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Efrem Zimbalist Jr., star of 'The FBI,' dead at 95

LOS ANGELES -- Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the son of famous musical parents who established his own name in the long-running television series “77 Sunset Strip” and the even longer running TV hit “The F.B.I.,” has died at age 95.

Zimbalist died Friday at his Solvang home in California's bucolic horse country, said family friend Judith Moose, who released a statement from his children, actress Stephanie Zimbalist and her brother, Efrem Zimbalist III.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch,” it said. “He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends.”

Zimbalist's stunning good looks and cool, deductive manner made him the ideal star as the hip private detective ferreting out Hollywood miscreants in “77 Sunset Strip,” which aired from 1958 to 1964. As soon as that show ended he segued seamlessly into “The F.B.I.” which aired from 1965 to 1974.

At the end of each episode of the latter show, after Zimbalist and his fellow G-men had captured that week's mobsters, subversives, bank robbers or spies, the show would post photos from the FBI's real-life wanted list. Some of the photos led to arrests, which helped give the show the complete seal of approval of the agency's real-life director, J. Edgar Hoover.

Zimbalist was the son of violin virtuoso Efrem Zimbalist and Alma Gluck, an acclaimed opera singer.

Young Efrem studied the violin himself for seven years under the tutelage of Jascha Heifetz's father, but he eventually developed more interest in theater. He became an actor, and “77 Sunset Strip” made him a celebrity.

His daughter also took up acting — and small-screen detective work, in the 1980s TV series “Remington Steele.” Her father had a recurring role in that show as a con man.

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Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr, watches during a ceremony honoring him held by the FBI at the Federal building in Los Angeles in this Monday, June 8, 2009 file photo.

(AP)

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