Kurt plays a judge on "Day 7" of "24".
Kurt and his wife are longtime activists for single-payer universal health care.
Kurt's first movie appearance was in Roadie, which debuted in theaters on June 30th, 1980.
Before his sitcom success, he was a longtime character actor usually playing cops, crooks, and other tough guys.
Kurt also worked on RoboCop (along with his wife) and numerous numerous Star Trek episodes.
Kurt's stepfather passed away when That 70's Show first went into production.
There is nobody else in the U.S.A. named Kurtwood. However, 3,017,684 people's last name is Smith.
Kurt's real father passed away in World War II when he was an infant.
Kurt says people often approach him and ask him to call them a dumb-ass.
Kurt was senior class president in high school.
Smith attended Canoga Park High School.
Kurtwood is his birth name. His mother was of fan of a country singer named Kurt. But she thought Kurt Smith wasn't a long enough name, so she named him Kurtwood.
Kurt voices radio ads for the Chicago White Sox.
Kurtwood was offered the part of Red Foreman in That 70's Show after actor Chuck Norris, who was first thought to be playing the character, became unavailable.
His son, who goes by the stage name Dr. Sauce (his real name is Shannon Smith), hosted a radio show at Stanford University in the mid-to-late 1990s and played guitar in a band called The Vulcaneers.
Kurt earned his Drama Fellowship from Stanford University's Master of Fine arts program. He also attended College of San Mateo, San Jose State, and Santa Clara University.
Since 1988, Kurt has been married to actress Joan Pirkle.
Kurt used to have brown hair.
Kurt married Cecilia Souza in 1964. They had two kids before they got divorced in 1974.
Ironically, one of Kurt's daughters names is 'Laurie' (birth name Laurel).
Kurt has two different colored eyes. Green and grey
Kurt's astrological sign is Cancer
Kurtwood worked briefly as a drama teacher at Cañada College, Redwood City, CA.
In 1981, he received three DRAMA-LOGUE awards for his performances in "Billy Budd", "The Idiot's Delight" and "Green Grow the Lilacs".
Kurtwood: Sure, not finding the right words at times. Basically I had no problems with Paul. His problems were with crew people. Things not being ready. And so he wouldn't always deal with it in the right way and would scream and yell. But it was always about the stuff, it wasn't about him. It wasn't about him being powerful. Ya know? He was working on a very limited budget and had less time than he needed.
Kurtwood: (Through a smile) Yeah he knows what he wants. He didn't always express it in the right way.
Kurtwood: He's demanding…but he's only demanding what he should be getting.
Kurtwood: Soldier of Orange and Spetters both have Rutger Hauer, but The Fourth Man is Jeroen Krabbe .
Kurtwood: The violence was there yeah. They are very different. The Fourth Man was very dark. Creepy. Dark Quite good.
Kurtwood: Not all of them but some of them. That character really grew in the filming process. I was really happy to do that part. They didn't pay me…. It was like TV money. But I didn't care cause it was a fun part and then I found out who Verhoeven was after I accepted the part and was going to have lunch with him. I asked Belle to find out what he had done and rented three of his movies and went WHOA! This is gonna be an interesting movie. I could tell while we were doing it and by watching the dailies that it was going to be a good action film, was pretty sure it would be a successful film, but I didn't really know how interesting a movie it was because I didn't see the other parts being shot. I didn't realize the sense of humor of the film until it was all put together. And also a lot of the stuff Peter did made it deeper film then the comic book that it read as.
Kurtwood: Yeah. And then when Belle (his agent) called and said we got an offer from Robocop, I assumed it was for Dick Jones, cause that was more the kind of part I played and she said no its for Clarence. (his eyes get big) Just because he wasn't exactly the way he ended up being. We made him funnier than he was initially in the script. A lot of the one liners I made up as we went along.
Kurtwood: No, he had only done foreign films The script read like a "B" movie. It wasn't until I got the job, and I was just happy to have a job, I read for Clarence and Dick Jones, the part that Ronnie Cox played.
Kurtwood: Oh... find something else to do. No. Patience and persistence. That's all.
