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Efrem Zimbalist Jr

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Efrem Zimbalist Jr

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Zimbalist in 1956.
Born (1918-11-30) November 30, 1918 (age 95)
New York City, New York, US
Residence Solvang, California, US
Nationality American
Education Fay School
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1946–present
Known for Dandy Jim Buckley,
Alfred Pennyworth,
DC Animated Universe
Home town New York City, New York, US
Television 77 Sunset Strip,
The F.B.I.,
Batman: The Animated Series
Spouse(s) Emily Munroe McNair (m. 1941–50)
Loranda Stephanie Spaulding (m. 1956–61)
Loranda Stephanie Spaulding (m. 1962–2007)
Children With McNair:
Nancy Zimbalist
Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III
With Spalding:
Stephanie Zimbalist
Parents Efrem Zimbalist, Sr.,
Alma Gluck
Awards Golden Globe Award

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (born November 30, 1918) is an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. He is also known as recurring character "Dandy Jim Buckley" in the series Maverick and as the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and its numerous spin-offs.

Early years

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was born in New York, New York, the son of famed violinist Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. (1890–1985), born in the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don,[1] and operatic soprano Alma Gluck (1884–1938), who was born as Reba Feinsohn in Iaşi, Romania.[2] He attended Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts.


Zimbalist attended Yale University in the late 1930s, worked as a page for NBC radio in New York, and served in the army for five years during World War II, where he became friends with Garson Kanin. Following the war, Zimbalist returned to New York and had a stage career as both actor and producer. His producing successes included bringing Gian Carlo Menotti operas to Broadway. In 1956, Zimbalist was put under contract by Warner Brothers and moved to Hollywood.[3]

Zimbalist's first recurring role in a television series was as roguish gambler "Dandy Jim Buckley" on Maverick opposite James Garner in 1957; after five appearances, Zimbalist left in 1958 to play the lead, Stuart "Stu" Bailey, in 77 Sunset Strip, a popular detective series running until 1964. In 1959 he was awarded the Golden Globe for "Most Promising Newcomer – Male". After 77 Sunset Strip, he appeared in other series, including CBS's short-lived The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as a journalist, Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe. He also appeared in leading and supporting roles in several feature films, including Harlow, A Fever in the Blood (a film about a ruthless politician), Wait Until Dark, and Airport 1975.

Zimbalist had a recurring role as Daniel Chalmers, a white-collar con man, on his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist's 1980s television detective series, Remington Steele and in the television dramatic series, Hotel.

In 1990, he played the father of Zorro in the (then Christian Broadcasting Network's- aka CBN) Family Channel's remake The New Zorro. Zimbalist relinquished the role after the program's first season due to the filming at studios outside Madrid, Spain, and the role subsequently went to Henry Darrow. He had a small recurring role in the 1990s hit science fiction TV series Babylon 5 as William Edgars.

Also in the 1990s, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. played Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series as well as in Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League, Static Shock, and the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and villain Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. He has appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network[4] and as himself in the 1998 Smithsonian production of Gemstones of America.[5] He performed as he narrator in "Good Morning, America," by Elinor Remick Warren -- Cambria CD #1042 (1993).

Zimbalist has written an autobiography, My Dinner of Herbs, published by Limelight Editions, New York.

In 2008, he appeared in the short film The Delivery, where he played a professor who helps a young girl in her struggles for literacy. The film won first place in fantasy at the Dragon*Con Film Festival and was an official selection at the Los Angeles International Children's Festival and the Reel Women International Film Festival in 2009.

The F.B.I. television series

Zimbalist was arguably most widely known for his starring role as Inspector Lewis Erskine in the Quinn Martin television production, The F.B.I., premiering on September 19, 1965 and closing with the last episode on September 8, 1974. Zimbalist was generous in his praise of producer Quinn Martin and of his own experience starring in the show. Those who worked with Zimbalist on the show were equally admiring of the star's professionalism and likeable personality.[6]

Star Zimbalist maintained a strong personal relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, who requested technical accuracy for the show, and that agents be portrayed in the best possible light. Actors who played F.B.I. employees were required by Hoover to undergo a background check.[6] Zimbalist passed his background check with ease. He subsequently spent a week in Washington, D.C., where he was interviewed by Hoover, and at the F.B.I. academy in Quantico, Virginia. Hoover and Zimbalist remained mutual admirers for the rest of Hoover's life.[6] Hoover would later hold Zimbalist up as an image role model for F.B.I. employees to emulate in their personal appearance.[7]

