Van Williams (1934 - 2016)

Van Williams, an actor known best for starring on the 1960s TV series “The Green Hornet,” has died at the age of 82, according to multiple news sources.

The actor died of kidney failure Nov. 28 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, his wife, Vicki, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Before he starred on “The Green Hornet,” Williams portrayed bachelor private detective Kenny Madison on the TV series “Bourbon Street Beat” and “Surfside 6.”

Williams starred as the playboy editor Britt Reid who at night dons a mask and fights crime as the Green Hornet. The ABC series, which debuted in 1966 as a companion to the popular “Batman” series, featured famed martial arts legend Bruce Lee in the role of the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato. The series only lasted for one season.

Williams said this about starring as the Green Hornet:

"When I was a kid I had actually been a fan of ‘The Green Hornet’ when it was on the radio and in those serials at the theater, but I didn’t know if I wanted to star in a TV series like that," Williams told interviewer Michael Barnum. "It was very similar to Adam West’s show … and seemed like something that would probably be the kiss of death to my career. You do that type of show and become so identified with it, like ‘Superman’s’ George Reeves was, and you can never get away from it. But, my agency, William Morris, really wanted me to do ‘The Green Hornet,’ so that is what I did."


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After “The Green Hornet,” Williams next starred on the 1975 children’s adventure series “Westwind,” which aired Saturday mornings on NBC. He appeared as a guest on television series including “Barnaby Jones” and “The Rockford Files.”

He mostly retired from acting in the early 1980s. He became a reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Williams was born Feb. 27, 1934, in Fort Worth, Texas. He was working as a skin-diving instructor in Hawaii when he was discovered by movie producer Michael Todd, who was the husband of Elizabeth Taylor. He convinced Williams to try acting.

He declined to appear in a cameo in the 2011 “Green Hornet” movie that starred Seth Rogen.

"He wanted nothing to do with that movie," his wife said.

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