Hal Smith; Played Otis on Griffith Show
Hal Smith, who played the chunky, cheerful, affable inebriate Otis Campbell in Andy Griffith’s mythical hometown of Mayberry, N.C., has died, apparently of a heart attack. He was 77.
Don Pitts, his longtime agent, said the TV, film and radio veteran died at his Santa Monica home Jan. 28 while listening to a nightly drama hour on radio.
Known nationally for his face and staggering presence on “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s, Smith also had a hidden career with his voice.
For most of his professional life he was the voice of cartoon characters, hawked products in hundreds of commercials and was heard off-screen in several feature films.
One of his more enduring voice-overs was as Winnie the Pooh in the Walt Disney short subjects and cartoons. He took over after Sterling Holloway, Winnie’s original voice, fell ill and died in 1992.
Pitts said Smith came to films and television after singing with big bands in the 1930s. He worked as a staff announcer on Los Angeles radio station KFI in the 1940s and then launched an acting career.
In 1986, Smith and much of the regular Mayberry crew returned to national TV for a well-received reunion. Smith’s character was one of the few that had changed--he had sobered up.
In addition to the Griffith show, still seen by millions around the world in syndication, Smith also was a featured guest on “Pat Paulsen’s Half a Comedy Hour” in 1970.
Survivors include his son, Terry, and a brother.