Bubba Smith who played Hightower in the Police Academy films has died. Linky: Police Academy Star, NFL Great Bubba Smith Dies Bubba Smith, the former NFL star who made a successful jump to acting with a series of memorable Miller Lite ads and a key role in the hilarious Police Academy movies, has died. He was 66. Authorities believe Smith succumbed to natural causes Wednesday at his Los Angeles-area home. Ed Winter, assistant chief investigator for the L.A. County Coroner's Office, tells E! News that an investigator is en route to the former footballer's Baldwin Hills residence so the exact cause of death won't be know for a while. Born Charles Aaron Smith, the 6-foot-7 football star plied his trade at Michigan State (where he was cheered on to the chants of "Kill, Bubba, Kill") before become a Pro Bowler » Gutted. I was looking forward to Police Academy 16 (Cops in Nappies), set in an OAP home.