1960s TV Crimefighter Dies — He Starred on the Show That Introduced U.S. Audiences to Bruce Lee

Dec 7, 2016  •  Post A Comment

An actor who played crimefighters on TV during the 1960s and 1970s — notably on the short-lived ABC series “The Green Hornet” — has died. The New York Times reports that Van Williams died recently at a care facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Williams reportedly died of renal failure. He was officially declared dead Nov. 29, but apparently died the night before. He was 82.

Williams starred as Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet, on the ABC series, which lasted just one season, airing 26 episodes during the 1966-67 season. He also appeared as the Green Hornet on crossover episodes of “Batman.”

“The Green Hornet” featured Bruce Lee as the title character’s aide Kato, a role that played a big part in introducing Lee to U.S. audiences.

Williams previously had regular roles on “Bourbon Street Beat,” “Surfside 6” and “The Tycoon,” along with guest spots on shows including “Cheyenne,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” He continued to work consistently on TV during the 1970s, with a regular role on “Westwind” along with many guest spots, including appearances on “Mission: Impossible,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Barnaby Jones” and “The Rockford Files.”

“A tall, athletic Texan, Mr. Williams looked the part of a superhero and grew up an actual cowboy — although, curiously, he was not cast in many Westerns,” The Times notes.

Here’s a clip from a crossover episode of “Batman” in which Batman and Robin encounter Williams and Lee as the Green Hornet and Kato …

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