Robert Culp

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Robert Culp (1930-2010) talks about his childhood interests and how he aspired to be an animator for Disney when he grew up. He talks about his acting training and his move to New York City, breaking into theater and television. He explains how he was able to get work in television as an indirect result of the Hollywood Blacklist: since he was a newcomer, he had no affiliations. He talks about his early experiences in Los Angeles as a struggling actor and describes his first role as a series regular on the series Trackdown, which he calls a "western Dragnet." He speaks fondly of working with Dick Powell, whose Four Star Productions produced this series. He describes some of the roles he had in a variety of the popular TV genres of the day— western, detective, medical, sci-fi— including his memorable parts on the classic sci-fi anthology The Outer Limits. He then speaks in great detail about the role and the series for which he is most closely associated: "Kelly Robinson" on I, Spy. For this series he talks about the on-location shooting, working with co-star Bill Cosby (and the controversial casting of an African-American lead), and talks about some of the series' episodes in which he acted as well as wrote. He then speaks about two other series in which he memorably appeared: The Greatest American Hero and Everybody Loves Raymond. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on November 6, 2007.

"...On opening night, the lights hit me and I went backstage and sat  behind the flats, listening.  Not to the people onstage. I knew what they were saying. To the audience. I had never experienced that before. It was alive. I had never been so thrilled in my life. I never stopped working as an actor from then on."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Robert Culp on working on Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Robert Culp on co-starring in The Greatest American Hero
Robert Culp on meeting Barbara Stanwyck on The Barbara Stanwyck Show
Robert Culp on the development and production of I Spy
Robert Culp on his first television work in Los Angeles on Matinee Theater
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years, education, and start in acting; on his stage work; on his transition to television; on winning an Obie Award

Chapter 2

On his early career
On moving to Los Angeles; on his first L.A. television work (including Matinee Theater); on his starring role in Trackdown

Chapter 3

On writing and acting on Westerns; on working with Sam Peckinpah
On his work on Alfred Hitchcock Presents; on meeting Barbara Stanwyck and Mary Astor

Chapter 4

On working as a guest actor and writer Cain's Hundred
On the development and production of I Spy

Chapter 5

On his relationship with I Spy co-star Bill Cosby; on I Spy being the first show with black and white characters in equal roles; on the legacy of I Spy; on the later reunion TV movie
On co-starring in The Greatest American Hero

Chapter 6

On the rumor of his being set to replace Larry Hagman on Dallas
On his work on three episodes of The Outer Limits
On his work on Everybody Loves Raymond
On his then-current projects; on his achievements; on his advice to aspiring actors; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Robert Culp on working on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Barbara Stanwyck Show, The

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Robert Culp on meeting Barbara Stanwyck on The Barbara Stanwyck Show

Cain's Hundred

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Robert Culp on working on Cain's Hundred

Dallas

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Robert Culp on the rumor of his being set to replace Larry Hagman on Dallas

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Robert Culp on his work on Everybody Loves Raymond

Greatest American Hero, The

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Robert Culp on co-starring in The Greatest American Hero
Robert Culp on the rumor of his being set to replace Larry Hagman on Dallas

I Spy

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Robert Culp on the development and production of I Spy
Robert Culp on his relationship with I Spy co-star Bill Cosby, on I Spy being the first show with black and white characters in equal roles, on the legacy of I Spy, on the later reunion TV movie

NBC Matinee Theater

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Robert Culp on his first television work in Los Angeles on Matinee Theater

Outer Limits, The (1963-65)

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Robert Culp on his work on three episodes of The Outer Limits

Rifleman, The

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Robert Culp on meeting and working with Sam Peckinpah (on The Westerner episode "Line Camp")

Shirley Temple's Storybook

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Robert Culp working on a Shirley Temple's Storybook episode when he heard that President Kennedy was shot

Trackdown

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Robert Culp on starring in the western series Trackdown

Westerner, The

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Robert Culp on meeting and working with Sam Peckinpah (on The Westerner episde "Line Camp")

You Are There

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Robert Culp on his first work for television on You Are There and on how his being new to television during the Blacklist period got him started in television
Topics

Diversity in Television

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Robert Culp on I Spy's having black and white equal leads

Historic Events and Social Change

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Robert Culp working on a Shirley Temple's Storybook episode when he heard that President Kennedy was shot

Hollywood Blacklist

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Robert Culp on his first work for television on You Are There and on how his being new to television during the Blacklist period got him started in television

Industry Crossroads

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Robert Culp on his first work for television on You Are There and on how his being new to television during the Blacklist period got him started in television

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Robert Culp working on a Shirley Temple's Storybook episode when he heard that President Kennedy was shot

Television Industry

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Robert Culp on his first work for television on You Are There and on how his being new to television during the Blacklist period got him started in television
Genres

Western Series

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Robert Culp on the Western genre
Robert Culp on writing for the Western genre
People

Mary Astor

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Robert Culp on Mary Astor

Stephen J. Cannell

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Robert Culp on co-starring in The Greatest American Hero

Bill Cosby

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Robert Culp on the development and production of I Spy
Robert Culp on his relationship with I Spy co-star Bill Cosby, on I Spy being the first show with black and white characters in equal roles, on the legacy of I Spy, on the later reunion TV movie

Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Robert Culp on working on Cain's Hundred

Sheldon Leonard

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Robert Culp on the development and production of I Spy

Paul Monash

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Robert Culp on working on Cain's Hundred

Sam Peckinpah

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Robert Culp on meeting and working with Sam Peckinpah (on The Westerner episde "Line Camp")

Dick Powell

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Robert Culp on starring in the western series Trackdown

Fouad Said

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Robert Culp on the development and production of I Spy

Barbara Stanwyck

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Robert Culp on meeting Barbara Stanwyck on The Barbara Stanwyck Show

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