In Memoriam: Robert Culp, 1930-2010

The death of Robert Culp got me thinking about his career, starting with one of the coolest opening-theme credits ever, on “I Spy.” (If you’ve never seen it, here’s a link.)

The chemistry between Culp and Bill Cosby on “I Spy” was a wonderful thing to watch — better, almost invariably, than the plot lines — and exhibited a light comedic flair that Culp later brought to “Greatest American Hero.”

Culp also starred in perhaps the best installment of “The Outer Limits,” the original Harlan Ellison-penned story “Demon With a Glass Hand.” I actually watched it again a couple of years ago (where I find time for crap like that is anybody’s guess), and even with the cheesy special effects, the storytelling quality really holds up.

Despite his lengthy resume, I always thought Culp was an underappreciated talent — as comfortable in westerns (I’m particularly fond of a guest shot he did on “The Rifleman” way back in 1960) as he was in comedy (which included playing the title character’s father-in-law on “Everybody Loves Raymond”).

In short, Robert Culp was a very big part of my misspent TV-watching youth. I never met him, but I’ll miss him nonetheless.

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