Poor Robert Culp, a good actor and a very well-liked fellow, suddenly died yesterday. The 79 year-old TV actor fell and hit his head near his Hollywood hills home, and that was it. He went out in this respect like Jeffrey Hunter and William Holden (although Holden’s death, caused by gashing his head on a coffee table, is thought to have been primarily caused by alcohol).

Culp was a talented guy and a highly appealing presence, but he suffered the career fate of peaking in his mid to late 30s (with I Spy and Paul Mazursky‘s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) and then treading water for the next 40-plus years — working and living and having a healthy life, but his glory days well behind him. He kept in shape and looked good and stood up for caged elephants, but….aahh, let it go. I’m just thinking it would have been nice if Culp could have found some kind of comeback role in a TV series or indie film or whatever.

Here’s Carrie Rickey‘s appreciation piece, and Joe Leydon’s.