K'Ehleyr25 March 2010 at 7:56amPosts: 8422 (0 today)Status: offline
I Spy TV Opening Theme - Version 1
LOS ANGELES - Robert Culp, the actor who teamed with Bill Cosby in the racially groundbreaking TV series "I Spy" and was Bob in the critically acclaimed sex comedy "Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice," died Wednesday after collapsing outside his Hollywood home, his manager said. Culp was 79.
Manager Hillard Elkins said the actor was on a walk when he fell. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead just before noon. The actor's son was told he died of a heart attack, Elkins said, though police were unsure if the fall was medically related.
Los Angeles police Lt. Robert Binder said no foul play was suspected. Binder said a jogger found Culp, who apparently fell and struck his head.
"I Spy" greatly advanced the careers of Culp and Cosby and forged a lifelong friendship. Cosby said Wednesday Culp was like an older brother to him.
"The first born in every family is always dreaming of the older brother or sister he or she doesn't have, to protect, to be the buffer, provide the wisdom, shoulder the blows and make things right," he said. "Bob was the answer to my dreams.
"No matter how many mistakes I made on 'I Spy,' he was always there to teach and protect me," Cosby said.
Candace Culp, the actor's ex-wife, said she was devastated.
"He was a wonderful, creative man who contributed so much to his business, as an actor, as a writer, as a director," she said.
Robert Culp lately had been working on writing screenplays, Elkins said.
"I Spy," which aired from 1965 to 1968, was a television milestone in more ways than one. Its combination of humour and adventure broke new ground, and it was the first integrated television show to feature a black actor in a starring role.
Culp played Kelly Robinson, a spy whose cover was that of an ace tennis player. (In real life, Culp actually was a top-notch tennis player who showed his skills in numerous celebrity tournaments.). Cosby was fellow spy Alexander Scott, whose cover was that of Culp's trainer. The pair travelled the world in the service of the U.S. government.
Culp followed "I Spy" with his most prestigious film role, in "Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice." The work of first-time director Paul Mazursky, who also co-wrote the screenplay, lampooned the lifestyles of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Bob and Carol (Culp and Natalie Wood) introduced wife-swapping to their best friends, Ted and Alice (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon).
Culp also had starring roles in such films as "The Castaway Cowboy," "Golden Girl," "Turk 182!" and "Big Bad Mama II."