Roger LaVerne Smith (born December 18, 1932) is an American television and film actor and screenwriter. He starred in the television detective series 77 Sunset Strip. He is married to the actress Ann-Margret.
A debonair and handsome leading man in his youth, Smith was born in South Gate, California, the son of Dallas and Leone Smith. When he was six, his parents enrolled him into a stage school; there he took singing, dancing and elocution lessons. He was educated at the University of Arizona at Tucson on a football scholarship. He won several amateur talent prizes as a singer and guitarist.
Smith served with the Naval Reserve in Hawaii. After a chance meeting with the actor James Cagney, he was encouraged to try a career in Hollywood. (Cagney had also encouraged other young actors, including Don Dubbins, for whom he found roles in two 1956 films.)
Smith signed with Columbia Pictures in 1957 and made several films, then moved to Warner Bros. in 1959.His greatest film exposure came with playing the adult nephew Patrick Dennis in Auntie Mame, with Rosalind Russell in the title role. His signature television role came as Jeff Spencer, a private detective in the firm of Bailey & Spencer partnered with Stuart Bailey Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.. Like some other detective shows of the period, this show's title was its address: 77 Sunset Strip.
Smith appeared in 74 episodes of this Warner Bros.-produced series but left the popular ABC program in 1962 because of a blood clot in his brain. His health continued to decline for some time, and he was forced to retire from acting after Myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, was diagnosed in 1965. His condition went into remission in 1985. Following his retirement from performing, he managed his wife Ann-Margret's career and produced her popular Las Vegas stage shows.
Smith appeared very rarely on television once his health deteriorated, but did participate on This is Your Life when host Ralph Edwards devoted an episode to Ann-Margret. In addition to the appearances credited below, Smith also has been on several game shows.
Smith married twice. His first wife was Australian-born actress Victoria Shaw, and together had three children: daughter Tracey (b. 1957), and sons Jordan (b. 1958) and Dallas (b. 1961). He has 5 grandchildren: Leone (b. 1981), Alex (1984—2008), Rosalyn (b. 1988), Zach (b.1990) and Cameron (b. 1995). Smith and Shaw divorced in 1965. He has been married to Ann-Margret since May 8, 1967.