Thursday, March 25, 2010
Versatile 'I Spy' actor Robert Culp dies at 79
Posted by JPX
By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY
Robert Culp's leading-man looks and suave demeanor marked a varied six-decade film and television career, but he'll forever be remembered for his iconically hip '60s TV hit, I Spy.
Culp, 79, died Wednesday after hitting his head in a fall while walking outside his Hollywood home, his manager told the Associated Press.
The versatile Culp had more than 150 roles starting in 1953, including military officers, gunslingers and assorted bad guys. But the globe-trotting 1965-68 show I Spy helped make him a household name, as it did for Bill Cosby, the first African-American co-star of a TV drama series.
As Kelly Robinson, the debonair spy masquerading as a tennis pro, Culp received Emmy nominations three years straight. Each time, he lost to Cosby, whose cover was Robinson's trainer, Alexander Scott. (Culp was a gifted tennis player.)
Their characters had a sly, bantering relationship that extended off-screen. In a statement through spokesman David Brokaw, Cosby cited Culp's professionalism and enduring friendship, calling Culp "the big brother he never had."
Culp and Cosby co-starred in 1972 movie Hickey and Boggs, which Culp directed, and reunited in a 1987 episode of The Cosby Show. Though TV dominated his career, Culp's many movies included Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Hannie Caulder, PT 109 and The Pelican Brief (as the president).
Culp's quick wit led to stints on game shows such as Hollywood Squares, and he starred as an FBI agent in 1980s series The Greatest American Hero. His last recurring role was on Everybody Loves Raymondas Raymond's father-in-law.
[JPX] I, Spy is one of those shows that I've heard about all my life but never once has it ever been in re-runs in any place that I've lived. To this day I've never seen an episode. This is also the case for Space 1999.
at 4:50 AM