Was an American actor, screenwriter, voice actor, and director, widely known for his work in television. Culp earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy (1965–1968), the espionage television series in which co-star Bill Cosby and he played secret agents. Before this, he starred in the CBS/Four Star Western series Trackdown as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman in 71 episodes from 1957 to 1959. The 1980s brought him back to television as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero. Later he had a recurring role as Warren Whelan on Everybody Loves Raymond. Culp gave hundreds of performances in a career spanning more than 50 years.
Culp was born on August 16, 1930, in either Oakland, California, or Berkeley, California. He was the only child of Crozier Cordell Culp, an attorney, and his wife, Bethel Martin Culp (née Collins). He graduated from Berkeley High School, where he was a pole vaulter and took second place at the 1947 CIF California State Meet.
Culp attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California but did not graduate. He later attended Washington University in St. Louis, San Francisco State, and the University of Washington School of Drama, but never completed an academic degree. He received his acting training at HB Studio in New York City.
Culp married five times and is the father of five children. With his second wife, Nancy Wilner, he had sons Joshua (1958), Jason (1961), and Joseph (1963), and daughter Rachel (1964). With his last wife, he had another daughter Samantha (1982).
Culp was married to Vietnamese-French actress France Nguyen (known as France Nuyen), from 1967 to 1970, whom he met when she guest-starred on I Spy. She appeared in four episodes, two of them written by Culp. Culp and Nuyen also co-hosted the second episode of the infamous TV comedy Turn-On in 1969, but the program was never shown, as the series was canceled after its first airing.
Culp’s grandson, Elmo Kennedy O’Connor, is a rapper and performs under the alias Bones.
Culp died of a heart attack on March 24, 2010, near his Hollywood Hills home. He was buried at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito. A memorial service was held at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles on April 10, 2010.
At the time of his death, Culp had just completed performing a supporting role as “Blakesley” in the film The Assignment. He was also working on several screenplays, including an adaptation of the story of Terry and the Pirates that had already been accepted for filming and was scheduled to start production in Hong Kong in 2012, with Culp directing. Terry and the Pirates had been Culp’s favorite comic strip as a boy, and it was his long-time wish to make a film based on it.
Relationship: third cousin once removed descending
Pearson Raymond Smith
Margaret Alice Woods
Nancy Ann Simpson
Eliza W Simpson
Joseph M Collins
Bethel Martin Collins
Robert Martin Culp