Dick Smothers

Comedian, Actor, Musician
The younger, "smarter," and according to brother and longtime performing partner Tom, the "one that Mom always liked best," Dick Smothers was one half of the popular music-comedy duo, The Smothers Brothers. Launched as ... Read more »
Born: 11/19/1939 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (55)

The Informant! 2009 (Movie)

Judge Harold Baker (Actor)

The Simpsons 2009 (Tv Show)

Voice

The Aristocrats 2005 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Life With Bonnie 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Steve Martin: A Comic Life 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

A Really Big Show: Ed Sullivan's 50th 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Abbott and Costello Meet Biography 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Casino 1995 (Movie)

Senator (Actor)

The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Alan King: Inside the Comedy Mind 1990 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

More of the Best of the Hollywood Palace 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 7th Annual American Comedy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

This Was America... 1968 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Spy Magazine Presents How to Be Famous 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Speed Zone 1989 (Movie)

Nelson (Actor)

The 15th Annual People's Choice Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1987 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Special 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Thanksgiving Special 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

What's Alan Watching? 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Evening at Pops (07/09/88) 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 14th Annual People's Choice Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Benson 1979 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Secret World of the Very Young 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

And If I'm Elected... 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

Fitz & Bones 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Show 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

The Very First Glen Campbell Special 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

A Salute to Television's 25th Anniversary 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Return of the Smothers Brothers 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Show 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1966 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

Marineland Carnival 1963 - 1964 (TV Show)

Actor

The Steve Allen Show 1955 - 1962 (Tv Show)

Actor

Terror at Alcatraz (TV Show)

Actor

Timmy's Special Delivery (TV Show)

Voice

Biography

The younger, "smarter," and according to brother and longtime performing partner Tom, the "one that Mom always liked best," Dick Smothers was one half of the popular music-comedy duo, The Smothers Brothers. Launched as a folk act in 1959, Dick and Tom soon won over audiences by adding comic bits between the songs, usually focused around their alleged sibling rivalry. Their popularity on stage led to appearances on television and their own network series, "The Smothers Brothers Show" (CBS, 1965-66). But it was their next TV attempt that elevated the brothers from mainstream comedians to political satirists and counterculture heroes. "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" (CBS, 1967-1969) was earmarked by fierce jabs at all manner of social and political ills, which raised the hackles of their parent company. The brothers' choice of musical guests, which were culled from the cream of the rock and folk movements of the period, put them in deeper hot water with the powers that be. "The Comedy Hour" was eventually cancelled by the network, and the duo would spend much of the next 20 years attempting to recapture that series' lightning-in-a-bottle energy in subsequent efforts. In between guest appearances and live dates with his brother, Dick Smothers also enjoyed a career as a solo actor, which included a fine supporting turn in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" (1995) as a crooked Nevada senator, as well as an amateur drag racer. His lasting legacy, however, was as both a popular entertainer and one of the most active supporters of free speech and political discourse in television history.<p>Born Richard Remick Smothers on Governors Island, NY on Nov. 20, 1939, he and brother Tom were the sons of Major Thomas Smothers, a U.S. Army officer who died while interred in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. The Smothers relocated to Redondo Beach, CA, where Dick and Tom received an education at San Jose State University. Their partnership as a folk music duo got its start while at college, and after a brief stint as part of the Casual Quintet, the brothers launched their own act at the Purple Onion in San Francisco in 1959. The act, which featured Tom on guitar and Dick on standup bass, was built around traditional folk songs, but with one added bonus: frequent breaks and even interruptions of songs in which Dick and Tom would argue over various matters. Said debates would usually conclude with Dick silencing his brother in one manner or another, only to have Tom angrily add the "mom always liked you best" punch line or a variation on that theme. Their bright banter and clear harmonies made them a favorite on the nightclub circuit, eventually leading to 12 top-selling albums beginning in 1961.<p>Their popularity eventually brought the Smothers Brothers to television, where they made their debut in 1961 on "The Jack Paar Show" (NBC, 1957-1962). More guest shots soon followed, as well as a regular stint on "The Steve Allen Show" (NBC/ABC, 1957-1961). Eventually, the brothers got their own series, a wan sitcom called "The Smothers Brothers Show" with Dick as a businessman who spent most of his time bailing out his brother (Tom), an apprentice angle who struggled to complete his heavenly tasks. Singing - one of the key elements of the brothers' appeal - was curiously kept out of the show until midway through the season, but it arrived too late to save it from cancellation.<p>A year after "The Smothers Brothers Show" left the air, Dick and Tom were tapped by CBS for what was designed as a traditional variety show built around their comedy. But "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" surpassed that lightweight description almost immediately after its launch. Under the direction of head writer Tom Smothers, the show targeted the social and political issues of the day with unerring satire; among the regular sacred cows on the chopping block were matters of race, the war in Vietnam, the counterculture movement, and the upcoming presidential election. Religion, too, was skewered, which resulted in an on-air apology from Dick and Tom. But rather than damper down their comedy, the Smothers Brothers continued to wage war against the establishment, both with their humor and their choice of musical guests. Both Dick and Tom were highly instrumental in bringing such acts as the Doors, Janis Joplin, the Temptations and the Who to network television audiences in an era when such acts were considered in the poorest of taste for primetime. Even more daring was inviting politically charged performers like folk legend Pete Seeger, who had been blacklisted from television since the 1950s, and Harry Belafonte, whose entire musical contribution to an episode was wiped from its broadcast by the network censors.<p>Eventually, CBS grew tired of the controversy and began demanding that all episodes be submitted to them 10 days before airdate. This only escalated the squabbles between the network and the brothers, so by mid-1969, CBS pulled the plug on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." Reasons cited for the cancellation included failure to adhere to the submission deadlines, but most of the show's younger viewers knew that its political stance was the key to its demise. Dick and Tom were soon snapped up by ABC for "The Smothers Summer Show" (1970), but it failed to bring along its audience. The pair soon returned to active duty as a touring act, while Dick and Tom explored acting opportunities on their own.<p>While Tom enjoyed a brief movie career and even his own short-lived comedy series - "Tom Smothers' Organic Prime Time Space Ride" (syndicated, 1971) - Dick stayed close to television and enjoyed regular rotation on various variety shows, comedy showcases and game shows. He also developed a passion for amateur racing and competed in numerous road racing and drag racing events. But he never strayed too far from his brother, and the duo made several returns to television in an attempt to recapture their success with the "Comedy Hour." "The Smothers Brothers Show" (NBC, 1975) was the first of these revivals, and while it enjoyed initial success due to public curiosity, the lack of biting satire that earmarked their previous effort was missing here, causing audiences to tune out.<p>A pair of network specials in 1980 and 1981 - "The Tom and Dick Smothers Brothers Special 1" and "2" - generated some interest, as did a hosting stint on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) which saw Dick and Tom breaking Writers Guild picket lines to appear on the show. But their subsequent return to series work again failed to strike pay dirt. "Fitz and Bones" (NBC, 1981) was patterned after the brothers' comedy act - Dick as intrepid reporter; Tom as sweetly addled cameraman - but failed to find a viewership. In 1988, they got another shot at a series after "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The 20th Reunion" generated high ratings for CBS. A variety series patterned after their '60s show was quickly ordered up, and while it bore a strong resemblance to the original, it again fought an uphill battle to find an audience. It was yanked after just one season.<p>In 1995, Dick enjoyed critical acclaim for his portrayal of a Las Vegas senator on the take in Martin Scorsese's drama "Casino." There were occasional solo turns after it, including an appearance in Evi Quaid's infamous "The Debtors" (1999), but for the most part, he remained loyal to the Smothers Brothers, which continued to draw audiences at nightclubs and casinos around the country. Their efforts to bring politics to mainstream television audiences were the stuff of history until 2002, when a documentary titled "Smothered," which recounted the story of their struggles with network censorship, was aired on the Bravo network. The rest of the entertainment community soon fell into line to praise Dick and Tom for their efforts, which included a tribute by the Museum of Radio and Television and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, both Dick and Tom were awarded honorary doctorates from their alma mater at San Jose State University.<p>Dick Smothers remained a regular commentator on television history and comedy for much of the new millennium while continuing to perform with his brother. He also reaped the rewards of a vineyard in Sonoma, California that he shared with Tom. And in 2008, he beamed proudly from the audience at the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, where his brother received his belated Emmy for writing "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." Tom had left his name off the ballot in 1968, fearing that the association might jinx his fellow writers' chances to win the award. In a curious turn of events, Smothers' son Dick Jr. emerged as a performer and director in adult films. Unlike most involved in the industry, Smothers Jr. retained his real name, much to the surprise of his father. Smothers Sr. later commented that while he was dismayed by his son's career choice, he was supportive of his efforts to produce quality work.

