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celebrity news

Remembering Robert Culp

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Earlier today an accomplished American actor of modest television fame went out for a walk in the neighborhood surrounding his Hollywood home. Sometime during his walk he collapsed to the ground, perhaps striking his head as he fell. He was eventually discovered by a jogger who then notified authorities, who them transported him to a medical facility.

Shortly before noon that man, Robert Culp, was pronounced deceased, the cause of death listed as a heart attack. He was 79-years-old.

I first discovered who Robert Culp was when his name appeared on the opening credits to The Greatest American Hero, sitting on a slab of concrete steps and firing his gun at a car speeding away off-screen. The Greatest American Hero was an early 1980s ABC action TV series best remembered for two things: having a cool take on what it would be like to be a superhero and for changing the surname of the show's lead character from Hinkley to Hanley after President Reagan was shot by a would-be assassin named Hinkley.

Culp's gruff fed, Bill Maxwell, was both comedic foil and tough guy of the series. As a kid I liked the interaction between Bill and Ralph, the school teacher given the supersuit by space aliens (and who then loses the instruction book, setting the stage for the show's hook.) A little later I figured out that this same guy also played the dude in that old black-and-white Outer Limits episode "Demon With a Glass Hand". And even later on than that I realized that I was just a dumb kid: this Robert Culp guy was already known to audiences for starring in a pretty well-known 1960s series called I Spy opposite Bill Cosby.

As a grown man I now know that Robert Culp had dozens of roles in film and television. I'm also wiser and know that Culp was fortunate enough to be one of those actors who's face is well-known to several generations of TV viewers but for completely different reasons. To generation X, Robert Culp was Bill Maxwell; to the baby boomers he was tennis pro Kelly Robinson in I Spy and swinger Bob Sanders from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. To yet another generation he'll be remembered for providing the voice of Dr. Breen in Half-Life 2 and for playing the father-in-law on Everyone Loves Ray. If you want to see just how many parts and jobs Culp had, spend a few moments looking at his credit listing on the IMDb. That's the impressive mark he leaves behind.

In each of the three years that I Spy ran on network television Culp was nominated for the Best Actor award at the Emmys and each year he lost out to his co-star, Cosby. In a 1977 interview with Culp he was asked by a reporter if he was ever upset to lose out to his co-worker. "I was the proudest man around," he answered. Both I Spy actors used their visibility to bring attention to the civil rights movement since, at the time the show was on the air, was in full swing. Let's not overlook the fact that it wasn't until I Spy that a black actor had a lead role credit on a television series.

Robert Culp is survived by his fifth wife, Candace, and five children. Rest easy and thank you for all the great entertainment you gave all of us.

 

 

 

Kaeos
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Posts: 417
Posted: 12 years 26 weeks ago

3rd. The world has lost too much talent this year.

The Best Music, and The Best New Talk Radio! www.iTMIRadio.com
Baelzar
Location:
Posts: 213
Posted: 12 years 26 weeks ago

SCENARIO

"INDEED!"