Charles Martin Smith
Born (1953-10-30) October 30, 1953 (age 68)
OccupationActor, writer, director
Years active1971–present
Spouse(s)Ursula Martin (divorced)
Partner(s)Juli Goldstein

Charles Martin Smith (born October 30, 1953) is an American actor, writer, and director of film and television, based in British Columbia. He is known for his roles in American Graffiti (1973), The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Never Cry Wolf (1983), Starman (1984), The Untouchables (1987), Deep Cover (1992), And the Band Played On (1993), Speechless (1994) and Deep Impact (1998).

As a director, he is further known for the films The Snow Walker (2003), Stone of Destiny (2008), Dolphin Tale (2011), Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) and A Dog's Way Home (2019). His directorial work has earned him much acclaim, with numerous BAFTA, Genie, and Leo Award nominations.


Early life

Smith was born in Van Nuys, California. His father, Frank Smith, was a film cartoonist and animator,[1] while his uncle Paul J. Smith was an animator as well as a director for the Walter Lantz Studios.[citation needed] Smith spent three years of his youth in Paris, where his father managed the English-language branch of a French animation studio.[2] He received his high school diploma from Grover Cleveland High School, Reseda, California. He attended California State University, Northridge and was awarded a B.A. in Theatre.

Acting background

Smith was discovered by a talent agent while acting in a school play, Man of La Mancha. After a few years of working in film and television, he landed the role of Terry "The Toad" Fields in George Lucas's 1973 film American Graffiti, a role he reprised in the film's 1979 sequel, More American Graffiti.

In 1973, he and American Graffiti co-star Cindy Williams appeared together in an episode of Love, American Style titled "Love and the Time Machine".

In 1974 he starred with Ron Howard in The Spikes Gang, filmed in Spain, along with Lee Marvin and Gary Grimes; and in 1978 he earned a starring role in Cotton Candy, directed by Howard.

Smith played one of Buddy Holly's bandmates in The Buddy Holly Story, a race car driver in Disney's Herbie Goes Bananas, and the starring role as a scientist in Never Cry Wolf. His work in Starman, as Mark Shermin, a SETI member sympathetic to the title character's plight, was also lauded.[3] In 1979 Smith was cast alongside Barney Martin as the lead in Norman Lear's last TV series concept, McGurk: A Dog's Life, which never progressed beyond the pilot.

Another role was in "Banshee," an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater that costarred Peter O'Toole and Jennifer Dale. He also appeared in the episode "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar". One of his later starring roles was in "The Beacon," an episode of The Twilight Zone where he starred with Martin Landau and Giovanni Ribisi in an early role.

He was in The Untouchables. After this he co-starred in The Hot Spot and Deep Cover, and in the mid-1990s he appeared in films such as Speechless, I Love Trouble, and Perfect Alibi.

Smith played a role in the HBO film And the Band Played On, then turned in a performance in the TV miniseries Streets of Laredo.

He also appeared in The Beast in 1996 and in a minor role in the big budget Deep Impact in 1998. He played a major character in the made-for-television movie Blackout Effect.

More recently he has appeared in mini-series such as P.T. Barnum, Kingdom Hospital and The Triangle as well as the feature film Lucky You directed by Curtis Hanson. In 2009 he played a featured role, Sheriff Golightly, in the second episode of season two of the TV series Fringe.

Never Cry Wolf (1983)

Smith devoted almost three years to filming Never Cry Wolf, adapted from a memoir by environmentalist Farley Mowat. Smith said, "I was much more closely involved in that picture than I had been in any other film. Not only acting, but writing and the whole creative process." He also found the process difficult. "During much of the two-year shooting schedule in Canada's Yukon and in Nome, Alaska, I was the only actor present. It was the loneliest film I've ever worked on."[4] During the filming, he became so enamored of the Northwest that he decided to relocate to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he has resided since the mid-1980s.

Carroll Ballard, director of Never Cry Wolf, asked Smith to write much of the narration for the film. Smith also performed in a lengthy scene with wolves and caribou in which he was entirely naked. While working on this production, Smith formed a friendship with the author, Farley Mowat, which lasted until Mowat's death in 2014.


