Robert Culp, star of television series “I Spy” and “The Greatest American Hero,” died after falling outside of his home in Hollywood on Wednesday (March 24).
The Los Angeles Times reports that Culp, 79, fell and hit his head while out for a walk in his neighborhood. A jogger discovered Culp and alerted authorities. The actor was pronounced dead shortly after his 11 a.m. arrival at Queen of Angels hospital in Los Angeles.
Lieutenant Bob Binder of the LAPD told the Times that Culp’s death was “accidental and there appears to be no sign of foul play.” An autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office is currently pending.
Although Culp first attained public attention in the late 1950s as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman on Western television series “Trackdown,” the actor’s big break came in 1965 when he landed the leading role of Kelly Robinson on “I Spy,” a TV series that ran for three seasons until 1968. The program focused on Culp’s character, an international tennis player, and his trainer, Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby). Both Robinson and Scott used their sports occupation as a cover story to disguise their real jobs working as secret agents for the United States government. The show achieved critical acclaim and both Culp and Cosby were nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Cosby won all three awards.
In 1981, Culp delivered a co-starring turn as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell on “The Greatest American Hero,” an ABC television series starring William Katt as an average teacher who developed superpowers after a chance encounter with extraterrestrials. Maxwell is assigned as the teacher’s new partner.
Recently, Culp held a recurring role on “Everybody Loves Raymond” as Warren Whelan, the father-in-law of Ray Romano’s character.
On film, Culp was best known for playing Bob in “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” a critically acclaimed 1969 comedy dealing with the notions of free love and open marriage. He appeared alongside fellow actors Elliott Gould, Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon.