Air Date: March 31, 2014
Dean Smith Actor/Stuntman, born in Breckenridge Texas in 1932, Finis Dean Smith was raised by his paternal grandmother and grandfather after his mother died when he was two. Dean grew up watching westerns at the local theaters and dreamed of following in his many western hero’s footsteps to be apart of Hollywood and make westerns.
He was an outstanding athlete in Graham High School making Look Magazine’s All American in the 100 yard dash. He went on to have an outstanding career at the University of Texas in track and football. He won eight Southwest Conference titles and won every major relay in the US including the National Championships. He went to the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki Finland and won the gold in the 400 meter relay. He got beat in the 100 meters in the closest finish in Olympic history.
He did two years in the Army and played for the LA Rams. His Olympic roommate J.W. Mashburn introduced him to his good friend James Garner. Garner helped Dean get into the business and he made a name doing stunts and doubling many leading men like Dale Robertson, Robert Redford, so many in fact they are too numerous to count. He made 10 movies with John Wayne. His first “The Alamo” (his favorite) made in 1959 in Texas is where he became acquainted with the John Wayne family. He has held them in his heart ever since with much admiration and love.
Dean retired in 1992 and returned to Texas and the land he grew up on. After two months home his former wife had a horrible car accident and became a complete paraplegic and eventually lost her life.