And with that, Kurtwood had a previous engagement, as did we. A quick anecdote to add is that later the next day, at the Cinequest Awards ceremony, we all stayed to watch the final film showing, which was "Water." Just before the film started, Kurtwood had to go outside for a moment. As he walked past, I inquired if he was leaving and not watching the film. He responded jokingly, "Nah! I hate movies." and walked past. Of course he returned shortly thereafter. When meeting Kurtwood, it is advisable to pay attention to his words and manner, as you may never know when that side comment is coming your way. Deadpan is the key.
Kurt: Well, I don't know. It could very well be that Hollywood just doesn't give a damn. Their bottom line is money. You can look at some of those films that are highly touted movies that still aren't doing huge business at the box office. So Hollywood is likely to say, "See? We're Gulf Western. This is what we do. We make money. We don't make art. If you want to make art, go over there."
Kurt: No, you know what it is, in terms of the movies that I'm mentioning... Those were all relatively big movies. But they were big movies... For instance, if you look at movies that were just nominated for the Oscars™, they were all good movies. What was great about them? They were all movies that were about something, that had something to say. They were all independent movies that studios somehow ended up slapping their name on them in the end. But they were all independent films. In the 70s, big studios, big production companies were doing big movies that were about something. Now the big movies are about nothing. They're about sheer entertainment. They don't have anything to say. There are movies, and you'll see that the Academy chose those movies to honor, but as far as the big movies that are out there, that's what's missing.
Kurt: No, not "Citizen Kane." No, no, no. You know what movie I remember that influenced me the most, that impressed me the most, I should say... It's a movie called "Red River" with John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, and Walter Brennan. Great old film. That was the first, sort of, adult movie that registered with me and I thought, "That's great." But then, all those terrific... As an artist, I would look at all those great movies from the 1970s. The Coppola movies, Scorsese films, those Jack Nicholson movies. "Last Detail" and all those great films. The Woodward / Bernstein movie, "All The President's Men." They all had great performances. They were good films that were about something.
Kurtwood: Oh, so many movies from the 1970s.
Kurtwood: No. I'm watching the gardeners though. We have a lot of stuff to do around there. I've been really doing that. And reading some scripts.
Kurtwood: No, mainly I'm poking around the house and refinishing the house and stuff like that.
Kurtwood: Yeah, I know what you're asking. I don't have an answer for that. It has more to do with looking for something that's good and works for me. I'll know it when I see it. I wouldn't want to start off by saying, "I want to do a thriller and... I want to play a police detective... and I want him to be a little bit younger than I am... but I want him to be a vegetarian too, because I think that vegetarians are overlooked, especially in police procedural dramas." So I don't have something like that. But, if I saw that, I might say, "Hey, I like this part. This is great. Especially the vegetarian aspect." I'm being silly, but I don't really have one of those things.
Kurtwood: Exactly. I wouldn't call theater more pure than film or television acting-wise. To them I think it is because that's where they started, so they see it that way. Performance-wise, I don't think that a performance in any of those instances is any more pure than the other. When you're dealing with film, there's much more of a feeling of getting your performance to a more perfect moment than you can in theater.
Kurtwood: You see what I mean? I understand what you're saying...
Kurtwood: I've done... for the last 25 years, I've mostly done film and TV. I really miss the rehearsal process of theater. There's something to be said for film and television as well. And they are different. Situation comedies, four-camera set-ups are quite different from doing... you know, there's a little bit of a blend because in those kinds of sit-coms you have an audience. To say which I prefer, either one. It depends. It depends on the question. For one thing, it depends on what you're doing. It's nice to make money. You don't make much money in theater. And it's nice to work with audiences, so it's great to work in theater. But it's also, one of those things... You get more time to build your performances in theater. But on film, you have that possibility that once you do a performance, you have it and it's done and you don't have to go out there and repeat it. So they all have they're...
Kurtwood: A director? I think an actor always wants... I think of Peter Weir as an example of the kind of director that I like. You always want to have the feeling that the director knows what he wants, and is look at what you're doing, and incorporating what you're doing adding to what he does. Peter Weir is brilliant at that. You have extreme confidence in him. Consequently, actors need to... actors are always self-conscious and nervous. So you want to have a feeling of confidence. You want to be able to place your confidence in the director. You want to have the feeling that he knows what he wants to do. But at the same time, you want to contribute, so if you feel that he's looking at you, that he's paying attention to what you're doing beyond just saying, "OK, he said his lines right. Good. Go on." Then you will have the tendency to give more. You can relax, and feel comfortable in the environment that you're working in, and you'll do more. If you're not, then you'll have a problem. He's not going to get what he wants, and it's going to get worse.
