Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the prolific actor who starred as a brilliant G-man in The FBI and Hollywood detective in 77 Sunset Strip, has died. He was 95.
“We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch,” the actor’s daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and son Efrem Zimbalist III said in a statement released Friday. “He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf, and visiting with close friends.”
Zimbalist Jr. first became a household name in the role of Stu Bailey, a private investigator solving crimes from the hip detective agency located at 77 Sunset Strip. The ABC series ended in 1964, when the actor went on to star in The FBI as by-the-books agent Lewis Erskine. That ABC series, which posted real photos from the FBI’s most-wanted list at the end of episodes, ran until 1974. For his contributions to boosting the FBI’s reputation, Zimbalist Jr. received a special badge from the agency and was named an honorary G-man in 2009.
The actor also had a recurring role in the TV Western Maverick and starred in many films, including Too Much Too Soon, Wait Until Dark (opposite Audrey Hepburn), Airport 1975, and Hot Shots.
He returned to television in the 1990s, voicing Alfred the butler in the animated series Batman. That role, he told The Associated Press, “has made me an idol in my little grandchildren’s eyes.”