The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation[8] honored the character of Lewis Erskine in 1985 with a set of retired credentials.[9] On June 8, 2009 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Zimbalist with a plaque of an honorary special agent for his work on the TV series The F.B.I., which he worked on in collaboration with the FBI itself and his friend J. Edgar Hoover.[9][10]

Personal life and religion

His first wife was Emily Munroe McNair, who died of cancer in 1950. Zimbalist's second marriage was to Loranda Stephanie Spaulding, in 1956. She died of lung cancer on February 5, 2007, at the age of 73. Zimbalist is the father of actress Stephanie Zimbalist (by Stephanie Spaulding); Efrem Zimbalist, III; and Nancy Zimbalist (by Emily McNair). Zimbalist considers himself a man of abiding faith, and has been involved in a number of Christian media productions. His parents, Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist, Sr., were assimilated non-practicing Jews.[11] Efrem Sr. himself was raised in a non-practicing household and would later state, "As far as I am concerned, there has been no Jew in the family for sixty-five years."[11] Alma and Efrem Sr. had their children baptized in the Episcopal Church and raised them in that faith. Efrem Jr. stated that he was taken to church every Sunday and attended an Episcopal boarding school in New Hampshire.[12] He also attended church every Sunday with his first wife, and it was his faith which allowed him peace when she succumbed to cancer.[13] A spiritual pilgrim, Zimbalist was an early practitioner and proponent of Transcendental Meditation, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He described the Maharishi Yogi as a "fascinating character", but found that his nine-year association with the meditation method "...was a total waste of energy for me."[13] He returned to the Episcopal faith for a time. In the late 1970s, Zimbalist was drawn to the Charismatic Christianity he found on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.[14] After a time, he reconsidered that involvement, telling a reporter in 1989 that "for a while I did go overboard in my association with a fundamentalist group."[15] Eventually, he returned to the Episcopal faith, feeling more comfortable with that particular faith's style.[13]

In 1963 and 1964, Zimbalist joined fellow actors William Lundigan, Chill Wills, and Walter Brennan, in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Republican nominee in the campaign against U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.[16]

Acting credits


Opening date Closing date Title Role Theatre
Nov 10, 1945 Jan 19, 1946 The Rugged Path Gil Hartnick Plymouth
Nov 6, 1946 Feb 21, 1947 King Henry VIII Duke of Suffolk International Theatre
Nov 8, 1946 Feb 15, 1947 What Every Woman Knows A Butler, Ensemble International Theatre
Dec 19, 1946 Feb 22, 1947 A Pound on Demand
Androcles and the Lion
Secutor International Theatre
Feb 27, 1947 Mar 15, 1947 Yellow Jack Aristides Agramonte International Theatre
May 1, 1947 Nov 1, 1947 The Telephone
The Medium
(producer) Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Feb 24, 1948 Mar 6, 1948 Hedda Gabler Eilert Lovborg Cort Theatre
Dec 7, 1948 Jan 9, 1949 The Telephone (producer) City Center
Dec 7, 1948 Jan 9, 1949 The Medium (producer) City Center
Mar 15, 1950 Nov 4, 1950 The Consul (producer) Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Jan 17, 1956 Aug 11, 1956 Fallen Angels Maurice Duclos Playhouse

