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Bruce Edwards (actor)

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Bruce Edwards
David Bruce and Bruce Edwards in "Prejudice" (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Edwards in Prejudice (1949)
Edward Lester Smith

(1911-10-08)October 8, 1911
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 2002(2002-09-20) (aged 90)
Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, photographer
Virginia Brand Andrews
(m. 1936; died 1984)
Edith Joyce Birdwell
(m. 1987)

Edward Lester Smith (October 8, 1911 – September 20, 2002), stage name Bruce Edwards, was an American actor and photographer. He primarily played supporting roles in Hollywood films and film serials of the 1940s and early 1950s. After retiring in 1953, he pursued a photography career. A yachting enthusiast, he was also the owner-director of a summer camp for boys.

Early life and education

Edward Lester Smith was born on October 8, 1911, in Los Angeles, California.[1] His parents were Clarence F. Smith and Susan Lotta.[1] His father, a captain in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, was killed in action in 1918.[2] He was raised by his mother.[3] He graduated from Los Angeles High School and Menlo College.[4]



Edwards (right) with Jane Withers and Douglas Wood in Small Town Deb (1941)
Edwards (right) with Jane Withers and Douglas Wood in Small Town Deb (1941)

Using the stage name Bruce Edwards, he made his film debut in an uncredited role in Flight Command (1940). After several more uncredited appearances, he landed the male lead opposite Jane Withers in Small Town Deb (1942).[3] After that he was mainly tapped for supporting roles, with the notable exception of starring as Stephen Colt in Republic Pictures' film serial The Black Widow (1947).[3] Mayer compared the quality of Edwards' repartee with co-star Virginia Lindley to the verbal sparring between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940).[3] Edwards appeared in two other film serials, including as the villainous Professor Paul Williams in the first six chapters of Federal Agents vs. Underworld, Inc (1948).[3] At the end of his career he acted in low-budget westerns.[3] He retired from Hollywood in 1953,[5] but continued to make occasional guest appearances in film and television.


Based in Newport Beach, California, Smith worked as a photographer.[5] He photographed covers and articles for the Los Angeles Times's Home magazine.[4] He and his wife also wrote for the Sea Larking column in the Daily Pilot and Bay Window for the Balboa Bay Club, a private yacht club.[4]

Personal life

In March 1936,[6] Smith married Virginia Brand Andrews, who had a daughter from a previous marriage.[7] The couple's only child, Edward Lester Smith Jr., died one day after birth in July 1942 due to a cerebral hemorrhage.[8][9] Virginia was often mentioned in the local press for her social and fundraising activities.[10][11][12] Virginia died in 1984.[7] In March 1987, Smith remarried to Edith Joyce Birdwell,[13] who survived him.[4]

A long-time resident of Lido Isle, Newport Beach, and La Quinta, California, Smith was a yachting enthusiast. He spent summers with his family aboard his 26 ft (7.9 m) sloop Typee in Cherry Cove, Catalina Island.[4][11] He sold Typee in 1959,[14] and in 1970 purchased a sloop named Sea Spree.[15][16]

In 1959 he and his first wife opened the Catalina Marineros Camp in Fourth of July Cove, Catalina Island.[17] A 1960 ad for the camp for boys ages 7 to 16 described the activities as "outboarding, sailing and marinero's skills plus riding, swimming, hiking, tennis, baseball and other sports".[18] Smith and his first wife were avid tennis players as well.[19]

Smith died on September 20, 2002, aged 90, in Thousand Oaks.[4] No funeral services were conducted; he was cremated and his ashes strewn at sea near Cherry Cove.[4][20]


