UNCLE Special Guest: Robert Culp


Episode: 4, the Shark Affair.

Date of Birth16 August 1930Oakland, California, USA
Date of Death24 March 2010Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameRobert Martin Culp
Height6' 1" (1,85 m)

Mini Bio (edited)


Tall, slim and exceedingly good-looking American leading man Robert Culp, a former cartoonist in his teen years, appeared off-Broadway in the 1950s before settling into polished, clean-cut film leads and "other man" supports a decade later. Hitting the popular TV boards in the hip, racially ground-breaking espionage program I Spy (1965), he made a slick (but never smarmy), sardonic name for himself during his over five-decade career with his sly humor, casual banter and tongue-and-cheek sexiness. Though he had the requisite looks and smooth, manly appeal (not to mention acting talent) for superstardom, a cool but cynical and somewhat detached persona may have prevented him from attaining it full-out.

Bob eventually found work on the theatre scene, making his 1953 Broadway debut (as Robert M. Culp) in "The Prescott Proposals" with Katharine Cornell. He eventually returned to Broadway with "Diary of a Scoundrel" starring Blanche Yurka and Roddy McDowall in 1956 and with a strong role in "A Clearing in the Woods" (alongside Kim Stanley) a year later. He earned an off-Broadway Obie Award for his very fine work in "He Who Gets Slapped" in 1956, and also appeared in the plays "Daily Life" and "Easter".

Culp guested on a number of series dramas: Bonanza (1959), The Rifleman (1958), Rawhide (1959), The Detectives (1959), Ben Casey (1961), The Outer Limits (1963), Naked City (1958) and Combat! (1962).  During this time, Bob began to seek lead and supporting work in films. TV remained his best arena and gave him more lucrative offers, professionally. It rewarded him quite richly in 1965 with the debonair series lead "Kelly Robinson", a jet-setting, pro-circuit tennis player who leads a double life as an international secret agent in I Spy (1965). 

Following the series' demise, Culp took on perhaps his most-famous and controversial film role as Natalie Wood's husband "Bob" in the titillating but ultimately teasing "flower power" era film Bob, Carol, Ted & Alice (1969)  Culp became very active in the 1960s Civil Rights movement and later became a prominent face in local civic causes, joining in a lawsuit to cease construction of an elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo and accusing officials there of mistreatment.

His last film, the family drama The Assignment (2010), was unreleased at the time of his death. On March 24, 2010, the 79-year-old Culp collapsed from an apparent heart attack while walking near the lower entrance to Runyon Canyon Park, a popular hiking area in the Hollywood Hills. Found by a hiker, Culp was transported to a nearby hospital where he died from the head injuries he sustained in the fall. Five grandchildren also survive.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net



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