Died: May 2, 2014 (at age 95)
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Efrem Aleksandrovich Zimbalist Jr. (November 30, 1918 - May 2, 2014) was an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. He is also known as recurring character "Dandy Jim Buckley" in the series Maverick and as the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and associated spin-offs. He also voiced Doctor Octopus in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series and the 2000 PC, Dreamcast and PlayStation Spider-Man action-adventure video game, and Justin Hammer from the second season of the 1994 Iron Man animated series.Zimbalist was born in 1918 in New York City to Jewish immigrants Efrem Zimbalist Sr. (1889-1985), a Russian-born violinist, and Alma Gluck (1884-1938), a Romanian-born operatic soprano. He had an older sister, Mary (1915-2008), along with a half-sister from his mother's first marriage, author Marcia Davenport (1903-1996). His stepmother was Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, the founder of the Curtis Institute of Music. Both parents converted to Anglican Christianity. He attended Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts.
Zimbalist boarded at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, taking part in school plays. He briefly attended Yale University but was expelled, reinstated and expelled a second time on account of low grades. He moved back to New York City in 1936 to work as a page for NBC radio where he had small on-air roles as well as presenting shows. He furthered his acting training at Neighborhood Playhouse before serving in the United States Army during World War II, where he became friends with writer and director Garson Kanin. After five years of service, he was awarded the Purple Heart for a leg wound received during the battle of Hürtgen Forest.
Following the war, Zimbalist returned to New York and made his Broadway acting debut in The Rugged Path, starring Spencer Tracy. This led to a stage career as both actor and producer. His producing successes included bringing three Gian Carlo Menotti operas to Broadway, one of which, The Consul, won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1950.
In 1954-1955, he co-starred in his first television series, Concerning Miss Marlowe.
In 1956, Zimbalist was put under contract by Warner Bros. and moved to Hollywood. Zimbalist's first recurring role in a Warner Bros. Television series was as roguish gambler "Dandy Jim Buckley" on Maverick, opposite James Garner in 1957, and making five appearances as the character. In 1958, Zimbalist played the co-lead Stuart "Stu" Bailey in 77 Sunset Strip, a popular detective series running until 1964. During this period, he made several concurrent appearances in other Warner Bros. television shows, such as Hawaiian Eye, The Alaskans, and Bronco. He also starred as the lead in several feature films for Warners, such as Bombers B-52, The Deep Six, A Fever in the Blood and The Chapman Report. Zimbalist was in such demand that he was given leave by Jack L. Warner due to exhaustion from his busy schedule.
Jack Warner lent him to Columbia Pictures for By Love Possessed in exchange for adding several years to his Warners' contract, but refused to let him make BUtterfield 8 for MGM.
In 1959, he was awarded the Golden Globe for "Most Promising Newcomer - Male".
Zimbalist was most widely known for his starring role as Inspector Lewis Erskine in the Quinn Martin television production The F.B.I., which premiered on September 19, 1965 and aired its final episode on September 8, 1974. Zimbalist was generous in his praise of producer Martin and of his own experience starring in the show. Those who worked with him were equally admiring of the star's professionalism and likable personality.
Zimbalist maintained a strong personal relationship with F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover, who requested that the show be technically accurate and portray his agents in the best possible light, and he insisted actors playing F.B.I. employees undergo a background check. Zimbalist subsequently spent a week in contact with Hoover in Washington, D.C. and at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The men remained mutual admirers for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover held up Zimbalist as a model for F.B.I. employees' personal appearance.
The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation honored the character of Lewis Erskine in 1985 with a set of retired credentials, and on June 8, 2009 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Zimbalist with a plaque honoring him for his work on the series.
The show was revived in the 1980's as Today's FBI starring Mike Connors.
After 77 Sunset Strip he appeared in other series, including CBS's short-lived The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as journalist Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe. He also appeared in leading and supporting roles in several feature films, including Harlow, A Fever in the Blood (a film about a ruthless politician), Wait Until Dark and Airport 1975.
