Charles Martin Smith is an American film actor, writer, and director. Born in Van Nuys, California, Smith was discovered by a talent agent while acting in a school play, usually a rare occurrence. After a few years of working in film, he landed the role of Terry “Toad” Fields in George Lucas’ 1973 film, American Graffiti (1973). The sequel, More American Graffiti (1979), did not have the success of the original, but he gained notice in The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Never Cry Wolf (1983) and the successful Starman (1984).
Smith’s career continued mainly in supporting roles, but he received good reviews for his work in The Untouchables (1987). While his career was largely unremarkable in the 1990s after appearing in less successful films, such as Speechless (1994) and I Love Trouble (1994), Smith turned in a well-regarded performance in the TV miniseries Larry McMurtry’s Streets of Laredo (1995) and a minor role in the big budget Deep Impact (1998). He was also 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). Since the mid-1990s, Smith has increasingly focused on his work behind the camera. He directed the feature film Air Bud (1997) (Disney), and two TV miniseries for Hallmark Entertainment, Roughing It (2002) and Icon (2005). He also wrote and directed the feature film, The Snow Walker (2003), for Lion’s Gate Films, based on a story by Farley Mowat (Never Cry Wolf (1983)), which marked a return to the Arctic for Smith. He then wrote and directed the feature film Stone of Destiny (2008), for Infinity Features and Odeon Sky, the true story of four young Scottish students who broke into Westminster Abbey in London to take back a sacred Scottish relic. The film stars Charlie Cox, Kate Mara and Robert Carlyle, and was nominated for Best Picture by the Scottish BAFTAS. He now resides in Canada and continues to add to production, directing, acting, and writing credits in a career that has spanned over 35 years.
His next film, Dolphin Tale (2011), for Alcon (The Blind Side (2009)) and Warner Brothers, which he also wrote and directed, stars Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, and Winter, the dolphin, who plays herself in the film. The movie is scheduled to be released Sept. 23, 2011 by WB.
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