Roger Smith, who helped bring the detective genre back to life on TV in the late 1950s and early 1960s as one of the stars of “77 Sunset Strip,” has died. USA Today reports that Smith died Sunday morning in a hospital in Los Angeles.
Smith had been battling the nerve disease myasthenia gravis for years. He was 84.
Smith co-starred with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on ABC’s “77 Sunset Strip” from 1958 to 1963, with the show making stars of both men and a teen heartthrob of Edd “Kookie” Byrnes.
“’77 Sunset Strip’ had been created by producer-writer Roy Huggins, who also created ‘Maverick,’ and it spawned a host of spinoffs and knockoffs, including ‘Hawaiian Eye,’ ‘Surfside 6’ and ‘Bourbon Street Beat,'” USA Today notes.
Smith later played the title role on NBC’s short-lived “Mister Roberts.” He married Ann-Margret in 1967 and soon quit acting to focus on managing her career.