Zimbalist had a recurring role as Daniel Chalmers, a white-collar con man, on his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist's 1980s television detective series Remington Steele, and in the television dramatic series Hotel.
In 1990, he played the father of Zorro in the Christian Broadcasting Network's remake, The New Zorro. Zimbalist relinquished the role after the program's first season due to the filming at studios outside Madrid, Spain, and the role subsequently went to Henry Darrow. He had a small recurring role in the 1990s hit science fiction television series Babylon 5 as William Edgars.
Also in the 1990s, Zimbalist played Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series as well as in Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League, Static Shock, and the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman; he also played villain Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. He appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and as himself in the 1998 Smithsonian Institution production of Gemstones of America. He performed as the narrator in "Good Morning, America" by Elinor Remick Warren—Cambria CD #1042 (1993).
Zimbalist wrote an autobiography, My Dinner of Herbs, published by Limelight Editions, New York.
In 2008, he appeared in the short film The Delivery, where he played a professor who helps a young girl in her struggles for literacy. The film won first place in fantasy at the Dragon*Con Film Festival and was an official selection at the Los Angeles International Children's Festival and the Reel Women International Film Festival in 2009.
In December 1941, Zimbalist married his first wife, Emily Munroe McNair. They had two children, Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III (b. 1947) and Nancy (1944 - 2012). In January 1950, Emily died from cancer.
In 1956, Zimbalist married Loranda Stephanie Spalding (Stephanie). Their daughter is the actress Stephanie Zimbalist. On February 5, 2007, aged 73, Loranda Stephanie Zimbalist née Spalding died from lung cancer.
Before joining the congregation of an Episcopal church, he appeared in a number of evangelical Christian media productions. Zimbalist's parents, Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist, were of Jewish descent but on emigrating to America, had left the religion. Moreover, Efrem Zimbalist stated, "As far as I am concerned, there has been no Jew in the family for sixty-five years."
Zimbalist was baptized in the Episcopal Church. He said that when growing up he was taken to church every Sunday. He attended St. Paul's School, an Episcopal boarding school in New Hampshire. Zimbalist said his faith gave him comfort when Emily died.
He had a nine-year association with the practice of Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Zimbalist described the Maharishi Yogi as a "fascinating character", but found the meditation method "... was a total waste of energy for me."
In the late 1970s, he was drawn to the Charismatic Christianity movement. His first association was with Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker's PTL Club. For several years, he was a member of the PTL board.
The PTL's principal televangelistic successor, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). engaged Zimbalist to make its many announcements including the station's identification at the top of every hour. In a five-minute segment called "The Word" aired on TBN at 25 minutes after the hour, Zimbalist read a bible verse, eventually completing the entire Bible, verse by verse. In 1989, he said, "for a while I did go overboard in my association with a fundamentalist group".
In later life, Zimbalist joined the congregation of an Episcopal parish near to his home.
In 1963 and 1964, Zimbalist joined fellow actors William Lundigan, Chill Wills and Walter Brennan in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate, in his election campaign against U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson."The Impact of the Draft Goldwater Committee on the Republican Party". ashbrook.org. Archived from the original on March 3, 2001. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
Zimbalist died at the age of 95 on May 2, 2014, from natural causes.
