'F.B.I.' actor Efrem Zimbalist dies in California: reports

Sat May 3, 2014 2:52am EDT
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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) - Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who portrayed the indefatigable Inspector Lewis Erskine on the long-running U.S. television series "The F.B.I.", died on Friday at the age of 95, according to media reports.

Zimbalist died at his home in Solvang, California, his daughter, actress Stephanie Zimbalist, and his son Efrem Zimbalist III, said in a statement, Hollywood trade magazine Variety and other media reported.

"A devout Christian, he actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf, and visiting with close friends," the statement said, according to Variety.

A spokesman for the family could not be immediately reached for comment.

From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, Zimbalist was one of the top stars on U.S. television, playing a private detective on the ABC series "77 Sunset Strip" from 1958 to 1964 before his stint on "The F.B.I." on the same network from 1965 to 1974.

Zimbalist, the son of opera singer Alma Gluck and concert violinist Efrem Zimbalist Sr., also appeared in about 20 movies - usually in supporting roles but sometimes as the leading man.

He was born on Nov. 30, 1918, in New York and saw U.S. Army combat duty during World War Two.

During its nine seasons on the air, "The F.B.I." dramatized the Federal Bureau of Investigation as its agents solved murders, kidnappings and bank heists. Its episodes - inspired by real cases - required FBI approval.   Continued...