Relationships

Denby Franklin

Wife
Married in 1997

Lorraine Martin Makeup

Wife
Married in 1986

Linda Miller

Wife

Tom Smothers Actor

Brother
One half of the musical comedy team "The Smothers Brothers" appeared together on the shows, "The Smothers Brothers Show" (CBS) from 1965-1966 and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" (CBS) from 1967-1969

Thomas Smothers

Father
A West Point graduate and Army officer who died during WWII, while being transported from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Fukuoka, Japan, to a POW camp in Mukden, Manchuria in 1945

Ruth Smothers

Mother
Died of emphysema in 1988

Sarah Smothers

Daughter
Born in June 1987 mother, Lorraine Martin

Susan Smothers

Daughter
Mother, Linda Smothers

Dick Smothers

Son
Born April 26, 1964 mother, Linda Smothers

Remick Smothers

Son
Born October 16, 1989 mother, Lorraine Martin

Sherry Smothers

Sister

EDUCATION

Redondo Union High School

Redondo Beach , California

San José State University

San Jose , California

Milestones

2005

Appeared in "The Aristocrats" documentary, produced by comedians Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza

2002

Was the subject of the Bravo documentary "Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

1995

Appeared in a rare dramatic role as a crooked Nevada senator in Martin Scorcese's "Casino"

1990

Lent (uncredited) singing voice to "Tom and Tom, the Brothers Brothers" a sketch on the FOX comedy show "In Living Color"

1988

Took part in the CBS special "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 20th Reunion Show" (aired 21 years after the debut of the series)

1988

Returned to CBS for a brief but successful run in "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

1986

Began appearing in a series of commercials for Magnavox

1981

Returned to NBC with the short-lived "Fitz and Bones" an hour-long comedy/drama show about a mis-matched TV news team

1980

Re-teamed for the "The Tom and Dick Smothers Brothers Specials" I and II (NBC)

1977

Appeared on Broadway and toured in the play "I Love My Wife"

1975

Debuted on NBC with the low-rated "The Smothers Brothers Show"

1969

Appeared on the short-lived ABC variety show "Smothers Brothers Summer Show"

1967

Again collaborated with his brother for the controversial CBS variety show "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"; when the show was abruptly canceled due to issues of censorship, the Brothers filed a successful breach of contract suit against the network

1965

Co-starred with brother, Dick, in the CBS comedy "The Smothers Brothers Show"

1961

Released their successful debut album, Live at the Purple Onion

1961

Appeared regularly on "The New Steve Allen Show" (ABC)

1959

Made their debut as a duo of folk singers, with Tom on acoustic guitar and Dick on stand-up bass

Bonus Trivia

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The Smothers Brothers operate the Remick Ridge Vineyards (Remick was their mother's maiden name) in Sonoma County, California and continue to tour.

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