Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the elegant actor with the mellifluous baritone, is best remembered for his role on the TV program “77 Sunset Strip.”
The son of early 20th century violinist Efrem Zimbalist and acclaimed opera singer Alma Gluck, he made his debut on Broadway shortly after World War II in the "The Rugged Path," starring Spencer Tracy and directed by an Army pal, Garson Kanin.
Placed under a seven-year contract at Warner Bros. in 1956, Zimbalist appeared in several films, including "Bombers B-52," "Band of Angels" and "Too Much, Too Soon" before the studio cast in him "77 Sunset Strip."
Zimbalist costarred as the suave private eye Stuart Bailey, a former secret agent and language expert, on "77 Sunset Strip."
The hourlong, Los Angeles-set show costarred Roger Smith as Bailey's partner, Jeff Spencer, and Edd Byrnes as "Kookie," the hip-talking, hair-combing young parking lot attendant at Dino's, the restaurant next door to Bailey and Spencer's detective agency on Sunset Boulevard.
A top-10 hit in its second season, "77 Sunset Strip" ran from 1958 to 1964.
Later, he starred as the buttoned-down Inspector Lewis Erskine on "The F.B.I." The series based its storylines on real FBI files.
J. Edgar Hoover — who allowed some background scenes to be filmed at FBI headquarters in Washington — was a supportive fan. The popular series ran on ABC from 1965 to 1974, despite an initially tough time slot opposite "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
Among Zimbalist's film credits are "By Love Possessed" (1961), "The Chapman Report" (1962), "Harlow" (1965), "Wait Until Dark" (1967), "Airport 1975" (1974) and "Hot Shots!" (1991).
In the 1980s, he had a recurring role as Daniel Chalmers on his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist's TV series "Remington Steele" and played Charles Cabot on "Hotel." In the early '90s, he played Don Alejandro de la Vega in "Zorro" on the Family Channel.
Zimbalist died May 2, 2014, at his home in Solvang, Calif. He was 95.