By Gary Mehaffy for WrestlingObserver.com
I had the opportunity to interview Georgia Smith, daughter of ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith and Diana Hart-Smith and an entertainer in her own right, for over 30 minutes talking about her life growing up in the shadow of a wrestling superstar and what she hopes for her future within the acting world.
We talked about her voice acting work, meeting wrestling fans, her dad’s impact on the UK, his death and how her family dealt with it and are still dealing with it today, the Davey Boy Smith Memorial Cup, the Hart family legacy and much, much more. It’s a great, fun interview with a great, fun person! I hope you enjoy it!
Starting out, for everybody reading this, how are things with you and what have you been up to?
Things have been good! Last week I was presenting at The Limelight film awards, and the movie I presented was under the title of ‘Best Experimental Film’ – it won movie of the night! That was really fun. I’ve been to the WWE Hall of Fame and the Slammy Awards when I was little, but I’ve never been to an awards show where I was invited for me and to present something on stage on front of all these people, that was really, really fun.
I’m working on a voice demo right now with Mark Silk – he does the voices of Bob the Builder in the (United) States and Jonny Bravo and he does various voices. I’m excited to be working with him on other projects as well. Once that’s all prepared then people can hear what my voices are all about! I demoed when I first came here (UK) and I showed some people and they made suggestions, so now I’m on the right track with it.
I went to school for broadcasting in the States – and for radio – and I interned for Fox, NBC and Daytime Television while I was there. I’ve always had a passion for acting, so I want to get more into that. I’ve done a lot of acting training in Canada and in the States, as well as modelling. So, yea, that’s pretty much me in a nutshell! (laughs)
I know that when you were young – as with a lot of people – your mum got you involved and got you into a lot of classes, but has your family background and heritage – so to speak – helped to open some doors in the industry?
Oh yea, absolutely. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse, because so many people know me as Davey Boy Smith’s daughter. I was at London WrestleCon and so many people wanted to take a picture with me – but it’s, like, because my dad’s not here I’m the closest thing to him, looks wise and everything I guess, so it’s like a picture (then) a picture…..(laughs) But it’s not because of me, it’s because of my dad they want a picture with me!
So, yea, it definitely has (helped) but on the other hand I’ll want to do some acting auditions and then they’ll see who I’m related to and then they don’t take me seriously. Wrestling isn’t the most top of the line drama – people don’t take it seriously – and it’s difficult too because just label me. They’re like “Oh, that’s his daughter” and that’s it. No, actually, there are more layers to me, there’s more to me. I’m trying to make my own life and be my own person. My dad is a part of me but I’m not him and he’s not me.
He, indirectly – possibly before you were born – is responsible for me having any involvement in the industry, because the first American – or WWE – wrestling match that I ever saw was on ITV. I remember turning it on and The British Bulldogs were coming out with Matilda at Madison Square Garden and from that point as a young child I was like “This is what I have to watch!”
I can definitely see that. In my opinion – and I’m not just saying this because he’s my dad – he made Britain famous with wrestling. He is the most famous wrestler from the UK – he was the most popular person.
He was a star in the States, but I don’t think people in America quite realise just how much of a star he was here in the UK. He was legitimately big business.
Yea, exactly. I totally agree. I think they think like he was just a very famous British wrestler, but he was a lot more than that. He did a lot more while he was here. I mean (at SummerSlam 1992) he and Bret were the main event. They outsold Michael Jackson and Madonna at Wembley Stadium! Research shows that that Wembley Stadium match was the highest grossing show for WWE and it actually beat the record of selling out in ten hours. Who can do that now? Nobody.
It’s funny that you mention that match at Wembley in 1992. At that point WWE had gone to Sky here in the UK and we didn’t have it but there was a guy at the top of our street who had it. Everybody knew who Davey was, and it was a case of “Oh my goodness! He’s wrestling Bret – we need to see this!” Everybody from our street was piled into this one house for that one match, looking back on it now, you go “Yea…..that’s proper star appeal.”
Yea, that’s true. And it’s like what you were saying – my dad was such a big star in England that he was ultimately the one who got WWE on Sky. It’s because of him – or that’s what I’ve been told.
Even a few years after that in WWE the European Title was created specifically for him at first to win it and come over here (the UK) and go “You have got your European hero – your UK hero. Here he is!” I think there were times that some people were frustrated – and you may know this or even from talking to Bret or your mum you might know it – but there were times in both WCW and WWE where people felt that he could have genuinely been moved to the very top and had a run with the title. Do you think that was something that he regretted?
I think he always regretted that it………I feel bad that it never happened. He should have become World Champion, but I don’t know why. I think it was just that the timing of everything was always wrong because just when he was getting to such a high level something would happen. Then he would be going to the top of the next company and something would happen. I think that had it not happened – after SummerSlam 1992 when he got released – he would have been World Champion then, and I think Vince wanted to the put the World Championship on him (in 1997), but he’s leaving for WCW with Bret so we can’t have that – hence they took away the European Championship from him. I don’t really agree with how that went down, but it was just circumstances that……I think he always felt bad that he knew he had what it took and he could do anything if he hadn’t have quit.
Even coming full circle now, you have been involved this year with the Davey Boy Smith Memorial Cup. Two aspects to this one: how big an honour was it for you to be involved with it, but also how big an honour was it for you as a family to have this honour of Davey being recognised in this way?
Well, when Alex Shane presented it to me eh said this is what we want to do, we want to have a cup in your dad’s name, and I was like yea, of course. My dad loved British wrestling so much and I knew that this was something that had to be done. It was such an honour that people were competing for that. I wish my were here to have seen it
I showed my mum and Harry the matches and it was fun for me, because I’ve never been into wrestling and have kind of always distanced myself from the indy scene and stuff like that, but when this opportunity came from WrestleTalk and they wanted to get this going – and it was a long time coming with a lot of planning. It wasn’t done in a day; it took a long time – but I supported it 100% and I’m glad that it happened and I hope that another one will happen.
Anything that keeps my dad’s legacy alive – and the fact that the fans and the wrestlers competing in it were doing it for his honour – is really nice.
Two things off the back of that. You talk about keeping his memory alive. A lot of people, especially here in the UK but in North America as well, would say that he is 100% deserving of being in the WWE Hall of Fame – either as a singles (wrestler) or as part of the Bulldogs, or both. How much do you – hope that happens is maybe the wrong way to put it – how soon do you see that happening, because it definitely should happen?
I want it to happen so bad, but it’s like…….I’m not trying to make WWE sound bad, but they know that we want it to happen so bad that they’re like “Ok, well, we just won’t give it to them” – if that makes sense, you know? – “Ah, we’ll take our time with it.” I know they have to spread it out and they can’t put everybody in all at once.
Apparently they’re running out of people to put in, but it’s embarrassing when people ask me why isn’t he in, what’s going on, and I don’t have an answer for them. I wish I did have an answer for them. I wish WWE had some sort of communication just to tell us and give some sort of idea so that I could tell people. The fans have been making petitions to get him in. People are trying to get him and are mailing WWE. I wish I had the answers for them but I don’t!
I honestly think that it’s going to happen…….I don’t think that it’ll be next year (2016) but I think it’s gonna be 2017 when it happens, and when it does happen it’s going to be like a weight lifted off of my shoulders, because I know if my dad was here he would want it so much. And I think that’s another reason why they (WWE) are taking so long with it, because my dad’s not alive and they only, apparently, do one posthumous person a year. I think that they want as many people as possible that are alive to collect the award, but unfortunately a lot of people in wrestling have died so they’ve steered away from that. That’s fine, if they want to be politically correct and do the right thing, but at the same time you have a legend that you need to put in, so get to it! (laughs)
The second side (of the question) about his legacy: it was obviously a shock to fans whenever he dies in 2002. Obviously, he had some injuries and stuff that had played into it. I almost feel bad for asking it this way, but how tough was it for you in your early teens to have it happen and how tough is it for you now today? You can tell how much you still miss him in the way that you talk about him, but could you let everyone know just how that was for you?
It was so shocking. I’ve never gotten over it. It’s been, like, 13 years and I’ve never gotten over it. I saw him the day before he died. I called him and said to come over and he came over and we spent the afternoon together. It was activity day for me at school and I thought “I’m not going to do that!” (laughs). It was a Friday and I said to come on over. I made some really horrible pizza that he ate – well, we all ate it although I really didn’t cook it all that well – and I remember that he said he had a stomach ache, that his stomach hurt. My mum has a pantry full of vitamins and stuff and I said I don’t know if you want to take something for the pain or some pepto bismol or something.
We were watching movies, and it was at 6 or 7 pm that he said “Well, I’m going on a road trip to B.C.” – which is the province in the West of Canada – and he said “I’ll see you Monday; I’ll be back on Monday.” Then I wake up the next day, and I’m playing on the computer at 11 and my brother came up and he’s like “Eh, something happened to Davey.” I said “What? What do you mean?”
Plenty of things had happened to my dad, with his hospital incident where he had this major infection in his arm the year before and they had to take so much of it (out) and he always got infections and things, so when he (Harry) told me it was like “Is he at the hospital? Is he ok? I don’t know what’s going on.”
My mum left her work and she came in and she came downstairs and she said “Get downstairs now!” We came downstairs and she said we were going to my grampy’s house – my grandfather Stu’s house – and she said “We’re going to hear something, but I don’t know how it’s going to go or what’s going to happen, but you guys need to be prepared for it.”
The phone was ringing off the hook at my grandpa’s house and everyone was crying and I’m like “What’s going on?” because nobody had told me anything. My uncle Ross was like “Well, we’ll have to get the body sent here.” and I’m like “What body? What’s going on?” I was saying to TJ – Tyson Kidd – outside, “Davey’s been through everything – he’s broken his back, he’s been through major injuries in wrestling, he’s been in car accidents – he’s pretty unbreakable!” TJ wouldn’t say anything. My mum was on the phone – I think she was on the phone with Vince McMahon telling him what was going on – and I looked at her and I said “Tell me! Tell me what’s going on! Is he alive or is he dead?” and she said “He’s gone.” That was like a punch in the face – it was so shocking. It was traumatising, it was bad.
I don’t know what’s worse – if something like that happens or if you know someone is going to die. If someone is dying, you can go “OK, they’re going to die in two months” or is someone just dies overnight, I don’t know what’s worse. I spoke to my grandfather (in England) on the phone and he was really upset and my aunt was really upset. Reality really hit when they showed the tribute video on Monday Night Raw. I went to school a week later and everybody was like “What happened? What happened to your dad?” and “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
It was bad, too, when we went to this funeral home. My dad’s body wasn’t there – when he passed they flew his body back to England – but prior to it, in the funeral home, they were like “Well, maybe Davey would like this chestnut wood colour,” and it’s like, my dad can’t even fit in these coffins! It was traumatising to even see that. “Ok, well maybe would like to be in this urn…..” and I’m like (thinking) “I just saw the guy 2 days ago! What is happening?”
Then whenever the phone rings you think “Oh, that’s him calling.” Oh, no, it’s a newspaper thing (on the phone) or it’s this……
It annoyed me too, because when he died there was so much negative press about it. People forget that he had a family. I collect all the mags at the time from when he was in WWF, when he was in WCW and some Australian magazine and then there was PowerSlam magazine, which was a British magazine. I was like “Oh, wow, he’s on the cover of it!” I thought it would be this nice tribute – I read it now, and they’re completely bashing him they’re (saying) well, this was coming to him and I’m like “How dare you! How dare you say this! You don’t know anything about him.” (They said) “His family may be in denial, but we all know the truth. He was going through a downward spiral and a colleague of his said that he wasn’t able to speak and keep himself standing.” I’m like “Who is this…..who would…….” I found it so offensive, but that’s not the first time I’ve seen it. I’ve seen so many people act like they know everything and know what happened or what kind of person he was, and that’s the most difficult thing.
Since he’s been gone I feel like I always have to defend him – and I always will, because he’s my dad – but it’s so hard, because I hear all the time these people that try to bash him. it annoys me, because my dad should be here to be like “No, I’ll put these people in their place!” It’s so difficult. When he died, he wasn’t like ‘Bob you neighbour’ he was this massive star, despite not being on TV for a year or two, he was still this icon. I guess when people that are so famous die, they feel like they can say what they want and rip you apart. It wasn’t right – especially when I was 14 and going to school and hearing all these people saying “Oh, he died of steroids.” It’s like “Uh, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” I don’t mind talking to you (now) but then I was “I don’t even want to talk about it! My dad just died a week ago, leave me alone!”
In talking about him and your extended family, obviously the Harts and the extended family are, without a doubt, the first family of wrestling – they are a dynasty within it. Today we still have Harry, Nattie and Tyson – even Teddy Hart doing some stuff still – as well as others involved in the industry. How do you see the family legacy and the legacy of your dad within the wrestling industry?
I think it’s kind of sad how it’s all kind of happened that there’s pretty much only one Hart now in WWE. That kind of makes me sad, but at the same time my brother is in Japan and he’s made a really big name for himself over there. He’s got the bulldog on his tights – that’s one of the things that bothered me in WWE. He was always wearing the pink and black. I mean, I’m glad that they were really putting over the Hart name and using him, but what about his other heritage? The red, white and blue and the bulldog. They kind of were just doing the pink and black, so I’m glad now where he’s at my brother can have the bulldog on his gear and he can things that he wasn’t allowed to do in WWE.
I’m glad Nattie……she’s working with what she’s got there. I don’t really watch WWE, and I don’t know how well the women’s division is – but apparently, from what I’ve heard, the WWE isn’t doing much with them. So, the fact that Nattie is on a show and showing her personality, and networking and taking what she’s got to another level – and good for her. I’m glad she’s doing that and the fact that she is a Hart doing that – that’s amazing.
Coming back to you, I appreciate the acting side of things – I am a frustrated actor/writer myself. You have said before about not wanting to get in the ring like your dad, but obviously you have gone into the entertainment industry – you talked about some of the voice work that you’re doing, etc. What do you hope is going to happen for you off the back of all of this?
What I really want is just to make my own individuality and just to become my own person – and that people will know me as Georgia Smith the x, y and z, and not just Georgia Smith who’s related to some people in wrestling. Sometimes, I kind of hide behind my family sort of, because when people ask me what I do it always comes back to my family. I need to big myself up a little bit and be like “I’ve done this and this.” I’ve accomplished a lot, but at the same time I go “Well, it’s not as great as what they’ve done….” So it’s difficult, but I want to get to a place where I’m completely confident and be like “This is me” and if you go on my Twitter profile you know exactly what I’m about and who I am. I’m proud of where I come from, but I don’t want to be 40 years old and it to be like “Oh, she’s the British Bulldog’s daughter – that’s all she is.”
Anybody who knows me knows that I have a lot more to show of me and it’s just (about) getting more opportunities for myself to show what I’ve got. That’s what my dad did. My dad wasn’t just one of The British Bulldogs – he became the British Bulldog. HE became his own thing and had the cape and the braids and made his own individuality – he wasn’t in a tag (team) anymore. That’s just an example. Like with Harry – Harry was in the Hart Dynasty, it’s what he was famous for. But now he’s in the Killer Elite Squad, he’s coming into his own, he’s more confident and I’m kind of on that path – but not with wrestling! I do my own thing, my own entertainment thing.
You mentioned Twitter and stuff there. How can anybody keep up to date with what you’re up to and the things that you’re involved with?
Twitter (@georgiasmith87) and I have a Facebook page (facebook.com/georgiasmith7). My website is currently being built right now. Those three things are the main things – people can follow my snapchat, but it’s kind of boring! (laughs) It’s just pictures of my dog! Yea, Twitter, Facebook and the website – georgiajsmith – it’s under construction. Probably at the weekend it will be all up and running.
I much appreciate you giving me your time and on the acting side of things I really hope it all comes off. About 12 years ago I was very close stuff happening for me (in acting) and I made the decision to finish my teaching degree rather than go and pursue the acting. While it was good that I finished my teaching degree, the acting opportunity had passed me be, so I am genuinely a frustrated actor – so from that point of view, I hope it all comes good for you!
Yea, it’s definitely not easy. It’s like when people ask me “Where should I train to wrestle? “ or “What would you recommend me?” I’m like (laughs) “Do something else! Don’t do it! Do anything else but that unless you want to annoy yourself.” Sometimes I feel like that with acting – sometimes I feel like I’m so close and then something happens and I’m at a standstill.
Even right now, I have an agent – a big, well known agent – who wants to represent me, but the thing is I don’t have the specific requirements. I haven’t had years of acting training in England or English drama, and I’m not a part of the union. So, I’m trying to find a way to get around that so that if I get with this agent then it’s going to be like a dream come true. So, I have to just keep like plodding along and if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be – but I feel like whether it’s acting or voice work acting on TV or wherever, I feel like that’s my destiny! I have to get the Bulldog strength and just power through it.