Stan has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency since the 80s, as a field agent and weapons expert under Deputy-Director Avery Bullock. In this role his work has included the interrogation of possible terrorists. Stan is always on alert for terrorist activity, at work, and in his home life.
In "Stan's Food Restaurant", it's revealed that he lived in or near Philadelphia at the time his father left him and that he was molested by Father Roy, his priest. Although on further reflection he thinks he may have seduced Father Roy. In "The Best Christmas Story Never", Stan is taken back in time to his boyhood home by Michelle, the Spirit of Christmas Past, after which he travels to the New York of 1970.
Stan attended John DeLorean High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A very unpopular student, he got pranked by the popular students while at the prom by being crushed by falling pigs in "It's Good to Be the Queen". Stan claims to be a 2008 graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in "Gift Me Liberty".
Stan was scrawny and had horrible acne, which caused him to be nicknamed "The Penis". It is revealed in "Chimdale" that in an effort to get rid of his acne, he took part in testing of an experimental acne treatment. The treatment caused all his hair to fall out, and he has worn a toupee ever since. Up until this episode, he didn't think anyone knew. The family told him that it was obvious.
Stan recounts in "Francine's Flashback" that he met his future wife Francine while she was hitch-hiking and Stan gave her a ride. As he was driving, he accidentally ran over a raccoon, which he shot to put it out of its misery, and Francine thought it was the most compassionate act she had ever seen. They got married later that same year. Stan's father, Jack Smith, wasn't able to attend the wedding so he had a fake father, Grandpa Smith, come to the wedding and pose as his real father for 20 years in "Con Heir".
In "Black Mystery Month" it is revealed Stan is a part of the Illuminuti, an organization trying to keep a peanut butter conspiracy secret.
Stan is 42 years old, as revealed by the title of the episode "42-Year-Old Virgin" and last confirmed in "My Morning Straitjacket". Stan and Francine have two teenage children, Hayley and Steve. Stan allows Roger to live in the Smith household because the alien saved his life at Area 51. Roger has come to think of the Smiths as family. His goldfish, Klaus, was actually an East German skier which explains how he is able to talk. To prevent Klaus from winning the gold medal in the 1986 Winter Olympics, Stan switched his brain with a goldfish's brain and has lived as a goldfish with the Smith family since then. The Smith Family currently lives in Langley Falls, Virginia, near the C.I.A.
Stan's reflexive super-patriotism possibly stems from his father, Jack Smith. Jack was an absent father and was believed to be a part of a group of spies known as the Scarlet Alliance. Stan clearly worshiped his father until discovering that Jack was, in fact, a jewel thief in "Con Heir". Stan's mother's name is Betty and she always comes to Stan when her newest boyfriend dumps her. But unknown to her until "Oedipal Panties", Stan kidnaps her boyfriends so they can never hurt her like his father did. She later falls in love and marries the local deli owner Hercules.
Although Stan is, for the most part, a loving husband and father, he often causes problems within the home with his attitudes. Stan also seems to prize popularity; he encouraged Steve to date cheerleaders in "Pilot (American Dad!)". He is horrified when he discovers his son, Steve, is a geek and is reluctant to let the other C.I.A. agents see him, lest Stan become one of the uncool agents in "All About Steve". Though he appears to dislike nerds, Stan is shown owning a bat'leth, a type of Klingon sword in "Not Particularly Desperate Housewives". Stan is not particularly intelligent. He was even indirectly called a dumbass by one of Steve's teachers when he helped Steve's report on fossils in "Irregarding Steve". In "An Apocalypse to Remember", his family called him "the boob" because of his tendency to do unintelligent things and not think things all the way through.
Stan has a tendency to be hypocritical. However at times Stan would realize his selfishness and hypocrisy such as in "Chimdale" when he showed Francine, Hayley and Roger that he was bald although all three of them knew already. Unfortunately during "One Little Word". he attempted to be selfless but in doing so he left his boss crippled and bleeding on the floor of a cabin because he had been neglecting Francine due to the fact that he wanted to remain Bullock's "Number 1".
Stan has no qualms about kidnapping, drugging, or tasering anybody, even family members, if he sees it as a means to an end. In the pilot episode, he kidnaps American actress and singer Hilary Duff to date his geeky son Steve.
Stan dislikes overweight people, as depicted in several episodes where he made remarks about his son's friend Barry. In "The American Dad After School Special", he meets his son Steve's overweight gothic girlfriend, Debbie, who he doesn't take very kindly to. However, when he is told he's put on a few pounds, his attempts to slim himself down to prevent becoming what he hates leads him to anorexia.