And with that, the ensemble was reminded of their upcoming film screening and were sent off on their way.
Kurtwood: Well, we did. We did this film in 13 days, mind you. And 13 days is not very long for a feature film. Nobody in their right mind would argue that. Nobody in their right mind would do that. Yeah, David's originally a playwright. This was originally a play. It's called a dialogue. There was no way to work the kind of schedule that we were going to work without being on top of what we're doing from the beginning. I'm also somebody who came from the theater - in this area, actually, I did a lot of theater around here. So I believe in doing what the writer wrote, as opposed to rewriting the dialogue to suit myself. So it was important to me to go into production on top of my lines. In "That 70s Show," you just don't bother learning your lines. By the end of the week, you know the lines. They were sticklers for what you did, but you didn't have to go through the process of learning them. You would just assimilate them during the week. But on this movie, I had to have someone come over to drill me on the lines. So when we started, yes, I knew all my dialogue for the entire film. That was the only way it was going to work, and it did.
Kurtwood: Well, you know, there again... To a certain extent, sure it's a relief to know that if something comes along that I want to do, I can do it. But I don't find leaving the show to be a relief. It was great fun. It was one of those situations where... I have friends of mine who have been on shows, they get involved, and they hate them. They go through it because of the money. But, especially in a situation comedy, the job is so relatively easy once you get it down, in terms of a schedule... It's such a positive life schedule. One of the guys on the show was joking yesterday, "You know, you work a good 24 hours per week on that show." That's really about it. We were putting in about 24 hours per week. With all the days off, I mean... It was ridiculous. And at the same time, we're working with really nice people. We worked together for a long time. There were things that you could do, and they would work, and it was easy. It was a situation that everyone dreamed of. So I hated to see it go. I really did. If I had not gotten along so well with some of the people on the show, it would have been a different story. But in this case, it was great. But sure, it will be fun to look around.
Kurtwood: Yeah. It kind of reminded me of stuff that I used to do earlier in my career, from the "Robocop" days. But it's a completely different kind of character than that.
Kurtwood Smith: I don't have anything planned. That's true. I really don't make those sort of plans. I've been working on "That 70s Show" for eight years. I don't personally develop stuff for myself. That's just not the way I work. So it's a terrific position for me to be in, having done the show for that long, that right now I don't have to worry about whether I work or not. That doesn't mean that I want to, like I'd want to go on vacation or anything. I'm used to having four months per year on vacation. But I don't really feel that I have to do anything if I don't want to, so I've been looking at some scripts. I'm just kind of floating along, and it's great. It's a nice situation.
Kurtwood Smith: Did you tell them what happened when we were on the set? On the first day I came on the set, I said, (sarcastically) "You know, I don't really drink Coca-Cola." I said, "I only drink Diet Pepsi." I was joking. But the next day I came in, all the little cans were Pepsi. In one day it was gone. Now some little P.A. comes to my door and says, "Here's your Pepsi." Aaw no. You have to be very careful about what you say.
Kurtwood Smith: (when asked if he knew RoboCop was going to be big from the get go) No, I thought this was going to be fun.
Kurtwood Smith: (when asked if he had any advice for upcoming actors) Oh... find something else to do. No. Patience and persistence. That's all.
Kurtwood Smith: What I should say, in regard to that... They sent me a script, and for me, that's always where it starts. I read the script. I thought it was fresh, and I responded very well to the character. So then it was just a question of meeting with David and talking with him. To get involved in projects like this, one thing that you want to be careful of is that you have some basis. That's why the script is so important. As far as you know, it's not really going to change much. They might tell you that it will, but you can't believe them because you don't really know these people. So you have to start with the script. Second, you want to have some feeling that the person whom you're going to be working with, entrusting yourself to, your career to, has some idea of what he wants to do. Not only has written something, as in this case, but that he's going in a direction that you understand and feel comfortable with. That certainly seemed to be the case. Plus, he seemed like a nice guy. (audience laughter)
Kurtwood Smith: Most of Red Forman came from my step-dad, who is now passed away. The initial creators of the show kind of based the character on their dads and then I added my dad.
Kurtwood Smith: "Sometimes people stop me on the street and say, "Hey Red, call me a dumb-ass." So I say, "OK - you're a dumb-ass.""