US actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr dies at 95

Efrem Zimbalist Jr in 2009 Efrem Zimbalist Jr in 2009. His leading role was in The FBI, which ran from 1965-74

The American actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr, who starred in the long-running TV show The FBI, has died at the age of 95.

Zimbalist Jr played Inspector Lewis Erskine in the show, which ran from 1965 until 1974.

Before that he became a household name in the US playing private investigator Stu Bailey in 77 Sunset Strip, which ran from 1958-64.

In later life he retired to his ranch in Solvang, California, where he died on Friday.

His daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and son Efrem Zimbalist III said in a statement: "We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr, at his Solvang ranch.

"He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends."

In addition to his leading TV roles, Zimbalist Jr made numerous stage and film appearances. His stage debut was opposite Spencer Tracy in The Rugged Path.

Zimbalist Jr (right) gets some training at the FBI academy for his role in The FBI, 1965 Zimbalist Jr (right) gets some training at the FBI academy for his role in The FBI

His show The FBI was famous for posting real photos from the federal crime investigation agency's most-wanted list at the end of each programme.

The FBI honoured Zimbalist Jr by making him an honorary "G-man" in 2009.

"We could not have asked for a better character, or a better man, to play his role,'' then-FBI director Robert Mueller said.

Zimbalist Jr's other regular TV roles included a part in Maverick.

His films included Airport 1975 and Hot Shots!

He served in the infantry in World War Two, receiving a Purple Heart.

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