Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (November 30, 1918 - May 2, 2014) was a Golden Globe-winning 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 from the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, and Justin Hammer from the second season of 1994 Iron Man animated series.
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was born in New York, New York, the son of Jewish parents--Russian-born violinist Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. and Romanian-born operatic soprano Alma Gluck. His stepmother was Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, the founder of the Curtis Institute of Music. He attended Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts.
Zimbalist attended Yale University in the late 1930s, worked as a page for NBC radio in New York, and served in the United States Army for five years during World War II, where he became friends with Garson Kanin. 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 an 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.
Warner Bros. star:
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; 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 not only made several concurrent appearances in other Warner Bros. television shows such as Hawaiian Eye, The Alaskans and Bronco, but 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 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".
The F.B.I. television series:
Zimbalist was arguably 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 ended with 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 Zimbalist on the show were equally admiring of the star's professionalism and likable personality.
Zimbalist maintained a strong personal relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, who requested technical accuracy for the show, and that agents be portrayed in the best possible light. Actors who played F.B.I. employees were required by Hoover to undergo a background check. Zimbalist passed his background check with ease. He subsequently spent a week in Washington, D.C., where he was interviewed by Hoover, and at the F.B.I. academy in Quantico, Virginia. Hoover and Zimbalist remained mutual admirers for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover would later hold Zimbalist up as an image role model for F.B.I. employees to emulate in their 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. On June 8, 2009 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Zimbalist with a plaque of an honorary special agent for his work on the television series The F.B.I., on which he worked in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his friend J. Edgar Hoover. The run of the show on ABC was followed in the 1980s by a revival show, Today's FBI with Zimbalist returning as Erskine.
Other television work:
After 77 Sunset Strip, he appeared in other series, including CBS's short-lived The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as a 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, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. 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, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and 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 penned 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.
Personal life and religion:
Efrem Zimbalist married his first wife, Emily Munroe McNair, in 1945 and she died of cancer five years later, in 1950. Zimbalist's second marriage was to Loranda Stephanie Spaulding, in 1956. She died of lung cancer on February 5, 2007, at the age of 73. Zimbalist was the father of Efrem Zimbalist III and Nancy Zimbalist (by Emily McNair) and actress Stephanie Zimbalist (by Stephanie Spaulding).
Zimbalist considered himself to be a man of abiding faith and was involved in a number of Christian media productions. His parents, Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist, Sr., were assimilated non-practicing Jews who rejected their Jewish heritage. Efrem Sr. was raised in a non-practicing household and would later state, "As far as I am concerned, there has been no Jew in the family for sixty-five years." Alma and Efrem Sr. had their children baptized Christians in the Episcopal Church and raised them in that church. Efrem Jr. stated that he was taken to church every Sunday and attended St. Paul's School, an Episcopal boarding school in New Hampshire. He also attended church every Sunday with his first wife, and it was his faith which allowed him peace when she succumbed to cancer. A spiritual pilgrim, Zimbalist was an early practitioner and proponent of Transcendental Meditation, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He described the Maharishi Yogi as a "fascinating character", but found that his nine-year association with the meditation method "... was a total waste of energy for me." He returned to the Episcopal Church for a time. In the late 1970s, Zimbalist was drawn to the Charismatic Christianity he found on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Efrem's face and voice has appeared on scores of TBN announcements, including the station identification at the top of every hour. In a five-minute segment called "The Word", which aired on TBN at 25 after the hour, Zimbalist read through the entire Bible, verse by verse; later these segments appeared in interludes and station breaks on TBN. He once told a reporter in 1989 "for a while I did go overboard in my association with a fundamentalist group", but never made a verbal association with any ministry. As of July 2014, his voice is still used as a TBN network identification. Eventually, he resumed active participation in the Episcopal Church, feeling comfortable with that denominational style.
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.
Zimbalist died on May 2, 2014 from natural causes at the age of 95. His daughter Stephanie announced the news, saying, "He was 95 years old, a devout Christian. He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends." His interment was at Town Hill Cemetery in New Hartford, Connecticut, near his parents.
