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American actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. dead at 95

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. passed away Friday from natural causes, he was 95 years of age. Best known for being a character actor on the silver screen and a star on the television. Zimbalist starred in such TV series as "77 Sunset Strip", "The F.B.I." and co-starred in theatrical films "Airport 1975", "Wait Until Dark", "Hot Shots" and "Band of Angels". He was also a stage actor who acted on Broadway from 1945 through 1950 and making a comeback in 1956.

Life and times of Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Photo by Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images

Born on November 30, 1918 in New York City, New York. He was the son of famed Russian concert violinist Efrem Zimbalist Sr. and Romanian opera singer Alma Gluck (nee Reba Feinsohn). Zimbalist briefly attended Yale before leaving to work in show business. During World War II he was drafted into the United States Army and was awarded a purple heart for being wounded in combat. After leaving the service, Zimbalist acted in Broadway before acting in a bit part in the film noir "House of Strangers".

During the fifties, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. acted in bit parts on television and film before landing the role of Dandy Jim Buckley on the T.V. series "Maverick". He would later star in his own series "77 Sunset Strip" as Stu Bailey and would find everlasting fame on the show "The F.B.I." as Inspector Lewis Eskine. Zimbalist would continue to make "guest star" appearances until he found a second career as a voice actor and worked on the animated series "Spider-Man", "New Batman Adventures", "Batman, the Animated Series" and "The Legend of Prince Valiant".

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was also active in politics. He was a conservative Republican who campaigned for Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Presidential elections, for Ronald Reagan's 1966 Gubernatorial elections, Gerald Ford in the 1976 Presidential Elections, Ronald Reagan in 1980 & 1984 Presidential Elections and Bruce Herschensohn's 1992 Senator's race in California. Zimbalist was also a staunch supporter of J. Edgar Hoover and during the run of "The F.B.I." he publicly defended the embattered F.B.I Director and in 2008 was awarded an honorary badge by the department.

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was the definitive television and character actor who later made the transition to voice actor in the twilight era of his career. He was also a conservative outspoken activist who didn't make any qualms about it. Zimbalist is survived by his daughter actress Stephanie Zimbalist (who also co-starred with his father on several episodes of Remington Steele) son Efrem Zimbalist III and daughter Nancy Zimbalist. To read more about Efrem Zimbalist Jr. please i,_Jr.

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