Stan is very xenophobic and vigilant. In "Homeland Insecurity", he profiled the new neighbors, Bob and Linda Memari as terrorists because of their Iranian heritage, though he later seems to warm up to them. He is so proud of the United States that he hates anything foreign, even food i.e. French toast and falafel. He also hates being pegged as feminine. In "Roger Codger", he began to shed tears before he almost shot Roger. Steve pointed that out, and Stan immediately said, "I'm not a lady!". Stan is very traditional, as he believes his wife should be at home, doing housework, unable to leave the house without being escorted, cooking meals and do whatever he says without question. He has been regarded by Hayley in "Homeland Insecurity" and Klaus in "I Can't Stan You" to be insane. During both occasions, Stan has done very irrational things; the first of which was due to his xenophobia while the other was due to him evicting all his neighbors just because they did not like him.
Stan seems to think he knows everything but in "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" God had to tell him that he does not know everything. Another instance of this is in "Irregarding Steve" where he claims to know everything about fossils. Unfortunately, Steve received a failing grade on his report as a result of Stan's help.
Stan worships Ronald Reagan, quoting his speeches and even going as far as choosing a dog because it was alive during Reagan's administration. He also sees George Bush as a hero as shown in "Bush Comes to Dinner" where he wrote a letter to Bush which has resemblance to a love letter and would send Hayley into a pit via trap door and drugged her so that she could not tell Bush her true feeling and loathing of his decisions. As a proud Republican, he strenuously opposes abortion and gun control. At the beginning of the series, he had a strong prejudice against homosexuality. His views on the subject soften somewhat in "Lincoln Lover", in which he finds out that his neighbor, Greg Corbin, is not only gay, but a Republican; he gradually learns that he and other gay Republicans are not gay by choice, but nevertheless are Republicans by choice. Stan hates Democrats, especially Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda and Michael Moore. He frequently argues with Hayley over her liberal political views and appears to somewhat distrust her. He occasionally uses his CIA status and near-totalitarian views to attempt to control every aspect of her life, such as in "Stan Knows Best" when he shaved her hair just because she dyed it green while participating in a Green Party rally. However when his boss insulted her in "Bullocks To Stan", he defended her honor by nearly beating his boss to death.
Hobbies and talents
Stan's childhood hobbies include gun cleaning, wood burning and decoupage. In "A Smith In The Hand", he revisits these hobbies with Steve in order to help him with self-denial. Stan's current hobbies include collecting commemorative plates from the Franklin Mint, and he has an incredible talent in ice skating. Stan can also play the guitar, as evidenced in "Stannie Get Your Gun", "A Smith In The Hand" and "Stan Time". He has passed this talent on to Hayley, and Steve who performs with his band in "American Dream Factory". He also seems to have an interest in musical theater. In "Homeland Insecurity", Stan performed with his cellmate in jail in the play, South Pacific, and he has long been dying to see the musical Mamma Mia!. Stan is also a fan of the TV series Lost and 24, and has written an extensive unpublished children's book series called Patriot Pigeon.
Stan was in competition figure skating, when he was younger. Francine inspires Stan to get back into skating in "Iced, Iced Babies" and they compete in a local figure skating contest.
In "Delorean Story-an", Stan reveals that for years he has been secretly building his dream car, the Delorean. He has spent thousands of dollars of his and Francine's life savings on building this dream car. Stan builds this car not knowing the iconicity of the car from Back To The Future.
Stan is the CIA's weapons expert and is shown to be a skilled fighter with various weapons most notably a pistol which he kept with him at all times. He was also skilled in unarmed combat and his large muscles gave him an advantage over most opponents.
Stan is also an avid Georgetown Hoyas fan as shown in "The Vacation Goo".
Stan dies for six minutes before being resuscitated in "Haylias" after being shot by Hayley. As a result, he suffered some memory loss and forgets who Klaus is.
According to the DVD commentary, the show staff discuss Stan being dead as of the end of "Rapture's Delight" and in his personal heaven. In "May the Best Stan Win", Stan had originally planned to be frozen upon his death and later returns as a cyborg from the future, only to be defeated by present-day Stan. In the epilogue, Stan and Francine are depicted as having both died sometime in 2067. Later in "Hot Water", Stan buys a hot tub that has a mind of its own; it ends up being evil and eventually kills Stan and Francine.
