Mel Smith

Actor, Director, TV writer
Mel Smith was a popular British comic actor, writer and director of TV and character actor of film who began his career as a busy and versatile stage director. Smith gained some notoriety on the trend-setting comedy ... Read more »
Born: 12/02/1952 in London, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (19)

Dancing on the Edge 2013 - 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hustle 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Sittaford Mystery 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Twelfth Night 1996 (Movie)

Sir Toby Belch (Actor)

Art Deco Detective 1994 (Movie)

Peter Wood (Actor)

Brain Donors 1992 (Movie)

Rocco Melonchek (Actor)

Father Christmas 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

Smith and Jones 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Wilt 1990 (Movie)

Inspector Flint (Actor)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase 1989 (Movie)

Mr Grimshaw (Actor)

The Princess Bride 1987 (Movie)

The Albino (Actor)

Restless Natives 1986 (Movie)

Pyle (Actor)

Morons From Outer Space 1985 (Movie)

Bernard (Actor)

National Lampoon's European Vacation 1985 (Movie)

Hotel Manager (Actor)

Number One 1984 (Movie)

Billy Evans (Actor)

Slayground 1984 (Movie)

Terry Abbat (Actor)

Bullshot 1983 (Movie)

(Actor)

Not the Nine O'Clock News 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Babylon 1979 (Movie)

Alan (Actor)
Director (6)

Blackball 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

National Lampoon´s Blackball 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

High Heels and Low Lives 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

Bean 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Radioland Murders 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

The Tall Guy 1990 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (3)

The British Academy Film Awards 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Producer

Blackball 2005 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Tough Target 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Writer (1)

Morons From Outer Space 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

Mel Smith was a popular British comic actor, writer and director of TV and character actor of film who began his career as a busy and versatile stage director. Smith gained some notoriety on the trend-setting comedy "Not the Nine O'Clock News" (BBC, 1979-1982) with Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson. Not unlike the early "Saturday Night Live," the series was an irreverent satirical revue that ran the gamut from purely tasteless to memorably brilliant. Smith teamed with Jones to write and star in the top-rated sketch-comedy program "Alas Smith and Jones" (BBC, 1984-1998). He acted in the stage versions of both series and directed "Not in Front of the Audience," based on "Not the Nine O'Clock News," and remained a key influence on later generations of British comedians. He died in 2013.

Smith played character parts in films before making the transition to feature directing with "The Tall Guy" (1989), a pleasantly quirky comedy starring Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson that featured old colleague Atkinson in a memorable supporting role. Smith has also distinguished himself as a comic advertising director, his spots for Carling Black Label received a Silver Lion at Cannes. American fans of English comedy may have first encountered Smith as the co-star and co-screenwriter (both with Jones) of the uneven but often hilarious British feature "Morons from Outer Space" (1985) about alien tourists (with English accents) who find themselves on Earth. He received wider exposure in the small role of the Albino in Rob Reiner's beloved fantasy classic, "The Princess Bride" (1987).

Smith returned to American screens for the little-seen old-fashioned comedy "Brain Donors" (1992), playing the Chico Marx figure. He remained behind the camera as the helmer of "Radioland Murders" (1994), a meticulously designed period comedy produced by George Lucas that made barely a peep at the box office. In 1996, he returned to the big screen as Sir Toby Belch in Trevor Nunn's staid filming of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." The following year, he directed Atkinson as his signature character in the wacky feature "Bean" (1997), and he later helmed the overlooked crime comedy "High Heels and Low Lifes" (2001), starring Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack. Appearing less frequently on screens during his final decades, Smith was featured on the BBC ensemble period piece "Dancing on the Edge" mere months before his death in July 2013. Fondly remembered by his peers, most notably Griff Rhys Jones, Smith was also the subject of thoughtful statements by younger comedians who were inspired by him, including Peter Serafinowicz and Graham Linehan.

EDUCATION

New College, Oxford University

graduated; member of Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS)

Milestones

2013

Appeared in the BBC series "Dancing on the Edge"

2001

Helmed "High Heels and Lowlifes"

1997

Directed the hit comedy film "Bean"

1989

Film directorial debut, "The Tall Guy" (also played six uncredited parts)

1987

US feature debut, Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride"

1985

Feature screenwriting debut (with Rhys-Jones), "Morons From Outer Space"; also starred and provided theme song

1984

First substantial film role, playing a reformed crook in the British thriller, "Slayground"

1981

"Not the Nine O'Clock News" syndicated on US TV

1980

Feature acting debut, "Babylon", a British drama about black working-class life

1979

First acting success on BBC-TV series, "Not the Nine O'Clock News" (also writer)

Became associate director at the Old Vic

Directed stage show, "Not in Front of the Audience," based on "Not the Nine O'Clock News"

Star and writer of British TV series, "Alas Smith and Jones" (with partner Griff Rhys-Jones); toured Great Britain and Australia with stage show based on series

Toured the US with the Oxford/Cambridge Sshakespeare Company; played Touchstone in "As You Like It"

American TV directing debut, "Dream On"

Began performing while at Oxford

Awarded an Arts Council grant to direct plays at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield

First professional job, as assistant director at the Royal Court Theatre, London

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