Robert Culp,who rose to fame as secret agent Kelly Robinson on the groundbreaking 1960s TV series "I Spy" and later played Ray Romano's father-in-law on "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died the age of 70. He died of complications from a fall in an LA park. The New York Times reports he was on a walk near his home.
CNN reports Culp not only acted in "I Spy," which aired on NBC from 1965 to 1968, he also wrote several episodes. The series, which also starred Bill Cosby as Robinson's partner (and, as their covers, trainer to Culp's globe-trotting tennis player), was the first to feature an African-American in a lead role and earned Cosby three Emmy awards. Culp's character was flawed, unusual for leading roles the time, choice he brought to the role.
Follows is the SAGWATCH tribute published later in the day on March 24, 2010:
It took Robert Culp almost 15 years to break through, but he never gave up…working role after role, doing everything from kids shows to westerns to drama. Then came his great break, in the 60s series “I Spy,” a series that also launched Bill Cosby.
The series only lasted three years, but Culp worked continuously thereafter. He’s one of the truly distinguished actors of our time, having spent more than 50 years in television and film.
Culp was walking outside his home in Hollywood today when apparently he fell and hit his head. He died a short time later.