William Smillie, 81; Veteran Character Actor in Film, TV
William Smillie, 81, a character actor in film and television for more than six decades who appeared in such motion pictures as “Die Hard 2" and “Singles,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles of unstated causes.
A native of Stewarton, Scotland, Smillie served in the U.S. Navy aboard a destroyer during World War II. He began working in small theaters and capped his stage career with roles in the Broadway musicals “Porgy & Bess” and “Catch a Rising Star.”
Smillie, gifted in mastering dialects, readily found work on television, appearing regularly in soap operas including “General Hospital” and prime-time series such as “Married ... With Children.” In appearances spanning more than 30 years, he was a clergyman on “The Bill Cosby Show,” a doctor on “Eight Is Enough,” a bartender in “Matt Houston,” a funeral director in “Caroline in the City” and an elderly man on “The West Wing.”
Off-camera, Smillie was a dedicated treasure hunter, searching Southern California for gold, coins and other valuables.
He was a former president of the Prospectors Club of Southern California and edited its newspaper for two decades.