Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Actor, 1918 - 2014
Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., passed away on Friday, May 2, 2014, at the age of 95. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., was the son of soprano Alma Gluck and violinist Efrem Zimbalist, and the father of actor Stephanie Zimbalist (with whom he appeared in a handful of episodes of the Remington Steele TV series). He studied at the Yale Drama School and the Neighborhood Playhouse before serving in World War II, where he earned a Purple Heart. He began his career in show business as a page at NBC, but soon began appearing on Broadway starting in 1945. His movie debut was in 1949 in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s House of Strangers, although the untimely passing of his wife Emily one year later led to a temporary halt to his acting career.
Zimbalist’s return to acting was in 1954, appearing on the NBC soap opera Concerning Miss Marlowe, and he soon signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros (appearing most notably with Clark Gable in Band of Angels). He somewhat reluctantly starred in the Warner Bros. TV series 77 Sunset Strip in 1958, as private eye Stuart Bailey; the show ran until 1963 and won a Golden Globe in 1960. His other major TV role for which he is best known was The F.B.I., which ran from 1965 to 1974. Zimbalist was a close friend of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and his role on the show (which was drawn from actual cases) led to an honorary Special Agent badge in 2009.
Zimbalist is best known to animation fans as the voice of Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s stalwart butler and confidante, in Batman: The Animated Series and its related direct-to-video movies, as well as subsequent appearances on Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, and Justice League. Other prominent animation roles include Doctor Octopus in in the 1995 Spider-Man series, King Arthur in the The Legend of Prince Valiant, Justin Hammer in the 1995 Iron Man series, and guest appearances on Biker Mice from Mars, Gargoyles, and Mighty Ducks.
He is survived by his daughter Stephanie and his son Efrem Zimbalist III.