Actor John Smith was born Robert Errol Van Orden in Los Angeles. He began his career singing with The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir, a group which appeared in two Bing Crosby films, Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945).
His agent Henry Willson, who also gave Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson their names, changed Van Orden’s name to “John Smith”. Robert Hofler, author of “The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson”, reports that an actress identified as Pocahontas Crowfoot was in the courtroom when the name change was granted.
In We’re No Angels (1955), Smith had a small role as “Arnaud”, the ship’s doctor. Aldo Ray, observing the doctor in full dress whites, says “he looks like a glass of milk”. John Smith’s other film credits include Circus World (1964) and Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1972). Smith also appeared in the television westerns Cimarron City (1958) and Laramie (1959).
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