Along with his acting career, since the mid-1990s Smith has increasingly focused on his work behind the camera both as a writer and director. His first film as director was the camp horror story Trick or Treat (1986) for Dino De Laurentiis, in which Smith also appeared. In 1992, he directed and acted in Fifty/Fifty, a movie filmed in Malaysia which also starred Robert Hays and Peter Weller. He was one of the directors of the TV series Space: Above and Beyond (1995) as well as the director of the initial episode ("Welcome to the Hellmouth") that launched the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). He next directed the hugely successful feature film Air Bud (Disney, 1997), and two TV miniseries for Hallmark Entertainment, Roughing It, starring James Garner as Mark Twain, (2001) and Icon (2005), starring Patrick Swayze, Michael York and Patrick Bergin. He directed numerous episodes of the Canadian television series DaVinci's Inquest, and wrote and executive produced The Clinic, a film about a veterinary clinic for Animal Planet in 2003.

In 2003 he wrote and directed the acclaimed Canadian feature film The Snow Walker for Lions Gate Films, based on a story by Farley Mowat (of Never Cry Wolf fame) which marked a return to the Arctic for Smith and garnered nine Genie Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director for Smith.

He has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and also in Los Angeles, California since the 1980s and continues to add to production, directing, acting and writing credits in a career that has spanned more than 40 years.[5]

In 2007, Smith wrote and directed the British/Canadian co-production Stone of Destiny for Mob Films, and Infinity Features, starring Charlie Cox, Robert Carlyle and Kate Mara. Stone of Destiny was the closing Gala Presentation for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.[6] His next film was Dolphin Tale for Alcon Entertainment. The hit film, based on a true story, stars Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and was released on September 23, 2011 by Warner Bros. To date, the film has grossed over $70 million at the domestic box office and over $100 million worldwide.

He returned to write and direct the sequel, Dolphin Tale 2. He based his original script on various true-life events that have occurred at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, including the dramatic rescue of a baby dolphin named "Hope" that coincidentally happened during the wrap party of the first film, with many of the film's cast and crew watching. The entire cast returned to take part, and the movie was released by Warner Bros on September 12, 2014.


Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Culpepper Cattle Co. Tim Slater
Fuzz "Baby"
1973 Go Ask Alice Jim TV movie
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Charles Bowdre
American Graffiti Terry "The Toad" Fields
1974 The Spikes Gang Tod
1975 Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins Alan Boone
1976 No Deposit, No Return Longnecker
Law of the Land Dudley TV movie
1977 The Hazing aka The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse Barney
1978 The Buddy Holly Story Ray Bob
Cotton Candy George Smalley TV movie
1979 A Dog's Life Tucker TV movie
More American Graffiti Terry "The Toad" Fields
1980 Herbie Goes Bananas Davy "D.J." Johns
1983 Never Cry Wolf Farley Mowat / Tyler
1984 Starman Mark Shermin
1986 Trick or Treat Mr. Wimbley Also directed
1987 The Untouchables Agent Oscar Wallace
1989 The Experts Cameron Smith
1990 The Hot Spot Lon Gulick
1992 Deep Cover DEA Agent Gerry Carver
Boris and Natasha Hotel Clerk Also directed
Fifty/Fifty Martin Sprue Also directed
1993 And the Band Played On Dr. Harold Jaffe TV movie
1994 I Love Trouble Rick Medwick
Roswell Sheriff Wilcox TV movie
Speechless Kratz
1995 Brothers' Destiny Merriman TV movie[1]
Perfect Alibi Franklin Dupard
1996 The Final Cut Captain Weldon Mamet
The Beast Schuyler Graves TV movie
Wedding Bell Blues Oliver Napier
1997 Dead Silence Roland W. Marks TV movie[2]
Air Bud Director
1998 Blackout Effect Henry Drake TV movie
Deep Impact Dr. Marcus Wolf
Hoods Gun Dealer (uncredited)
1999 P.T. Barnum Beach TV movie[3]
The Apartment Complex Gary Glumley TV movie
2000 Here's to Life! Ned [4]
2002 Roughing It Platt TV movie
Dead Heat Morty
Touching Wild Horses Charles Thurston [5]
2003 The Snow Walker Director & Writer
2004 The Last Casino Barnes TV movie
2005 Icon Doctor Also directed; TV movie
Left Behind: World at War Vice President John Mallory
2007 Still Small Voices Burton Hayes
Lucky You Roy Durucher
2008 Jack and Jill vs. the World Carlin
Stone of Destiny Director & Writer
2011 Dolphin Tale Director
2014 Dolphin Tale 2 George Hatton Also directed & writer
2019 A Dog's Way Home Director
2020 A Gift from Bob Director

