Gregory Ivor Smith (4 November 1939 – 19 February 2009) was a British film producer who also enjoyed successes in the world of theatre and television.
Smith was born in Twickenham and raised in Laindon by his aunt after his parents died. At the age of 15, Smith joined the Argyle Theatre Touring Company where acting assignments included a stint as an ugly sister in a production of Cinderella. After working as an office boy forBernard Delfont, and an talent agent for MVA and the Billy Marsh Agency, Smith formed his own talent agency based out of London's Golden Square.
In the late sixties Smith worked as a production associate on two documentary shorts made by Norcon films, Brendan Behan's Dublin (1966) andThe London Nobody Knows (1967) beginning a long association and friendship with their director Norman Cohen (1936–1983). With Smith producing and Cohen directing, the two men would go on to make the 1973 film adaptation of Spike Milligan’s Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall and most notably the ‘Confessions’ sex comedy series, comprising Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974), Confessions of a Pop Performer(1975), Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976) and finally Confessions from a Holiday Camp (1977). ;The Confessions series put Smith and Cohen in direct competition with the Carry On series of films. “Things have changed since the Carry-Ons” Smith remarked to Films Illustrated in September 1975 “Humour is more sophisticated, people are more aware. Not that I'm running down the Carry-Ons for one moment. They're one of my favourite types of film, and always have been. But maybe they're a little dated now.”
A commercial, but diverse, filmmaker, Smith’s other work from this period included producing the glam rock extravaganza Never Too Young to Rock (1976), the documentary The Importance of Being Dublin (1974) and the 1978 adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps. Plans for a 1978 film adaptation of Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven (meant to have been produced by Smith for Norfolk International Productions) did not come to fruition however, nor did plans to make a fifth Confessions film ‘Confessions from a Haunted House’ in 1978.
With the decline in British film production in the 1980s, Smith began turning more to producing for television, including the well-remembered Shillingbury Tales in 1980, and continued to regularly work in television production until the late 1990s. In 1989 he enjoyed huge success as the co-producer of the hit musical Buddy - the Buddy Holly Story, which ran for twelve years on the West End.
Smith was married four times, first to Cheryl Cocklin, then to actress Lynda Bellingham (1975-76). His third wife Valerie Van Ost, also an actress, worked as casting director on two of his early 1980s film productions (The Boys in Blue (1982) and Funny Money (1983)). Smith married his fourth wife, Gloria Thomas, shortly before his death on February 19, 2009.
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