Ian Smith (born 19 June 1938) is an Australian soap opera character actor, television producer (associate) and television screenwriter, best known today for his long-running itinerant role as the caring, kindly coffee shop owner Harold Bishop in the soap opera Neighbours, since 1987, when the series was taken over by Network Ten.
Before appearing on Neighbours, Smith had previously acted in guest roles in drama series such as the Crawford Productions police dramas Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police. He had a regular role in long-running Australian television serial Bellbird, made a guest appearance as a police detective in The Box in 1975, and had a semi-regular role in serial Prisoner. Smith was also script editor of Prisoner for most of its eight-year run. He became Associate Producer of Prisoner late in its run.
Smith featured in Series 11 of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! to set the camp-mates challenges. He did not join the camp-mates.
Smith became best known through his portrayal of Harold Bishop in the soap opera Neighbours from 1987 to 1991, and returning in 1996. He switched to recurring status from 2008 to 2009, becoming one of its longest serving characters.
In 2008, he revealed to the Daily Mail newspaper that his main decision for leaving Neighbours was the ongoing abuse that he received from yobs near his Melbourne home. He claimed that the abuse was so bad, he had to get the police involved. In his final Neighbours storyline, his character was diagnosed with cancer. Harold recovered after treatment and was written out by leaving to travel around Australia. For his portrayal of Harold, Smith received a nomination for a Gold Logie Award in 2009.
In December 2010, Ryan Moloney revealed to TV Week that Smith would be returning to Neighbours in 2011. Smith appeared for six weeks from May 2011. Smith returned to Neighbours in 2015, with former co-star Anne Charleston for the 30th anniversary. He also appeared in a documentary celebrating the anniversary titled Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, which aired in Australia and the UK in March 2015.
Smith was 54 when his mother Connie Smith, realising she had 24 hours to live, finally admitted to him that he had been adopted. After her death, Smith went in search of his natural mother Peg Kline, whom he finally found. According to Kline's story, Smith was conceived when she was fourteen, the product of rape, and was put up for adoption. Kline eventually married and had two children from this marriage. She never told anyone besides her husband about her first son until she was contacted by Smith via a letter. Kline contacted Ian's wife Gail Smith, who mentioned that her husband was a prominent Neighbours actor, to which Kline replied, "I've never seen Neighbours in my life". Smith and Kline were reunited and he has built a strong relationship with his mother and two half-brothers, although Smith says that he doesn't feel a mother–son relationship. He calls Kline "one of my best friends". Peg Kline died in May 2005 after a battle with cancer. Smith was believed to have first told the story to the public in an exclusive interview on the biographical documentary series Australian Story in March 2005. However, he had actually revealed much of this in a BBC interview some years before.
|2015||Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite||Himself||Documentary|
|2011||The British Soap Awards||Himself||Award Presentation|
|2010||Underbelly The Golden Mile||Ken Wallis|
|2009||Talkin' Bout Your Generation||Himself|
|The Jesus Spoon||Buck Senior|
|2007||Little Britain Down Under||Himself||Special Thanks|
|2002||It Shouldn't Happen To A... Soapstar||Himself|
|2001||The Big Breakfast||Himself|
|1997||The Last Of Ryans||Sir Arthur Rylah|
|1996||The Genie From Down Under||Race Judge|
|1994||Blue Heelers||Clive Burton|
|1993||Body Melt||Dr. Carrera|
|1992||Noel's House Party||Himself|
|1991||Pebble Mill at One||Himself|
|1990||Happy Birthday, Coronation Street||Himself|
|1987–1991, 1996–2009, 2011, 2015||Neighbours||Harold Bishop||Main Cast
|1981||I Can Jump Puddles||Mr. Slade|
|Bluey||Sen. Det. Davidson|
|1975||Division 4||Mike Chapman|
|Quality of Mercy||Unknown|
|1971–1973||Matlock Police||Larry Fisher
Const. Graham Browning