Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the star of the TV shows 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I., died yesterday of natural causes at his ranch in Solvang, California. His body was reportedly discovered by a handyman after he had been watering his grass.
Born on November 30, 1918, Zimbalist was the son of violinist Efrem Zimbalist Sr. and operatic soprano Alma Gluck. He studied violin for seven years, but eventually became more interested in acting. After being expelled from Yale, he enlisted in the Army during the Second World War, receiving a Purple Heart after being wounded at the battle of Hürtgen Forest. He appeared in numerous movies, but was best known for his television roles, including starring roles on 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I., the latter show being made in consultation with the real F.B.I. and its director J. Edgar Hoover. Zimbalist would afterwards maintain a friendship with Hoover. Being politically conservative, he made appearances on behalf of GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and was also a longtime friend of another actor, Ronald Reagan. In his later years, he provided the voice of the butler Alfred in a cartoon version of Batman and had a recurring role on Remington Steele, which starred his daughter Stephanie.
Zimbalist was married and widowed twice, first to Emily McNair and then to Loranda Stephanie Spaulding. With McNair, who died of cancer in 1950, he had two children, Nancy (who also died of cancer) and Efrem III. Spaulding was the mother of their daughter Stephanie. Besides his two living children, Zimbalist is also survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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