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RIP: Efrem Zimbalist Jr. – Star of the F.B.I and voice of Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 95, passed away May 2, 2014.  Image: www.newworldzorro.com

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 95, passed away May 2, 2014.
Image: www.newworldzorro.com

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 95, passed away Friday, April 2, 2014. His son, Efem Zimbalist III, stated he had been out watering his lawn when a handyman found him. Zimbalist III stated, ““He was healthy, playing golf three days a week, and always in his garden.”

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

Zimbalist started his career after coming back from service in World War II. He served 5 years in the Army and had been awarded the purple heart after a leg wound. After returning, he started first on stage in New York and after appearing in a soap opera “Concerning Miss Marlowe, he received  a contract with Warner Brothers. He is better known for his work in television with shows such as Maverick with James Garner, as the lead in 77 Sunset Strip, Inspector Lewis Erskine  in The F.B.I., Remington Steele with his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist, and as William Edgars in Babylon 5. In the 90s, he worked on such programs as Zorro as the as Don Alejandro de la Vega, the father of Duncan Regehr’s Zorro and extensive voice work as the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, and also for the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. He also voice Doc Octopus for Spiderman. He also did voice work for Biker Mice from Mars, Gargoyles and Ironman.

Zimbalist enjoyed his role as the voice of Alfred, stating the role “has made me an idol in my little grandchildren’s eyes.”

On a personal note, Mr. Zimbalist has always been a favorite of mine. His rich voice and superb acting were always a joy to watch, first as Don Alejandro de la Vega and then as the father of his daughter Stephanie’s Laura Holt in Remington Steele. Then in later years, I was introduced to his roles in his earlier work and learned an even great appreciation of his talent. Our hearts go out to family and friends in this time. I know legions of Batman fans grieve the lost of their Alfred.

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