Actor Robert Culp died today at age 79, after falling and hitting his head near his home in Los Angeles. Culp worked extensively in television in the late '50s and early '60s, and became an icon of cool with the TV series I Spy, which cast Culp and Bill Cosby as unflappable secret agents. Culp continued to work steadily in television over the next four decades, including recurring roles on The Greatest American Hero in the '80s and Everybody Loves Raymond in the '00s. Culp was less prolific as a movie actor, but post-I Spy he delivered a memorable performance in Paul Mazursky's wife-swapping comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and even stepped behind the camera to direct the early Walter Hill script Hickey & Boggs (which reunited Culp with Cosby). Almost more than his filmography though, Culp was famous for his presence: whether living it up at the Playboy mansion or standing at a podium to raise money for a cause, Culp epitomized a certain kind of Kennedy-era masculinity, at once rakish, tough, sophisticated and confident.

Advertisement