Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
( b. Nov 30, 1918 New York, New York, USA - d. May 02, 2014 Solvang, California, USA ) Male
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was an actor whose mellifluous voice and air of European sophistication left a distinctive stamp on two popular television crime series. Mr. Zimbalist personified the suave and unflappable leading man as an Ivy League-educated private eye on the lighthearted "77 Sunset Strip" and as a stalwart agent who always got his man on "The F.B.I.," which ran for nine seasons and made him a household name. "The F.B.I." was unquestioning in its support of the agency it depicted, and both on screen and off, Mr. Zimbalist became its unofficial symbol.
Although he had some success in movies, big-screen stardom eluded him; he did his most memorable work on television, a medium he sometimes resented but always understood.
After graduating from prep school, Mr. Zimbalist attended Yale University, where he led the life of a bon vivant. He was expelled, reinstated and expelled again for low grades, and he amassed, by his account, thousands of dollars of debt at New Haven haberdasheries and gourmet shops.
He then worked as an NBC page (a fellow page was Thomas Merton, who would achieve literary fame after he became a Trappist monk) and studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where Gregory Peck was also a student.
In 1941, he enlisted in the Army. He received the Purple Heart after being wounded in the battle of Hürtgen Forest, on the German-Belgian border. After returning to New York, he made his Broadway debut in The Rugged Path, starring Spencer Tracy. Later roles included one opposite Eva Le Gallienne in Hedda Gabler.
Mr. Zimbalist augmented his budding stage career by producing three lyric operas by Gian Carlo Menotti. The double bill of The Medium and The Telephone was a popular success, and The Consul won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1950.
Source: The New York Times obituary