That “I Spy” Guy – Robert Culp

This article was originally published on my other website at on March 28, 2010. I wanted to share this story of my family’s brief encounter with Mr. Culp back in 1968.

Actor Robert Culp died of a heart attack outside his home in Los Angeles last week. Culp was best known for co-starring with Bill Cosby in the ground-breaking television series “I Spy” during the 1960s, Culp was 79 years old at the time of his passing on March 24.

“I Spy” was a groundbreaking first for TV, teaming Culp and Cosby as two buddies that traveled the world as spies – but posing as tournament tennis competitors. The first of many TV and movie interracial pairings, such as “Miami Vice” and many cops and robbers “buddy movies,” “I Spy” began during a period when racial equality was still just a dream and real racial and sexual diversity on TV was still at least fifteen years away. Black faces on TV were still very much a rarity in the mid to late 1960s.

In later years, Culp played presidents, cops, senators, devious businessmen, occasional villains, and more recently, a repeating role as Ray Romano’s father-in-law in the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

“I Spy” came along when fictional secret agents were very popular on both big and small screens, riding on the success of the James Bond movies starring Sean Connery and TV’s “Secret Agent,” Patrick McGoohan. Culp and Cosby played their roles with humor and occasional horseplay, rather than the brutality and violence that were central to the themes of their competitors.

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Disastrous December

After catching a little snowfall over Thanksgiving, December 2009 started out in a very pleasant way. That first weekend we took a short trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit family and to enjoy a long weekend away from home.

We visited Sharon’s father in Santa Rosa. At 93 years of age, he is feeling his age and requires a full time caretaker, but we were pleasantly surprised to see him getting around fairly well and quite conversant. We limited our visits to late morning and kept them short, but our time with him was quite enjoyable and allowed us to confirm the good care that he is getting.

The real highlight of our trip was the chance to see my grand daughter, Mia, dance in the “Nutcracker Ballet” at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Marin County Civic Center. The Marin County office building and the auditorium were both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and are excellent examples of his architectural genius.

On Saturday, December 5th, Mia filled one of the supporting roles, that of a Spanish dancer; both her beauty and talent showed during throughout her brief performance. We watched the show with her parents, Kim and Pete, her sister Kendall, and several of her family’s friends.

On Sunday, we returned to the auditorium and were joined by Mia’s grandmother, Julie, her cousin Shane, along with aunts Kristen and Kelly. We all watched Mia perform the lead role of Clara – which kept her on stage during about half of the entire performance. Again, I was amazed at her skill as a ballerina and her youthful, yet mature beauty.

I found it nearly impossible to keep from tearing up throughout both performances. To say that Mia exceeded our expectations in every way would be totally honest, and yet we should have known that with her dedication to her art along with the total and uncompromising support of her immediate family – that her performance would be exceptional.

OK. That was the fun part of December.

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Where have I been?

I apologize to friends, family –  and even a few of my detractors – for being absent for so long and for failing to update this website. I’ve been busy. Very busy. To say that my bucket has been full over the past few years would be, at the minimum, a gross understatement.

So I’ve decided to toss up a few short postings to try to bring everyone who cares up-to-date who reads this blog on what’s going on in my life. I always look forward to hearing from all of my friends and family, past and present, so email me at and keep in touch.


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Misery in Oregon

Yesterday was my birthday. Everything was great, good weather, nice lunch, and little trip to Macy’s for a pair of fancy flip-flops and a couple pairs of badly needed pants. Oh, yeah, and a quick stop at See’s Candy Store for a box of two-dozen truffles – dietetic, of course.

Now that I am older and more mature, I have to take a fresh look at my life and surroundings.  You simply can not  imagine what I am forced to endure almost every day – especially during the summer and fall.

Sometimes, way up here in the Great Green Pacific Northwest, I wonder if anyone cares what we have to suffer through in these barely livable surroundings: Sun blocked out by the tall evergreens; small birds eating our very valuable seed; vicious and out-of-control squirrels roaming around our backyard, running between houses, and jumping from tree to tree. All of that and the nosey neighbors who are always trying to loan us their tools or wanting to help us with some project.

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