|1949||House of Strangers||Tony Monetti||Film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz|||
|1957||Band of Angels||Lt. Ethan Sears||Romantic drama film directed by Raoul Walsh.|||
|Bombers B-52||Colonel Jim Herlihy||CinemaScope film directed by Gordon Douglas.|||
|1958||The Deep Six||Lt. Blanchard||World War II drama film directed by Rudolph Maté, loosely based on a novel of the same name by Martin Dibner.|||
|Too Much, Too Soon||Vincent Bryant||Biographical film directed by Art Napoleon.|||
|Violent Road||George Lawrence||Remake of The Wages of Fear and directed by Howard W. Koch.|||
|Girl on the Run||Stuart Bailey|
|Home Before Dark||Jacob 'Jake' Diamond||Drama film directed and produced by Mervyn LeRoy.|||
|1960||The Crowded Sky||Dale Heath||Drama film directed by Joseph Pevney.||[Note 1]|
|1961||A Fever in the Blood||Judge Leland Hoffman||Drama film directed by Vincent Sherman.|||
|By Love Possessed||Arthur Winner||Drama film directed by John Sturges.|||
|1962||The Chapman Report||Paul Radford||Drama film directed by George Cukor.|||
|1965||Harlow||William Mansfield||Fictionalized drama based on the life of film star Jean Harlow directed by Alex Segal.|||
|The Reward||Frank Bryant||Western film directed by Serge Bourguignon.|||
|1967||Wait Until Dark||Sam Hendrix||Psychological thriller film directed by Terence Young.|||
|1974||Airport 1975||Captain Stacy||Air disaster film and the first sequel to the successful 1970 film Airport and directed by Jack Smight.|||
|1982||The Avenging||Jacob Anderson||Drama film written and directed by Lyman Dayton.|||
|1991||Hot Shots!||Wilson||Comedy spoof film of Top Gun directed and co-written by Jim Abrahams.|||
|1993||Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul||Narrator||Documentary film directed and written by Gregory Orr.|
|Batman: Mask of the Phantasm||Alfred Pennyworth||
|1995||The Street Corner Kids: The Sequel||Makenzie||Family film directed and written by Margaret Raphael.|
|1998||Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero||Alfred Pennyworth||Voice, Direct-to-video superhero animated feature film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Boyd Kirkland.|||
|1999||The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man||Dr. Octopus||Animated short film directed and co-written by Scott Trowbridge.|
|2003||Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman||Alfred Pennyworth||Voice, Direct-to-video animated film directed by Curt Geda.|||
|2008||The Delivery||Dr. Engel||Short film directed and written by Gabrielle DeCuir., (final film role)|
|1946||Mr. and Mrs. North||Star||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|1954-1955||Concerning Miss Marlowe||Jim Gavin||Contract role|||
|1956||Star Tonight||Guest||Episode: "The Long View" (S 2:Ep 42)|||
|The United States Steel Hour||Sean O'Neill||Episode "Stopover at Sublimity" (S 3:Ep 30)|||
|1957-1958||Maverick||Dandy Jim Buckley||Recurring|
|1958||Girl on the Run||Stuart Bailey||Made-for-TV-Movie (Pilot for TV series 77 Sunset Strip) airing on ABC and directed by Richard L. Bare.|||
|Sugarfoot||Kerrigan the Great||Episode: "The Wizard" (S 2: Ep 3)|
|1958-1964||77 Sunset Strip||Stuart Bailey||Contract role; 163 episodes|||
|1959-1962||Hawaiian Eye||Stuart Bailey||Recurring|
|1960||The Alaskans||John Conrad||Episode: "The Trial of Reno McKee" (S 1: Ep 14)|
|1961||Person to Person||Himself||Episode:"August 11, 1961" (S 8:Ep 19)|
|Bronco||Edwin Booth||Episode: "The Prince of Darkness" (S 4: Ep 2)|||
|What About Linda?||Himself||March of Dimes fund raising program|
|1962||Here's Hollywood||Himself||November 2, 1962|