Year Title Role Notes
1941 Marry the Boss's Daughter Jefferson Cole
Small Town Deb Jack Richards
Sun Valley Serenade Ski instructor
1942 The Great Gildersleeve Governor's secretary
Moontide Man
1943 Petticoat Larceny Man answering telephone
Flight for Freedom Flyer
Hitler – Dead or Alive Johnny Stevens
The Iron Major Lieutenant Jones
The Fallen Sparrow Ab Parker
Seven Miles from Alcatraz Nick
Bombardier Lieutenant Ellis
Gangway for Tomorrow Rogan
The Falcon in Danger Mechanic
1944 Government Girl FBI agent
Bride by Mistake Chaplain
My Pal Wolf Paul Anstey
1945 A Game of Death Collins
Betrayal from the East Purdy
West of the Pecos Clyde Corbin
Dick Tracy Sergeant
First Yank into Tokyo Captain Harris
Sing Your Way Home Chaplain
1946 Dangerous Money Harold Mayfair
Below the Deadline Sam Austin
Bedlam Warden
So Goes My Love Weldon
The Bamboo Blonde Lieutenant
Ding Dong Williams Director
1947 Queen of the Amazons Greg Jones
The Black Widow Stephen Colt Film serial
1948 The Denver Kid Lt. Fletcher "Fletch" Roberts
Federal Agents vs. Underworld, Inc Professor Paul Williams Film serial – Chapters 1-6
1949 Powder River Rustlers Bob Manning
Prejudice Al Green
Bruce Gentry – Daredevil of the Skies Film serial
1950 Sands of Iwo Jima Marine
The Great Plane Robbery
1951 Fort Dodge Stampede"" Jeff Bryan
Lawless Cowboys Bob Rank
Oklahoma Justice Jimmy Redding
Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere Agent 34 Film serial – Chapter 4 (uncredited)
1952 Confidence Girl 1st detective
Montana Incident Benson
1953 So This Is Love Minister
The Story of Three Loves Chorus boy
1964 The Cool World Warrior
1986 Youngblood Thunder Bay trainer


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok Bart York Season 2, episode 10: "Ex-Convict Story"[22]
1952 Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok Whitey Peters Season 3, episode 15: "The Boy and the Bandit"[23]
Death Valley Days Death Valley Kid Season 1, Episode 3: "The Death Valley Kid" [24]
1953 The Lone Ranger Episode: "The Devil's Bog"[25]
1971 Ironside Jury Foreman Episode: "The Riddle in Room Six"[26]


  1. ^ a b "California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994". FamilySearch. 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "That Liberty Shall Not Perish From the Earth". San Bernardino County Sun. November 16, 1918. p. 2 – via access
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mayer 2017, p. 112.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Edward Lester Smith". Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Mayer 2017, pp. 112–3.
  6. ^ "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952". FamilySearch. 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Obituaries". The Desert Sun. May 23, 1984. p. 7 – via access
  8. ^ "California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994". FamilySearch. 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "Vital Records". Los Angeles Times. July 13, 1942. p. 11 – via access
  10. ^ Fox, Christy (April 28, 1939). "Guides Wait for Circus and Dance". Los Angeles Times. p. 33 – via access
  11. ^ a b Copp, James (December 11, 1955). "Skylarking". Los Angeles Times. p. 120 – via access
  12. ^ "Smiths Survive Rigors of Summer Camp". Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1959. p. 166 – via access
  13. ^ "Marriages: Licenses Issued". The Desert Sun. March 2, 1987. p. 16 – via access
  14. ^ Ruskauff, Bob (February 13, 1959). "Couple to Tie Nautical Knot". Los Angeles Times. p. 75 – via access
  15. ^ Anderson, Pat (April 6, 1970). "Scene Around". The Desert Sun. p. 6 – via access
  16. ^ "VIPs at Balboa Bay Club". The Desert Sun. June 29, 1970. p. 6 – via access
  17. ^ Ruskauff, Bob (June 5, 1959). "2 Marine Race 'Biggies' Set". Los Angeles Times. p. 89 – via access
  18. ^ "Catalina Marineros Camp ad". Los Angeles Times. May 13, 1960. p. 92 – via access
  19. ^ Turner, Lisa Larson, ed. (April 22, 1974). "Lovers of Tennis Laud Living Legend Alice Marble". The Desert Sun. p. 10 – via access
  20. ^ "Edward Lester Smith". Daily Pilot. October 3, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Bruce Edwards". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok: Ex-Convict Story". The Video Detective. 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  23. ^ "Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok: The Boy and the Bandit". The Video Detective. 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  24. ^ Library of Congress 1953, p. 11.
  25. ^ Gianakos 1992, p. 567.
  26. ^ "Ironside: Riddle in Room 6 (1971)". AllMovie. 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.


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Bruce Edwards (actor)
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