement that they are "extremely worried" about Smith and they are assisting the sheriff's search for him.

Gavin Smith is described as 6-feet-6, weighing 210 pounds, with green eyes, gray hair with blond streaks and a goatee. He has a 5-inch scar on his calf and a 4-inch scar on his inner right wrist.

Anyone with information about Smith's whereabouts is urged to contact detectives at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau.