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Nicholas Benton "Ben" Alexander III (June 27, 1911 - July 5, 1969) was an American motion picture actor, who started out as a child actor in 1916. He is best remembered for his role as Officer Frank Smith in the Dragnet franchise.
In 1952, Jack Webb, actor-producer-director of Dragnet, needed a replacement for Barton Yarborough, who had played Detective Romero opposite Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday. Webb selected Alexander, but had to wait until he was available. A few actors filled in as Friday's partners until Alexander appeared in the newly created role of Officer Frank Smith, first in the radio series, then reprised the role in film and on television. The popular series ran until 1959. When Webb revived it in 1966, he wanted Alexander to rejoin him, but Alexander had just signed to play the role of Sgt. Dan Briggs on the weekly ABC series Felony Squad.
In 1969, Alexander was found dead of heart attack in his home when his wife and children returned from a camping trip.
For his contribution to the entertainment industry, Ben Alexander was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television, radio, and movies.
Alexander and his family in 1961, pictured are his daughter, Lesley, his son, Bradford, and his wife, Lesley.
Alexander owned and operated the Ben Alexander Ford car dealership in the Highland Park neighborhood of northeast Los Angeles, from around 1953 until his death in 1969, and a San Francisco branch was formed in 1959. In the mid-1950s, Ben Alexander's Dream House Motel was located at 1815 North Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Alexander ran a talent show for young people out of Oakland. The Ben Alexander Talent Show was broadcast on Oakland's KTVU TV, a local station in the San Francisco Bay Area.