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Lanky, cleft-chinned William Smith was regularly employed on television in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, never quite a star but always in there pitching. At first billing himself as Bill Smith to avoid confusion with another actor, Smith was a regular in such TV series as The Asphalt Jungle (1961), Laredo (1966), and Hawaii Five-O (from the 1979 season onward). He also became a familiar presence in the many motorcycle pictures being ground out by American International and other such concerns. In 1976, Smith was cast as the unspeakable Falconetti in the TV miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, an assignment that would assure him larger roles and better billing in all future endeavors. He even began showing up in top-of-the-bill pictures like Any Which Way You Can (1980), in which Smith and star Clint Eastwood participated in a display of friendly-enemy fisticuffs straight out of The Quiet Man. William Smith was finally awarded top billing on a TV series when he headlined the 1985 Western Wildside, playing veteran "shootist" Brodie Hollister.

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