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Actor Robert Culp Dead

Actor Robert Culp, 79, best known for his work in television's "I Spy" in the 1960s and more recently in "Everybody Loves Raymond," died this morning after a fall at his Hollywood home, authorities said.

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The actor was rushed to Queen of Angels hospital shortly after 11 a.m. PDT after hitting his head while taking a walk outside his home, said LAPD Lt. Bob Binder. He was found by a jogger who called 911, and paramedics, patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was pronounced dead at the hospital later; no foul play is suspected but an autopsy will be conducted.

A native of Oakland, Calif., he graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

Although often considered only a television actor, Mr. Culp worked in the movies as well, as naval officer John F. Kennedy's friend Ensign George Ross in "PT 109"; as gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok in "The Raiders" and as the fiance of Jane Fonda in the romantic comedy "Sunday in New York." He went on to star in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" in 1969. Mr. Culp also played the president in Alan J. Pakula's 1994 murder mystery "The Pelican Brief."

According to, he was a poker playing buddy of Hugh M. Hefner as a result, was a frequent guest at the Playboy Mansion.

Full obituary here.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  March 24, 2010; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  Actors, actresses  
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I recently discovered I,Spy at Hulu, and I've loved it. The real locations were a huge contrast with other shows. The relationship he established with Cosby in the series was terrific and some of the better written episodes had his name as the writer.

Posted by: Fabrisse | March 24, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Children of the 80s will also remember him as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell from "The Greatest American Hero".


Posted by: frenchyb | March 24, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

How sad, indeed! Culp and Cosby were the definition of "cool" in I Spy, and the episodes written by Culp showed his wide-range of creative skills. He was a true professional and artistic talent; hard to believe he is gone!

Posted by: wcmillionairre | March 24, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

He also did a cameo as himself in a three-part episode of "Law & Order."

He was a wonderful entertainer. I grew up watching Culp and Crosby on "I Spy."

Condolences to the family.

Posted by: hisroc | March 24, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, this leaves a gaping wound in my nostalgia. Culp's rather rambling reminiscences of his association with "I Spy" in the DVD commentary for that series is delightful. The commentary for "Home for Judgment" is very personal, recalling his childhood during the Depression. His work remains, fortunately.

Posted by: hlabadie | March 24, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Before "I Spy" there was "Trackdown." During its run, I was a student in grammar school in Brooklyn, New York. I loved that program. I loved Robert Culp, its star. And followed his career from that point on, up to his portrayal of Debra'd father in "Everyone Loves Raymond." I shall miss him. Sincere condolences to his family.

Posted by: rhhmeh | March 24, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

How about the Outer Limits episode "Demon With A Glass Hand" (written by Harlan Ellison specifically with Robert Culp in mind for the lead role)? I first saw it as a kid, and I;ve never forgotten it.

Posted by: johnnyzero | March 24, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry to hear of Mr. Culp's death and want to express my sympathies to his family and fans. Mr. Culp displayed sang froid and presence in "I Spy" and was justly famed as its star. I shall miss him, as will all TV and film fans who appreciated his work.

Posted by: ANetliner | March 24, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

It's ironic that Robert Culp was killed in a fall. He was an accomplished mountaineer, ran a climbing school and designed climbing equipment. The Robert Culp Seat Harness was a great piece of gear.

Posted by: PhilipL42 | March 24, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

It could have been a heart attack or a stroke that led to the fall, and not the fall alone that led to his death. Who knows? We may know more after the autopsy is completed.

Posted by: tonyr4096 | March 24, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Robert Culp was in the original "Outer Limits" show. The episode was called "Demon with a Glass Hand", first televised 10/17/1964. It's a great episode filmed at the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles.

Posted by: sperrico | March 24, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

He and Cosby did a fine movie together in 1972, "Hickey and Boggs," directed by Culp that was the dark opposite of their "I Spy" characters. It got lousy reviews then but it has aged well, even getting retro praise a few years ago from The New Yorker magazine.
Culp was barely mentioned (if at all) when Cosby the Mark Twain award recently. I don't know if there was a falling out between the two.

Posted by: rrykken | March 24, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Culp's work in "I Spy" with Bill Cosby was some of the finest work in media. It's too bad that young folks today can't review it and take some lessons.

Posted by: sandynh | March 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Farewell to Robert Culp..I was watching a "Raymond" episode a couple of nights ago, featuring a visit by the Whelans..I thought that Culp must be "getting up there"..but certainly didn't expect this so soon. Others have paid tribute to "Demon with a Glass Hand" written by the insufferable egomaniac Harlan Ellison.."Corpus Earthling"(featuring Culp)was somewhat silly with the talking rocks(appearing 4 days before JFK's murder) but for my money, Culp's performance as Dr Allen Leighton, the scientist turned monster in order to unite humanity against a common enemy in "The Architects of Fear" may have been the best performance in sci-fi history, not just in the Outer Limits original series..other old timers may recall that the 11/25/1963 episode was cancelled due to the funeral..ironically, the episode broadcast on 12/2/63 was entitled "Nightmare" appropriate.
Thanks for the memories, easy..


Posted by: markappraiser1 | March 24, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Robert Culp was an extremely fine actor with a rather sharp sense of humor ...

He will be remembered for his fine body of work ...

It is most unfortunate that he met his demise in such a sad and unfortunate manner, as well as being much too soon ...

We wish to offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, associates and friends.

Posted by: COLONEL77 | March 24, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Culp's work in "I Spy" with Bill Cosby was some of the finest work in media. It's too bad that young folks today can't review it and take some lessons.

Posted by: sandynh | March 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse
Hey Sandy,

I don't know if they fell out, but Cosby isn't taking Culp's death too good. They interviewed Cosby as he was entering a building and when the reporter asked him how he felt, he tried to say something then he just wept. Somebody he was with had to wave the cameras and reporters off.

Posted by: clark202 | March 24, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I loved 'I SPY'. And tried to never miss an episode as a kid. My sincere condolences to his loved ones. R.I.P.

Posted by: Ruler4You | March 25, 2010 5:26 AM | Report abuse

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