A Cowboy Stunt Double Who Made The Stars Look Good | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A Cowboy Stunt Double Who Made The Stars Look Good

Play associated audio

For 40 years, Dean Smith made his living as a stunt double in Hollywood Westerns — including eight Oscar winners and nominees — like True Grit, The Alamo and How The West Was Won.

"I was able to make all the leading men look good," Dean tells his wife Debby in an interview with StoryCorps. And not just men, he adds.

"One time, I doubled [as] Maureen O'Hara. I got the clothes and I got this big red wig. When I got back on the set, they laughed at me and they said my legs didn't look too much like Maureen's," he laughs.

"Now, everything can't be all autographs and sunglasses," Dean says. "There's a lot of people that helped me. Guys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and John Wayne, all these guys, well, they were like my relatives. And then I woke up one morning and they had all gone."

Now, the Smiths live on the farm where Dean was raised in Breckenridge, Texas. "It's not the biggest ranch in Texas, but it's a piece of dirt that I'm sure proud of. And when I die I'll never be able to get all this dirt in that casket with me," he says.

"How would you like to be remembered?" Debby asks.

"As the cowboy that could ride, run and jump with anybody in the world," he says. "I'd like to do it again! Now that's what I'd like."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Breaking Bad' Fans Get Their Fix In Spanish

Metástasis, the Spanish-language remake of the AMC series, ends this week on UniMás. The show is set in Colombia instead of New Mexico, but the story of a teacher-turned-drug dealer stays the same.
NPR

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready To Ditch The Wrapper

To reduce waste, some enterprising companies are trying to roll out products that make the package part of the snack — edible packaging. But selling it to the retail market is trickier than it seems.
WAMU 88.5

Senator's Legislation Would Strip NFL Of Nonprofit Status

The Redskins' refusal to change its name has prompted the legislation from U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
NPR

The Kaypro II: An Early Computer With A Writer's Heart

Commentator Andrei Codrescu remembers the first word processor he had — the Kaypro II in the 1980s. Its inventor, Andrew Kay, died Aug. 28, at the age of 95.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.