|1964||The Hollywood Palace||Himself||Episode: "Host: Efrem Zimbalist Jr." (S 1: Ep 9)|
|Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Paul Radford||Episode: "The Sojourner" (S 1: Ep 26)|||
|The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Stranger||Episode: "See the Monkey Dance" (S 3: Ep 5)|
|The Reporter||Charles Durwood||Episode: "Super-Star" (S 1: Ep 9)|
|1965||Rawhide||Jeff McKeever||Episode: "The Diehard" (S 7: Ep 25)|
|Password All-Stars||Himself||Episode: "Angie Dickinson vs. Efrem Zimbalist Jr."|
|1965-1974||The F.B.I.||Inspector Lewis Erskine||Contract role; 241 episodes|||
|1967||Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the F.B.I.||Inspector Lewis Erskine (archive footage)||Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Don Medford.|||
|Insight||Byron||Episode: "Stranger In My Shoes" (S 7:Ep 37)|
|1969||Jim||Episode: "The Coffee House" (S 9: Ep 38)|
|1970||Bergman||Episode: "The Day God Died" (S 10: Ep 25)|
|Don Ford||Episode: "He Lived With Us, Ate With Us, What Else, Dear?" (S 10: Ep 33)|
|Charles de Foucauld||Episode: "The Hermit" (S 10: Ep 43)|
|1972||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Himself||February 16, 1972|
|1974||Insight||Guest||Episode: "When You See Arcturus" (S 14: Ep 21)|
|1975||Who Is the Black Dahlia?||Sgt. Harry Hansen||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|1978||A Family Upside Down||Mike Long||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|Terror Out of the Sky||David Martin||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|30th Primetime Emmy Awards||Himself||Presenter|
|1979||The Best Place to Be||Bill Reardan||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|The Gathering, Part II||Victor Wainwright||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|Insight||God||Episode: "Checkmate" (S 20: Ep 11)|
|Guest||Episode: "A Family of Winners" (S 20: Ep 12)|
|The Anita Bryant Spectacular||Himself|||
|1982||Beyond Witch Mountain||Aristotle Bolt||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|Family in Blue||Marty Malone||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|1983||Insight||Guest||Episode: "The Hit Man" (S 24: Ep 5)|
|Fantasy Island||Mr. Baldwin||Episode: "The Butler's Affair/Roarke's Sacrifice" (S 7: Ep 5)|
|Charley's Aunt||Col. Francis Chesney||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|Baby Sister||Tom Burroughs||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|Shooting Stars||Robert Cluso||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|1983-87||Remington Steele||Daniel Chalmers||Recurring|||
|1984||The Love Boat||Dan Whitman||Episode: "Polly's Poker Palace, Parts 1 and 2" (S 7: Ep 19 & S 7: Ep 20)|
|Hardcastle and McCormick||Emmett Parnell||Episode: "The Georgia Street Motors" (S 1:Ep 18)|||
|Partners in Crime||Grant Latham||Episode: "Murder in the Museum" (S 1: Ep 19)|
|Hotel||Alexander Heath||Episode: "Flesh and Blood" (S 2: Ep 2)|||
|Cover Up||E.G. Dawson||Episode: "Writer's Block" (S 1: Ep 9)|
|You Are the Jury||Narrator||Episode: "The Case of the People of Florida v Joseph Lamdrum"|||
|1985||Finder of Lost Loves||Judge Alex Hale||Episode: "Mister Wonderful" (S 1: Ep 19)|
|1986||38th Primetime Emmy Awards||Himself||Presenter: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special|
|You Are the Jury||Narrator||Episode: "The State of Arizona v Dr. Evan Blake"|||
|1988||Hunter||Clarence Hyland||Episode: "Murder He Wrote" (S 4: Ep 21)|
|Murder, She Wrote||Gen. Havermeyer||Episode: "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel" (S 5: Ep 7)|
|1990||Zorro||Don Alejandro de la Vega||Contract role; 25 episodes|||