Nov 10, 1945
Jan 19, 1946
The Rugged Path
Nov 6, 1946
Feb 21, 1947
King Henry VIII
Duke of Suffolk
Nov 8, 1946
Feb 15, 1947
What Every Woman Knows
A Butler, Ensemble
Dec 19, 1946
Feb 22, 1947
A Pound on Demand, Androcles and the Lion
Feb 27, 1947
Mar 15, 1947
May 1, 1947
Nov 1, 1947
Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Feb 24, 1948
Mar 6, 1948
Dec 7, 1948
Jan 9, 1949
Dec 7, 1948
Jan 9, 1949
Mar 15, 1950
Nov 4, 1950
Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Jan 17, 1956
Aug 11, 1956
Oct 16, 2004
Nov 7, 2004
Night of the Iguana
Rubicon Theatre Company
Apr 26, 2007
May 20, 2007
The Player King
Rubicon Theatre Company
Film and television:
Mr. and Mrs. North
House of Strangers
Concerning Miss Marlowe
TV series, episode: "The Long View"
United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel Hour
TV series, episode "Stopover at Sublimity"
TV series, episodes: "Execution Night",
and "Anything For Money"
Band of Angels
Lt. Ethan Sears
Colonel Jim Herlihy
Dandy Jim Buckley
TV series, episodes: "Stampede" (1957), "Trail West to Fury", "High Card Hangs", "The Jail at Junction Flats" and "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" (all 1958)
Deep Six, TheThe Deep Six
Too Much, Too Soon
Girl on the Run
Pilot for TV series 77 Sunset Strip
Kerrigan the Great
TV series, episode: "The Wizard"
Home Before Dark
Jacob 'Jake' Diamond
77 Sunset Strip
TV series, episodes: "Malahini Holiday" and "Three Tickets to Lani" (both 1959), "I Wed Three Wives" (1960) and "Blackmail in Satin" (1962)
Alaskans, TheThe Alaskans
TV series, episode: "The Trial of Reno McKee"
Crowded Sky, TheThe Crowded Sky
Fever in the Blood, AA Fever in the Blood
Judge Leland Hoffman
By Love Possessed
TV series, episode: "The Prince of Darkness"
Chapman Report, TheThe Chapman Report
TV series, episode: "The Phony"
Charles de Foucauld
TV series, episode: "The Hermit"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
TV series, episode: "The Sojourner"
Alfred Hitchcock Hour, TheThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour
TV series, episode: "See the Monkey Dance"
Reporter, TheThe Reporter
TV series, episode: "Super-Star"
TV series, episode: "Stranger in My Shoes"
TV series, episode: "The Diehard"
Reward, TheThe Reward
F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I.
Inspector Lewis Erskine
TV series, 241 episodes
TV series, episode: "The Coffee House"
Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the F.B.I.
Inspector Lewis Erskine
Wait Until Dark
TV series, episode: "He Lived With Us, Ate With Us, What Else, Dear?"
TV series, episode: "The Day God Died"
TV series, episode: "When You See Arcturus"
Who Is the Black Dahlia?
Sgt. Harry Hansen
Family Upside Down, AA Family Upside Down
Terror Out of the Sky
Best Place to Be, TheThe Best Place to Be
Gathering, Part II, TheThe Gathering, Part II
TV series, episode: "Checkmate"
TV series, episode: "A Family of Winners"
Avenging, TheThe Avenging
Beyond Witch Mountain
Family in Blue
TV series, episode: "The Hit Man"
Tempest, TheThe Tempest
Col. Francis Chesney
TV series, episode: "The Butler's Affair/Roarke's Sacrifice"
TV series, episode: "Sting of Steele"
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat
TV series, episode: "Polly's Poker Palace, Parts 1 and 2"
Hardcastle and McCormick
TV series, episode: "The Georgia Street Motors"
Partners in Crime
TV series, episode: "Murder in the Museum"
TV series, episode: "Writer's Block"
TV series, episode: "Blue Blooded Steele"
TV series, episode: "Flesh and Blood"
You Are the Jury
TV series: "The Case of the People of Florida v Joseph Lamdrum"
Finder of Lost Loves
Judge Alex Hale
TV series, episode: "Mister Wonderful"
TV series, episode: "Steele Searching, Part 2"
You Are the Jury
TV series, episode: "The State of Arizona v Dr. Evan Blake"
TV series, episodes: "Opening Moves", "Queen's Gambit", "Enemies Within", "Double Jeopardy", "Hornet's Nest", "Undercurrents" and "Forsaking All Others"
TV series, episode: "Steeled With a Kiss, Parts 1 and 2"
TV series, episode: "Power Play"
TV series, episode: "Murder He Wrote"
Murder, She Wrote
TV series, episode: "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel"
Don Alejandro de la Vega
TV series, 25 episodes
Murder, She Wrote
Richard Thompson Grant
TV series, episode: "Hannigan's Wake"
Who's the Boss?
TV series, episode: "Operation Mona"
Murder, She Wrote
TV series, episode: "Sugar, Spice, Malice and Vice"
Legend of Prince Valiant, TheThe Legend of Prince Valiant
King Arthur (voice)
TV series, 53 episodes
Batman: The Animated Series
TV series, 57 episodes
Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Major Motion Picture (Movie)
TV series, episode: "Who Killed the Legal Eagle?"