The events of American Dad! should be viewed the same as many episodes of Family Guy where everything returns to normal and continuity is usually disregarded, given that American Dad!, Family Guy and The Cleveland Show are set up so the characters are actors filming their respective television shows. Stan walks into a table read at the end of "Bullocks To Stan" to hug Trahn "Jimmy" Ng who would later be "killed" in a traffic accident on a filming day. "Bar Mitzvah Hustle" shows that the Smith home is nothing more than a set when Stan can't recite the bad dialog and walks past Klaus who is revealed to be a man in a giant fish suit in front of a green screen. In "She Swill Survive", Stan and Hayley are revealed to be actors named Nicholas Vanderbilt and Kate Fagan.
As a running joke in the series, Stan's full first name is left ambiguous and is often even deliberately changed to confuse the audience. He is called Stanley and Staniel by Roger in "Roger 'n' Me". However, in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith" he is called Stanford. In "I Ain’t No Holodeck Boy", the CIA hologramdeck control panel gives his full name as Stan "Anita" Smith under his avatar.
- In the seventeenth season episode of The Simpsons called "The Italian Bob", Stan, along with Peter Griffin, from Family Guy is seen in the Italian police book. Stan is guilty of Plagiarismo Di Plagiarismo as in "plagiarism of plagiarism", which is the Simpsons writers' way of saying that American Dad! is a rip-off of Family Guy which is already considered by Simpson writers and detractors of Family Guy as a rip-off of The Simpsons.
- In the Family Guy episode, "Lois Kills Stewie", Stewie and Brian go to the CIA HQ, while hacking the world's power supply Stan and Bullock kick open the door. Stewie, then cuts off the world's power, as Stan points a gun at him. Stewie then says "I would put down the gun Joe" to which Stan says "What? It's Stan" around that time Stan and Bullock surrender to Stewie.
- In "Excellence in Broadcasting", Stan appears congratulating Brian Griffin for embracing the Republican Party.
- The entire Smith family appears as the Griffins new neighbors in "Bigfat". When Peter sees Roger, Stan tries to keep Peter quiet but is forced to have to kill him as he starts to tell Glenn Quagmire about the alien. The entire opening turns out to be a dream by Hank Hill of King of the Hill.
- Stan's favorite beverage is Mr. PiBB, especially medium-sized.
- Stan admitted to being afraid of seagulls in "American Dream Factory", although he claims he has overcome his fear after being stranded on an island in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith".
- Debbie identifies Stan's gun as a Kel-Tec P-11 9mm in "Iced, Iced Babies".
- He is straight, but wanted to have sex with a man to see what it was like, and kissed Terry in "Lincoln Lover", the guy he chose to do it with.
- Stan is bald from testing zit cream so he wears a wig as revealed in "Chimdale". However, his hair is seen to grow in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith".
- In "Surro-Gate", Greg and Terry put a restraining order on Stan for kidnapping their child Libby. But in "Daddy Queerest" it appears to have been lifted since Stan is seen around Greg and Terry a lot in the episode.
- Stan is a fan of the NFL's Washington Redskins, as shown in "Daddy Queerest" and other episodes. In addition, he is also a fan of the Baltimore Ravens in "(You Gotta) Strike For Your Right".
- Stan usually doesn't cry a lot, which Steve made him do to save Stan from killing himself in "Every Which Way But Lose". In "An Incident at Owl Creek", he cries after every human in town laughs at him.
- Stan reveals one of his school nicknames was Stan Frank for hiding and writing in a diary in "Stanny-Boy and Frantastic". A reference to The Diary of Anne Frank. He also admitted plagiarizing Anne's diary for his own journal in "My Purity Ball and Chain".
- Another nickname in "Anchorfran" was "Stan the man" because there was a girl named Stan in his class.
- He is allergic to shellfish, as seen in "Weiner of Our Discontent". However, this conflicts with eating lobster in "Family Affair".
- Stan is revealed in "Dr. Klaustus" to hate Francine's cooking and keeps a pit of wolves in the kitchen to give them the food she serves him.
- In "She Swill Survive", Stan is listed as 6' tall with black hair, brown eyes, weighing 195lbs and has a long list of acting experience on his resume, including several performances at Langley Community College. His special skills are listed as a Jamaican accent, moonwalking and stage magic.
- "Permanent Record Wrecker" reveals that as a teenager, Stan worked in a White Castle restaurant sweeping up hair.
- "The Future is Borax" reveals that Stan is lactose intolerant.