Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Obituary: Van Williams

Actor Van Williams, noted for starring in a number of television series in the early 1960s but best remembered in the title role of the one-season show The Green Hornet, has died after a battle with kidney failure, according to his wife. He was the last surviving regular cast member of the series.

Williams co-starred with Bruce Lee, who played Kato, and later became internationally famous for his martial arts-oriented action movies. Unfortunately, he died in 1973 of a reaction to a medication he took.

Here is an episode from YouTube. Most if not all of the episodes are there. I am surprised these episodes haven't been taken down and probably will be:

Williams, who was one of those good-looking guys that were so plentiful during the first couple of decades of television, appeared in Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside 6, two programs from the Warner Brothers stable of private eye shows. Those two series were less well known than 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye.

He looked a bit like John Gavin, among the best looking of all of the actors from that era if not THE best looking.


The series only lasted for one season. Williams said this about starring as the Green Hornet;

"When I was a kid I had actually been a fan of The Green Hornet when it was on the radio and in those serials at the theater, but I didn’t know if I wanted to star in a TV series like that," Williams told interviewer Michael Barnum. "It was very similar to Adam West’s show … and seemed like something that would probably be the kiss of death to my career. You do that type of show and become so identified with it, like Superman’s George Reeves was, and you can never get away from it. But, my agency, William Morris, really wanted me to do The Green Hornet, so that is what I did."

Williams continued to act for the next decade or so, but he decided to call it quits and retired in the 1980s. He pursued a variety of business interests and did quite well for himself.

New York Times:

Vanzandt Jarvis Williams was born in Fort Worth on Feb. 27, 1934. His parents, Bernard C. Williams and the former Priscilla Jarvis, owned a cattle ranch there; Mr. Williams grew up working on the ranch and participated in rodeos.

He graduated from Texas Christian University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting.

His other television appearances included “77 Sunset Strip,” “Mission: Impossible” and “How the West Was Won.” Among his other films were “Tall Story” (1960) and “The Caretakers” (1963).

In 1959, he married Vicki Flaxman, with whom he lived in Scottsdale and Hailey, Idaho. In addition to her, he is survived by their three daughters, Nina Fox, Tia Williams and Britt Willard; two daughters from an earlier marriage, Lisa Self and Lynne Newman; and several grandchildren.

According to IMDB, his second wife was a professional surfer when they met in Hawaii way, way back.

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