After nurturing a career in the classical theater in New York, William Smithers won his first television role on "Goodyear Playhouse" before moving to Hollywood to tap into more television work in 1965. Soon after, he landed his first recurring role as David Schuster, the aggressive businessman who takes over as manager of Peyton Mills, on the original primetime soap "Peyton Place." Distinguished by his prematurely graying hair and resonant voice, Smithers went on to play character parts in many of the most popular television series of the day, including action-oriented entries like "Mission: Impossible,""The F.B.I.," and "The Mod Squad," as well as the drama about corporate machinations, "Executive Suite," which would serve as a great precursor to his recurring role as Jeremy Wendell, one of J.R.'s chief nemeses, on the iconic primetime soap "Dallas." Smithers also found time for film, playing the cold-hearted Warden Barrot, in the Oscar-winning prison escape drama, "Papillon," starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Although a small role, his portrayal of the warden was said to be so memorable that it compelled the makers of the 1993 Sylvester Stallone vehicle "Demolition Man" to pay homage: they named their movie's warden William Smithers.