Television credits

Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Brady Bunch Ronnie Episode "The Wheeler-Dealer"
1972 Room 222 Episode "You Don't Know Me, He Said"
1973 Love, American Style Julius Episode "Love and the Blue Plate Special/Love and the Man of the Year/Love and the Time Machine"
(segment "Love and the Time Machine")
Chase Little Bits Episode "Sizzling Stones"
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Russell Jamison Episode "Blockade"
The Rookies Bobby Lewis Episode "Death at 6 A.M."
Petrocelli Frankie Episode "A Covenant with Evil"
1975 Lucas Tanner Rod Jernigan Episode "Those Who Cannot, Teach"
1976 Baretta Harold Episode "Shoes"
1977 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Episode "The Tenderfoot"
1980 When the Whistle Blows Jimmy Episode "Love Is a Four-Letter Word"[6]
1985 The Twilight Zone Dr. Dennis Barrows Episode "The Beacon/One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty"
(segment "The Beacon")
1986-1989 The Ray Bradbury Theater Douglas Rogers / Hugh Fortnum Episodes "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!" (Fortnum) and "Banshee" (Rogers)
1993 Partners "Grave Squad" Lawyer TV short[7]
The Untouchables Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey Episode "Attack on New York"
Tales from the Crypt Colin Episode "Half-Way Horrible"
Picket Fences Lyman Pike Episode "Blue Christmas"
1994 L.A. Law Dale Hardy Episode "Dead Issue"
Northern Exposure Roger Brewster (Satan) Episode "The Robe"
1995 Take Out the Beast The biorobot TV short[8]
The Outer Limits Spencer Deighton Episode "Blood Brothers"
The X-Files Dr. Osbourne Episode "F. Emasculata"
Streets of Laredo Ned Brookshire Miniseries
1999 The New Woody Woodpecker Show Marty Episode "Pinheads/The Chilly Show/Silent Treatment"
2000-2001 Family Law Mr. Chilton Episodes "The Gay Divorcee" and "Going Home"
2001 Ally McBeal Mayor Horn Episode "Nine One One"
2004 Kingdom Hospital Earl Swinton Episode "Thy Kingdom Come"
2005 The Triangle Captain Jay Miniseries
2005-2006 Da Vinci's City Hall Joe Friedland / Mike Franklin Also directed 3 episodes
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sheriff Bartley Episode "Infiltrated"
2007 Drive Mr. Bright Miniseries; episodes "No Turning Back", "Let the Games Begin", "Partners", and "The Starting Line"
2009 Leverage Glenn Leary Episode "The Beantown Bailout Job"
Fringe Sheriff Golightly Episode "Night of Desirable Objects"
2010 Psych Roy Kessler Episode "Not Even Close... Encounters"
2015 Motive Rick Wyatt Episode "Frampton Comes Alive"



  1. ^ Charles Martin Smith Biography (1953–)
  2. ^ John Carpenter Archived April 22, 2001, at the Wayback Machine web page.
  3. ^ Charles Martin Smith at IMDb
  4. ^ John Carpenter web page, ibid.
  5. ^ Playback web page.
  6. ^ TIFF'08 Gala Schedule Archived 2008-08-22 at the Wayback Machine web page.