The hits keep on coming, sadly. Earlier this week Bob Hoskins passed away. On Friday, actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. passed away at his home at the age of 95, surrounded by his family. Zimbalist Jr. had a noted lengthy television career that spanned from the 50s all the way into the late 90s, though, for many geeks, one role he had in the 90s what they'll always remember him for: Alfred the butler on Batman: The Animated Series.
Actually, he wasn't the original voice actor for the character. Clive Revill had voiced Alfred for three episodes before having to drop out of the show due to a prior commitment.The rest, as they say, is history, and now, much like Kevin Conroy is always associated with the role of Batman, so was Zimbalist Jr., who kept on reprising the role all the way into early 00s with Justice League, with Alfred.
However, that wasn't the only cartoon from the that time geeks will remember him for. He was also the voice of Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which aired around the same time period as BTAS. He brought an egotiscal tone to the character, and backed it up with the smartness to boot. It was obvious he truly enjoyed this role as well, going on to reprise it in the 2000 video game Spider-Man.
The 90s brought him roles on other animated shows as well: Gargoyles, Iron Man (as Justin Hammer for both seasons), Mighty Ducks, and.. Biker Mice from Mars. Though for this reporter he will also be remembered as Don Alejandro de Vega in the 90s television program Zorro (which aired on the Family Channel, and he only appeared for one season on the program). As with most of his live action roles (and with Alfred as well), Zimbalist Jr. brought a dapper, charming personality to his character.
Another great role that he played against type was as the main villain in Hot Shots! (1991) and the charismatic leader of the anti-telepath movement William Edgars on Babylon 5. Whatever was the case there was always a role that Zimbalist Jr. portrayed you just couldn't help but remember him as.
Here's to you good sir!
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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