Walter Lane Smith III was born on 29 April, 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA and died on 13 June, 2005 of Lou Gehrig’s Disease at his home in Northridge, California at the age of 69. Lane Smith was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in April 2005.
Lane was an American actor best known for his role as Perry White in the American television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and as Richard Nixon in The Final Days, for which he received a Golden Globe award nomination.
Lane graduated from The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Glen Arbor, Michigan where he is enshrined in the school’s Hall of Fame, and spent 1 year boarding at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania before going off to study at the Actors Studio in the late 1950s and early 1960s along with Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.
After his graduation, he found steady work in New York theater before making his film debut in Maidstone in 1970. During the 1970s, he regularly made appearances in small film roles including Rooster Cogburn in 1975 and Network in 1976. Lane also acted on television, notably playing a U.S. Marine in Vietnam in the made for television miniseries A Rumor of War.
Lane made a major breakthrough in 1984 with significant roles in Red Dawn, Places in the Heart and the television series V. In 1989, Lane Smith gained great recognition for his portrayal of former President Richard Nixon in the docudrama The Final Days. Newsweek praised Lane Smith’s role by stating, “is such a good Nixon that his despair and sorrow at his predicament become simply overwhelming.” Lane Smith later earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. Lane Smith also appeared in the original Broadway stage production of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross as James Lingk. For his role, he received a Drama Desk Award.
In 1990, he appeared in Air America playing a U.S. Senator. 2 years later, he played a small-town district attorney opposite Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, followed by a role as Coach Jack Reilly in The Mighty Ducks. However, it was not until 1993 that Lane Smith landed his 1st major television role as Perry White in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show last for 4 seasons before ending in 1997. Lane Smith’s final film appearance was in The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000.
Lane Smith was married twice. Lane’s 1st marriage was to writer Sydne MacCall. The couple had 1 son together: Robby Smith born on 24 January, 1987. In 2000, he remarried to Ruth Benedict who had 1 son from a previous marriage.
Lane Smith was previously in a relationship with actress Mariette Hartley before the 2 split.
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