Efrem Zimbalist Jr., an actor whose mellifluous voice and air of European sophistication left a distinctive stamp on two popular television crime series, died Saturday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif. He was 95.

His son, Efrem Zimbalist III, confirmed the death, saying that his father had been outside watering his lawn when a handyman found him lying in the grass.

“He was healthy, playing golf three days a week and always in his garden,” his son said.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was born on Nov. 30, 1918, in New York City. In a 1959 interview with The New York Times, he said his unusual surname was good for at least one thing: “It’s kept me out of westerns. I can’t imagine a Hopalong Zimbalist.”

He was in fact proud of his name, and of his heritage. His father was a Russian-born violinist and composer who became the director of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. His mother was the well-known concert soprano Alma Gluck.

After graduating from prep school, Mr. Zimbalist attended Yale University, where he led the life of a bon vivant. He was expelled, reinstated and expelled again for low grades and amassed, by his own account, thousands of dollars of debt at New Haven haberdasheries and gourmet shops.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/ar...-at-95.html?hp