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People Top 5
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- April 12, 2010
- Vol. 73
- No. 14
Robert Culp 1930-2010
From I Spy to Everybody Loves Raymond, the Actor Kept Things Light-but was Also Serious About Having Fun
The 79-year-old Culp-married five times and the father of five-died March 24, reportedly after collapsing while walking near his L.A. home. "It's a terrible shock," says William Katt, who teamed up with Culp for The Greatest American Hero, the cult '80s series in which he played a reluctant action hero to Culp's gnarled FBI agent. "He was in good spirits, in good health."
Good spirits seem to have been the norm for Culp. He had "this cool, hipster exterior," says actress Patricia Heaton. When he'd arrive on the Everybody Loves Raymond set for his recurring role as her father, "he wore this Playboy Mansion letter jacket, like a varsity jacket!" Culp was, in fact, a fixture at the Playboy Mansion. He even coined its informal motto, says best pal Hugh Hefner: "Gentlemen, gentlemen, be of good cheer, for they are out there, and we are in here!"
But Culp also had a serious side, notably campaigning for civil rights. "He would hook into something that spoke to his heart," says his son, actor Joseph Culp, 47. "He had a strong sense of what's right."
Culp was a constant in a changeable town. Each time they'd reunite, says Cosby, "even if it was after five years, it was like he'd just gone across the street for a loaf of bread."
- Cynthia Wang/Los Angeles,
- Champ Clark/Los Angeles.
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