Dean Smith
Smith in 2013
Personal information
Full nameFinis Dean Smith
Born(1932-01-15)January 15, 1932
Breckenridge, Texas, U.S.
DiedJune 24, 2023(2023-06-24) (aged 91)
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1952 Helsinki 4x100 m relay

Finis Dean Smith (January 15, 1932 – June 24, 2023) was an American track and field athlete, winner of a gold medal in the 4 × 100 m relay at the 1952 Summer Olympics; he was also an actor and noted stuntman, appearing in many films and TV series.[1][2][3]

Early life, education, and sports career

Born in Breckenridge, Texas, Smith won the Amateur Athletic Union championships in 100 m in 1952. At the Helsinki Olympics, he was fourth in the 100 m and ran the leadoff leg for the American gold medal-winning 4 × 100 m relay team.[1] As a sprinter on the Longhorn track team, Smith ran a 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds, one-tenth of a second off the world record at the time.[3]

After graduating from University of Texas at Austin where he ran track and was a member of the Silver Spurs, Smith played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of his career in Hollywood.[4]

Later sports career

Later on, Smith competed in amateur rodeo. His events were bareback bronc riding and calf roping. He won championships in both events.[5] The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Associations made him an honorary member.[4] He also participated in the team roping event in Reba McEntire's Pro Celebrity Rodeo in May 1997.[6]

Post-sports/Hollywood career

Following his sports career, Smith performed as a professional rodeo cowboy and stuntman in various Western movies such as The Alamo, The Comancheros, How The West Was Won, McLintock!, Rio Conchos, Big Jake, El Dorado, and Rio Lobo.[7][4] He also appeared in such Western TV shows as Tales of Wells Fargo, Maverick, Gunsmoke, Lawman, Have Gun Will Travel, The Iron Horse and Walker, Texas Ranger.[4]

Some of what Variety called his "most impressive" stunts included falling out of a two-story building into a hay wagon in McLintock! (1963) starring Maureen O'Hara.[4] Smith was noticed by famed director John Ford when working on the 1958 Rosalind Russell project, Auntie Mame, and as a result went on to be featured in many of Ford's subsequent films.[4]


In 2006 he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.[8] In 2009 he was inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame.[9] He is also a member of the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Smith is a member of the Hollywood Stuntman's Hall of Fame.[10] In 1997 he was named "All American Cowboy", and in 1998 he received a Golden Boot Award.[11] In 2007 he received the Silver Spur award for his contributions as a stuntman in the film business.[12]

Personal life

Smith died on June 24, 2023, at age 91.[7][13][14]

Competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
1952 Olympics Helsinki, Finland 4th 100 m 10.84/10.4


  1. ^ a b "Dean Smith Bio, Stats, and Results | Olympics at". April 18, 2020. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (June 25, 2023). "Dean Smith, Olympic Champion Sprinter and Stuntman for John Wayne, Dies at 91". Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Jaklewicz, Greg (July 6, 2017). "Stuntman, 'West Texas boy' Smith at Paramount for movie". Abilene Reporter-News. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Franklin, McKinley (June 25, 2023). "Dean Smith, Olympic Athlete and Western Stuntman, Dies at 91". Variety. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  5. ^ Kerns, William (July 27, 2012). "Dean Smith, Marisa Wayne guests at 2012 John Wayne Film Festival". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  6. ^ "Reba McEntire Pro Celebrity Rodeo". May 11, 1997. Retrieved April 30, 2017.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (June 25, 2023). "Dean Smith, Olympic Sprinter Turned Hollywood Stunt Performer, Dies at 91". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  8. ^ Software, Bengal. "Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame: Past Inductees". Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame – Dallas/Ft. Worth". Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Hollywood Stuntman's Hall Of Fame- Members". Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Golden Boot Awards". Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  12. ^ Sonnabend, N. Ellen (September 16, 2012), Dean Smith's Acceptance Speech Silver Spur Awards 2007, archived from the original on December 22, 2021, retrieved April 30, 2017
  13. ^ Franklin, Darrell (June 24, 2023). "Legendary hall-of-fame Texoman passes". Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  14. ^ Franklin, McKinley (June 25, 2023). "Dean Smith, Olympic Athlete and Western Stuntman, Dies at 91".