Arts & Entertainment

FBI director honors Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

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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.