Efrem Zimbalist (Jr)

  1. Raymond Burr, Perry Mason, TV, 1957-1966.    When the overweight Burr agreed to shed 60 lbs to be the LA DA Hamilton Burger, he was the perfect Mason.  Also in  the mix for the defence attorney who rarely lost a case were Richard Carlson, Richard Egan, William Holden, William Hopper (he became Mason’s private eye, Paul Drake), Fred MacMurray, John Shelton, William Tallman (given Ham Burger (!), instead). “Wecouldn’t afford a big star,” explained producer Gail Patrick Jackson. No shows did in the 50s – they simply made big stars.Such as two other Mason wannabes: Mike Connors (becoming Mannix, 1967-1975) and Zimbalist (heading 77 Sunset Strip, 1958-1964).
  2. John Gavin, Back Street, 1960.    For the third Hollywood take on Fannie Hurst’s notorious weepie, the married guy with Susan Hayward as a mistress was a battle between Steve Forrrest, William Holden, Peter Lawford, Gregory Peck, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Plus “how old Cary Grant?” – who was just that. “Too old.”  In her July 15 column, gossip queen Hedda Hopper stupidly suggested Gavin. Hadn’t the great know-all heard that Hitchcock called him The Stiff the year before during Psycho? Bet she never mentioned in her column that Gavin never made another Hollywood film for six years!

  3. Brad Dillman, A Rage To Love, 1965.  The  TV star of The FBI and 77 Sunset Strip  missed nothing as John O’Hara’s trashy novel limped into the movies on a drip-feed.


 Birth year: 1918Death year: 2014Other name: JrCasting Calls:  3