Film and television

Year Title Role Notes
1946 Mr. and Mrs. North TV movie
1949 House of Strangers Tony Monetti
1954–1955 Concerning Miss Marlowe Jim Gavin Unknown episodes
1956 Star Tonight TV series, episode: "The Long View"
1956 United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel Hour Sean O'Neill TV series, episode "Stopover at Sublimity"
1957 Conflict Stuart Bailey TV series, episodes: "Execution Night"
and "Anything For Money"
1957 Band of Angels Lt. Ethan Sears
1957 Bombers B-52 Colonel Jim Herlihy
1957–1958 Maverick Dandy Jim Buckley TV series, episodes: "Stampede" (1957), "Trail West to Fury", "High Card Hangs", "The Jail at Junction Flats" and "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" (all 1958)
1958 Deep Six, TheThe Deep Six Lt. Blanchard
1958 Too Much, Too Soon Vincent Bryant
1958 Violent Road George Lawrence
1958 Girl on the Run Stuart Bailey Pilot for TV series 77 Sunset Strip
1958 Sugarfoot Kerrigan the Great TV series, episode: "The Wizard"
1958 Home Before Dark Jacob 'Jake' Diamond
1958–1964 77 Sunset Strip Stu Bailey 163 episodes
1959–1962 Hawaiian Eye Stu Bailey TV series, episodes: "Malahini Holiday" and "Three Tickets to Lani" (both 1959), "I Wed Three Wives" (1960) and "Blackmail in Satin" (1962)
1960 Alaskans, TheThe Alaskans John Conrad TV series, episode: "The Trial of Reno McKee"
1960 Crowded Sky, TheThe Crowded Sky Dale Heath
1961 Fever in the Blood, AA Fever in the Blood Judge Leland Hoffman
1961 By Love Possessed Arthur Winner
1961 Bronco Edwin Booth TV series, episode: "The Prince of Darkness"
1962 Chapman Report, TheThe Chapman Report Paul Radford
1963 Insight TV series, episode: "The Phony"
1964 Insight Charles de Foucauld TV series, episode: "The Hermit"
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Paul Radford TV series, episode: "The Sojourner"
1964 Alfred Hitchcock Hour, TheThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour Stranger TV series, episode: "See the Monkey Dance"
1964 Reporter, TheThe Reporter Charles Durwood TV series, episode: "Super-Star"
1965 Insight TV series, episode: "Stranger in My Shoes"
1965 Rawhide Jeff McKeever TV series, episode: "The Diehard"
1965 Harlow William Mansfield
1965 Reward, TheThe Reward Frank Bryant
1965–1974 F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I. Inspector Lewis Erskine TV series, 241 episodes
1966 Insight TV series, episode: "The Coffee House"
1967 Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the F.B.I. Inspector Lewis Erskine TV movie
1967 Wait Until Dark Sam Hendrix
1968 Insight Don Ford TV series, episode: "He Lived With Us, Ate With Us, What Else, Dear?"
1970 Insight TV series, episode: "The Day God Died"
1974 Airport 1975 Captain Stacy
1974 Insight TV series, episode: "When You See Arcturus"
1975 Who Is the Black Dahlia? Sgt. Harry Hansen TV movie
1978 Family Upside Down, AA Family Upside Down Mike Long TV movie
1978 Terror Out of the Sky David Martin TV movie
1979 Best Place to Be, TheThe Best Place to Be Bill Reardan TV movie
1979 Gathering, Part II, TheThe Gathering, Part II Victor Wainwright TV movie
1979 Insight God TV series, episode: "Checkmate"
1979 Insight TV series, episode: "A Family of Winners"
1980 Scruples Ellis Ikehorn TV mini-series
1982 Avenging, TheThe Avenging Jacob Anderson
1982 Beyond Witch Mountain Aristotle TV movie
1982 Family in Blue Marty Malone TV movie
1983 Insight TV series, episode: "The Hit Man"
1983 Tempest, TheThe Tempest Prospero Video
1983 Charley's Aunt Col. Francis Chesney TV movie
1983 Baby Sister Tom Burroughs TV movie
1983 Shooting Stars Robert Cluso TV movie
1983 Fantasy Island Mr. Baldwin TV series, episode: "The Butler's Affair/Roarke's Sacrifice"
1983 Remington Steele Daniel Chalmers TV series, episode: "Sting of Steele"
1984 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Dan Whitman TV series, episode: "Polly's Poker Palace, Parts 1 and 2"
1984 Hardcastle and McCormick Emmett Parnell TV series, episode: "The Georgia Street Motors"
1984 Partners in Crime Grant Latham TV series, episode: "Murder in the Museum"
1984 Cover Up E.G. Dawson TV series, episode: "Writer's Block"
1984 Remington Steele Daniel Chalmers TV series, episode: "Blue Blooded Steele"
1984 Hotel Alexander Heath TV series, episode: "Flesh and Blood"
1984 You Are the Jury Narrator TV series, episode: "The Case of the People of Florida v Joseph Lamdrum"
