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Actor Robert Culp dies after falling at his Hollywood home

Culp Actor Robert Culp, best known for his role as an international tennis star and globe-trotting secret agent in the hit 1960s television series "I Spy," died Wednesday morning after a fall at his Hollywood home, authorities said.

The 79-year-old actor was rushed to Queen of Angels hospital shortly after 11 a.m. after hitting his head while taking a walk outside his home in the 1800 block of El Cerrito Place, said LAPD Lt. Bob Binder. He was found by a jogger who called 911, and paramedics, patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. A preliminary investigation found "that his death is accidental and there appears to be no sign of foul play," Binder said. An autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office is pending.

Culp broke into Hollywood in the late 1950s but catapulted to fame playing Kelly Robinson in the hourlong 1965-68 espionage series "I Spy," which was shot in exotic locales around the world.

Besides its popularity, the show also broke the color barrier for dramatic television series as the first noncomedy series to star an African American actor, Bill Cosby.

Off screen, Culp has been active in civic causes, most recently in his efforts to oppose construction of an elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. 

In 2007, the actor joined with real estate agent Aaron Leider in filing a lawsuit against zoo director John Lewis and the city to stop construction of a $42-million elephant exhibit and bar the zoo from keeping elephants there, accusing authorities at the facility of withholding medical care from the animals and keeping them cramped in small places.

Last year, after temporarily halting construction on the elephant exhibit amid a fierce debate, the City Council voted to go ahead with the project as planned.

A full obituary is coming shortly from The Times.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Robert Culp in the action-adventure television series "I Spy."

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Comments () | Archives (22)

This is a sad day for Hollywood. Robert Culp was a terrific actor teamed with Bill Cosby in the "I-Spy" series. They had such great chemistry and he was funny in a "Get Smart" episode entitled "Casablanca" in which he appeared drunk after having several drinks. RIP Robert and my prayers and condolences to the family including his friend Cosby.

A sad death. I particularly appreciated his work in the Outer Limits episode "The Man with the Glass Hand", and the Mazursky film "Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice".

He will be missed. I enjoyed his role as Deborah's father on Everybody Loves Raymond, and finally got to see his role in "I Spy" in the last two years. -- kris_lang

How sad to hear that.
My family and I used to watch I-Spy when it was broadcast in the U.K. Robert Culp's easy-going charm on screen was always a joy.

What a great guy. So sad to hear!

I remember him in "Greatest American Hero"-that's probably when I first saw him acting because I was just a kid in the late 70's. He played a good "straight man" to the main characters goofus, but he was funny too. Sorry to hear of his passing.

Sorry to hear of his passing. At least he used his celebrity for good in trying so hard to help animals. This should be a lesson for the majority of public figures today that are so self absorbed.

R. I. P.

A sad loss for all fans. Dr. Cosby has often spoken about how his role in 'I Spy' would never have happened if it weren't for Robert Kulp. He had a poingant cameo on 'The Bill Cosby Show' some years ago where it was clear the affection these actors had for each other. I will alwyas remember him fondly.

I have yet to read any news item that mentions his wonderful comedic role on Everybody Loves Raymond - why is that? He was a terrific actor in any role he played & one sexy older dude. He will be missed.

I Spy was my favorite show. RIP Mr. Culp.

A true,class guy. You will be missed. R.I.P.

RIP Dr. Breen.

I don't think Queen of Angels exists anymore, it's now back to Hollywood Presbytarian

My condolences to his family and friends. Robert Culp was a very good actor...perhaps he wasn't a "movie star" as many actors are now called, but he did great work, such as in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." Of course, he was excellent in the "I Spy" series with Bill Cosby, as well as in his several appearances on "Columbo."

Sad to hear this. Great guy. As for the Zoo and Elephants - the Los Angeles City County would sell their soul and build death camps if they thought they could get away with it. The worst thing in America is Government.

I grew up watching "I Spy". It was a great show, did not realize until recently that Bob Culp wrote some of the shows.

He was a very talented person, also loved him on "The greatest american hero" tv show where he p0rtrayed an FBI agent.

I pissed him off once when I got a parking ticket on his XKE while it was being fixed at my shop.
He told me to lock the keys in the car and he would come and get it later in the day.
The meter maid's in Santa Monica got him first, I was going to try to explain what happened but, he was so angry, I gave up even trying, he never came back.
Big deal right?

ESP---I was just thinking of Robert Culp. I loved the I Spy show---I used to rush to hear the opening music which was fantastic. And he was terrific in Everybody Loves Raymond. He'll be missed.

Wow, previous comments list so many different roles! I mostly remember "I Spy."

Best wishes to the family, and to that luckless jogger.

He and Cosby made a great team back in the day...see ya Robert...I promise to keep on spying for you...

He was a real gentleman.He was glad to meet and talk to his fans. He attended Celebrity Autograph and memorabilia Shows and he was a very kind to all. He had a good memory and would recount tales of making films and television. He will be missed by his fans,especially those of us who grew up with "I Spy".


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