FBI director honors Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

FBI Director Robert Mueller Monday honored Efrem Zimbalist Jr. The actor portrayed Inspector Lewis Erskine in the old “FBI” TV series. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more.

Frank Stoltze: At a ceremony at the Westwood Federal Building, Mueller said Zimbalist, as Inspector Erskine, embodied the values of an FBI special agent: fidelity, bravery, and integrity.

Robert Mueller: We could not have asked for a better character or a better man to play this role.

Stoltze: “The FBI” ran nine seasons, starting in 1965. As dozens of agents looked on, 90-year-old Zimbalist said not everyone supported it.

Efrem Zimbalist Jr.: I mean in the days that we were making this series, there were a lot of people who pooh-poohed the whole idea of the FBI and law enforcement, and yet you have gone on just quiet soldiers of justice.

Stoltze: There was no mention of some of the agency’s other work at the time, including domestic spying.

Zimbalist met once a year with J. Edgar Hoover and called him a friend. He said the late FBI chief closely monitored the show.

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