Nanny, TheThe Nanny
TV series, episode: "Material Fran"
Street Corner Kids: The Sequel, TheThe Street Corner Kids: The Sequel
Biker Mice from Mars
TV series, episode: "Knights of the Round Table, Parts 1 and 2"
One West Waikiki
TV series, episode: "Flowers of Evil"
TV series, episode: "Revelations"
TV series, episodes: "The Armor Wars: Part 1 & 2", "The Beast Within"
Dr. Octopus/Dr. Otto Octavius
TV series, 11 episodes
TV series, episode: "Forget Selma"
Dr. Denton P. Hookerman
TV series, episode: "Zap Attack"
TV series, episodes: "Conflicts of Interest", "Moments of Transition", "Exercise of Vital Powers", "The Face of the Enemy"
Visitor, TheThe Visitor
TV series, episode: "Miracles"
New Batman Adventures, TheThe New Batman Adventures
Superman: The Animated Series
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest, TheThe Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, TheThe Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
animated short film
First Day, TheThe First Day
TV series, episodes: "Hereafter Part 1", Starcrossed Part 2 & 3"
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
Delivery, TheThe Delivery
Television appearances as self:
What About Linda?
March of Dimes fund raising program
November 2, 1962
Episode: "Angie Dickinson vs. Efrem Zimbalist Jr."
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, TheThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
February 16, 1972
30th Primetime Emmy Awards
Anita Bryant Spectacular, TheThe Anita Bryant Spectacular
38th Primetime Emmy Awards
Hot Shots: The Making of an Important Movie
Gemstones of America
Year to Remember, AA Year to Remember
Batman: Behind the Mystery
Brothers Warner, TheThe Brothers Warner
^ "'FBI Agent' Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Remembered as Staunch Conservative". Newsmax.com. May 3, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014. ,
^ Malan, Roy (May 2004). Efrem Zimbalist: A Life. Amadeus Press. p. 1. ISBN 1-57467-091-3. ,
^ Marston Records bio of Alma Gluck,
^ 1922-Year Radio's Population Soared-Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.'s parents at radio station WSB, Atlanta, in 1922 (PDF). Broadcasting. May 14, 1962. p. 119. Retrieved March 6, 2014. (PDF),
^ Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., My Dinner of Herbs, Limelight Editions, 2004.,
^ Etter, Jonathan (2008). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. McFarland. pp. 62-87. ISBN 978-0-7864-3867-9. ,
^ Kessler, Ronald (2003). The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI. St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 399. ISBN 978-0-312-98977-4. ,
^ "Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Inc.". Retrieved 15 July 2010. ,
^ Robert S. Mueller, III (8 June 2009). "Presentation of Honorary Special Agent Badge to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.Los Angeles, California". Retrieved 15 July 2010. ,
^ "Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. honored by FBI". Associated Press. 9 June 2009. ,
^ TBN - Trinity Broadcasting Network,
^ Gemstones of America,
^ USA TODAY,
^ Malan, Roy (2004). Efrem Zimbalist: A Life. Amadeus Press. pp. 139-142. ISBN 978-1-57467-091-2. ,
^ Stanford, Monty (2008). "EZimablist Jr". Christus Rex 1 (5). ,
^ Silversten, Linda (1998). Lives Charmed: Intimate Conversations with Extraordinary People. HCI. pp. 173-194. ISBN 978-1-55874-593-3. ,
^ Jeannie, Pugh (23 April 1979). "Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Revitalized His Faith Through Christian TV". St. Petersburg Times. ,
^ Bruce Boland (2009-10-20). "emails from the public 2009 (kept for station FCC license renewal)" (PDF). Trinity Broadcasting Network. p. 19. Retrieved 2014-09-20. ,
^ Mary Evertz, "At 65 Still a Sex Symbol: Veteran Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. is Back on Stage," St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, May 26, 1989.,
^ "The Impact of the Draft Goldwater Committee on the Republican Party". ashbrook.org(archive.org). Retrieved 2013-08-24. ,
^ Statement from Stephanie Zimbalist and Efrem Zimbalist III,
^ "The Rugged Path". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ Monush 2003, p. 816.,
^ "King Henry VIII". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "What Every Woman Knows". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "A Pound on Demand / Androcles and the Lion". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "Yellow Jack". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "The Telephone/The Medium". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "Hedda Gable". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "The Telephone". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "The Medium". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "The Consul". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ "Fallen Angels". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 1 June 2014. ,
^ Roberts 2009, p. 90.,
^ Terrace 2011, p. 1011.,
^ Terrace 2013a, p. 15.,
^ Terrace 2013, pp. 121-122.,
^ Marill 2011, p. 57.,
^ Neibaur 2004, p. 178.,
^ Terrace 2013, p. 79.,
^ Roberts 2009, p. 383.,
^ Coursen 2010, p. 127.,
^ Terrace 2013b, p. 90.,
^ Abbott 2009, p. 165.,
^ Terrace 2013a, p. 331.,
^ Garcia & Phillips 2012, p. 21.,
^ Terrace 2013b, p. 33.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license