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Judge Alex Hale TV series, episode: "Mister Wonderful"
1985 Remington Steele Daniel Chalmers TV series, episode: "Steele Searching, Part 2"
1986 You Are the Jury Narrator TV series, episode: "The State of Arizona v Dr. Evan Blake"
1986 Hotel Charles Cabot TV series, episodes: "Opening Moves", "Queen's Gambit", "Enemies Within", "Double Jeopardy", "Hornet's Nest", "Undercurrents" and "Forsaking All Others"
1987 Remington Steele Daniel Chalmers TV series, episode: "Steeled With a Kiss, Parts 1 and 2"
1988 Hotel Charles Cabot TV series, episode: "Power Play"
1988 Hunter Clarence Hyland TV series, episode: "Murder He Wrote"
1988 Murder, She Wrote Gen. Havermeyer TV series, episode: "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel"
1990 Zorro Don Alejandro de la Vega TV series, 25 episodes
1990 Murder, She Wrote Richard Thompson Grant TV series, episode: "Hannigan's Wake"
1990 Who's the Boss? Robert Robinson TV series, episode: "Operation Mona"
1991 Hot Shots! Wilson
1992 Murder, She Wrote Adam Quatrain TV series, episode: "Sugar, Spice, Malice and Vice"
1992–1993 Legend of Prince Valiant, TheThe Legend of Prince Valiant King Arthur (voice) TV series, 53 episodes
1992–1995 Batman: The Animated Series Alfred TV series, 57 episodes
1993 Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul Narrator
1993 Trade Winds Christof Philips TV mini-series
1993 Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Wolfgang Video game
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Alfred Pennyworth
1994 Burke's Law Sam Gallagher TV series, episode: "Who Killed the Legal Eagle?"
1994 Nanny, TheThe Nanny Theodore Timmons TV series, episode: "Material Fran"
1995 Street Corner Kids: The Sequel, TheThe Street Corner Kids: The Sequel Marty
1995 Biker Mice from Mars King Arthur TV series, episode: "Knights of the Round Table, Parts 1 and 2"
1995 One West Waikiki Walter Mansfield TV series, episode: "Flowers of Evil"
1995 Gargoyles Mace Malone TV series, episode: "Revelations"
1995 Iron Man Justin Hammer TV series, episodes: "The Armor Wars: Part 1 & 2", "The Beast Within"
1995–1997 Spider-Man Dr. Octopus
Dr. Otto Octavius
TV series, 11 episodes
1996 Picket Fences Hal Klosterman TV series, episode: "Forget Selma"
1996 Mighty Ducks Dr. Denton P. Hookerman TV series, episode: "Zap Attack"
1997 Babylon 5 William Edgars TV series, episodes: "Conflicts of Interest", "Moments of Transition", "Exercise of Vital Powers", "The Face of the Enemy"
1997 Visitor, TheThe Visitor Wayland Scott TV series, episode: "Miracles"
1997–1998 New Batman Adventures, TheThe New Batman Adventures Alfred Pennyworth 12 episodes
1997–1999 Superman: The Animated Series Alfred Pennyworth 4 episodes
1998 SubZero Alfred Pennyworth
1998 Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest, TheThe Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest Alfred Pennyworth
1999 Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, TheThe Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Dr. Octopus animated short film
2000 Spider-Man Dr. Octopus Video game
2001 Batman Vengeance Alfred Pennyworth Video game
2001 First Day, TheThe First Day Benjamin Hart TV movie
2003–2004 Justice League, TheThe Justice League Alfred Pennyworth TV series, episodes: "Hereafter Part 1", Starcrossed Part 3 & 4"
2003 Static Shock Alfred Pennyworth
2003 Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman Alfred Pennyworth
2008 Delivery, TheThe Delivery Dr. Engel

Television appearances as self

Year Title Notes
1961 What About Linda? March of Dimes fund raising program
1962 Here's Hollywood November 2, 1962
1965 Password All-Stars Episode: "Angie Dickinson vs. Efrem Zimbalist Jr."
1972 Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, TheThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson February 16, 1972
1978 30th Primetime Emmy Awards Presenter
1980 Anita Bryant Spectacular, TheThe Anita Bryant Spectacular
1986 38th Primetime Emmy Awards Presenter
1991 Hot Shots: The Making of an Important Movie
1994 Vicki!
1998 Gemstones of America Host
1999 Year to Remember, AA Year to Remember Host
2003 Batman: Behind the Mystery
2004 TVLand Moguls
2008 Brothers Warner, TheThe Brothers Warner

Further reading


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Broadway Database
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