Efrem Zimbalist Jr
Efrem Zimbalist Jr died at his ranch in California.

American actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr has died at the age of 95

Zimbalist Jr played Inspector Lewis Erskine in the long-running TV show The FBI, which ran from 1965 until 1974.

He first became a household name in the US playing private investigator Stu Bailey in 77 Sunset Strip, from 1958 to 1964.

He retired to his ranch in Solvang, California, where he died on Friday (May 2).

His daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and son Efrem Zimbalist III issued a statement saying: "We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr, at his Solvang ranch.

"He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends."

In addition to his leading TV roles, Zimbalist Jr made numerous stage and film appearances. His stage debut was opposite Spencer Tracy in The Rugged Path.

The FBI honoured Zimbalist Jr by making him an honorary "G-man" in 2009.

"We could not have asked for a better character, or a better man, to play his role,'' said the then-FBI director Robert Mueller.

Zimbalist Jr's appeared in the TV show Maverick and starred in several films including Airport in 1975 and Hot Shots!

He served in the infantry in World War Two, and was awarded a Purple Heart.