|Who's the Boss?||Robert Robinson||Episode: "Operation Mona" (S 6: Ep 22)|
|Murder, She Wrote||Richard Thompson Grant||Episode: "Hannigan's Wake" (S 7: Ep 4)|
|1991||Hot Shots: The Making of an Important Movie||Himself|
|1992||Murder, She Wrote||Adam Quatrain||Episode: "Sugar, Spice, Malice and Vice" (S 9: Ep 7)|
|1992-1993||The Legend of Prince Valiant||King Arthur (voice)||Contract role; 53 episodes|
|1992-1995||Batman: The Animated Series||Alfred||Contract role; 57 episodes|||
|1993||Trade Winds||Christof Philips||Miniseries|||
|Burke's Law||Sam Gallagher||Episode: "Who Killed the Legal Eagle?" (S 1: Ep 9)|
|Heaven Help Us||Lexy's Dad||Episode: "A Little Left of Heaven (Pilot) (S 1:Ep 1)|
|The Nanny||Theodore Timmons||Episode: "Material Fran" (S 2: Ep 4)|
|1995||Biker Mice from Mars||King Arthur||Episode: "Knights of the Round Table, Parts 1 and 2" (S 3: Ep 1 & S 3: Ep 2)|
|One West Waikiki||Walter Mansfield||Episode: "Flowers of Evil" (S 2: Ep 1)|
|Gargoyles||Mace Malone||Episode: "Revelations" (S 2: Ep 16)|
|Iron Man||Justin Hammer||Recurring|
|1995-1997||Spider-Man||Dr. Octopus/Dr. Otto Octavius||Recurring|
|1996||Picket Fences||Hal Klosterman||Episode: "Forget Selma" (S 4: Ep 18)|
|Mighty Ducks||Dr. Denton P. Hookerman||Episode: "Zap Attack" (S 1: Ep 4)|
|1997||Babylon 5||William Edgars||Recurring|||
|The Visitor||Wayland Scott||Episode: "Miracles" (S 1: Ep 11)|
|Superman: The Animated Series||Alfred Pennyworth||Episode: "World's Finest, part 3" (S 2: Ep 18)|||
|1997-1998||The New Batman Adventures||Alfred Pennyworth||Recurring|||
|1998||Gemstones of America||Himself||Host|
|The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest||Alfred Pennyworth||Animated Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Toshihiko Masuda.|||
|1999||A Year to Remember||Himself||Host|
|2001||The First Day||Benjamin Hart||Made-for-TV-Movie|||
|2003||Static Shock||Alfred Pennyworth||Episode: "Hard as Nails" (S 3: Ep 1)|||
|Justice League||Alfred Pennyworth||Episode: "Hereafter, Part 1" (S 2: Ep 19)|||
|Batman: Behind the Mystery||Himself|
|Justice League||Alfred Pennyworth||Episodes:
|2007||The Brothers Warner||Himself||Historical film directed by Cass Warner (credited as Cass Warner Sperling).|||
|1993||Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers||Wolfgang||Video game|
|2000||Spider-Man||Dr. Octopus||Video game|
|2001||Batman: Vengeance||Alfred Pennyworth||Video game|||
|1983||The Tempest||Prospero||Directed by William Woodman.|||
|Opening date||Closing date||Title||Role||Theatre||Refs|
|Nov 10, 1945||Jan 19, 1946||The Rugged Path||Gil Hartnick||Plymouth|||
|Nov 6, 1946||Feb 21, 1947||King Henry VIII||Duke of Suffolk||International Theatre|||
|Nov 8, 1946||Feb 15, 1947||What Every Woman Knows||A Butler, Ensemble||International Theatre|||
|Dec 19, 1946||Feb 22, 1947||A Pound on Demand
Androcles and the Lion
|Feb 27, 1947||Mar 15, 1947||Yellow Jack||Aristides Agramonte||International Theatre|||
|May 1, 1947||Nov 1, 1947||The Telephone
|(producer)||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|||
|Feb 24, 1948||Mar 6, 1948||Hedda Gabler||Eilert Lovborg||Cort Theatre|||
|Dec 7, 1948||Jan 9, 1949||The Telephone||(producer)||City Center|||
|Dec 7, 1948||Jan 9, 1949||The Medium||(producer)||City Center|||
|Mar 15, 1950||Nov 4, 1950||The Consul||(producer)||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|||
|Jan 17, 1956||Aug 11, 1956||Fallen Angels||Maurice Duclos||Playhouse|||
|Oct 16, 2004||Nov 7, 2004||Night of the Iguana||Nonno||Rubicon Theatre Company|
|Apr 26, 2007||May 20, 2007||Hamlet||The Player King||Rubicon Theatre Company|