Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. - Brother in Christ

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (November 30, 1918 – May 2, 2014)

After moving back to Santa Barbara in 2003, having been on the Canterbury trail for a while, my wife and I visited the Anglican Church of Our Savior at which time met for worship at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in the afternoon on Sundays. After the reading of the Ten Commandments with the congregational responses, a gentlemen in a black gown took to the pulpit and began reading the Epistle lesson. As I listened, somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking that this elderly man seemed familiar. That voice... But who was he? 

I grew up in the 1950s and 60s. Like many others, two of the shows I watched every week on TV were 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. Well, after the service we had the pleasure of meeting Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. My wife and I became members at that church, remaining there for several years before continuing our journey towards a more Reformed Christianity that brought us to El Camino Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Efrem was a devout Christian, someone worthy of emulating. He was a humble man who treated others as more important than himself. What I heard about him from others gave witness to my own experience. What I mean is, that though I only knew Efrem in the context of our church worship and fellowship, he always showed a genuine interest and care and made you feel that you were one of his friends. Although when I first met him I thought of him in terms of the TV characters he played. Since then and especially today I think of him in his real life role - that of a brother in Christ.

Below is a video from 2010 at the Bishop Diego High School chapel. It is Efrem reading from John 1 during the Lessons and Carols service:


  1. Thank you for this. He appears to have been a class act. My late mother-in-law remembers waiting on his Dad, the famous violinist, at times in a shop in Philadelphia; he taught for a time at the Curtis Institute, along with his son. Nice to know he was one of those the Lord redeemed.

  2. A. - so glad this brought back some good memories. A friend of mine of 40 years wrote this to me after reading this post from link on Facebook:

    Jack is this your blog? Back in the '50's when I was 10ish he made a movie at Castle AFB. Don't remember what it was called> my dad was the crew chief of the plane they used and he flew on. My dad respected him so much even then. they spent lots of time together between.shots. I never met him. But my dad spoke of him often. I would love to think he was a Christian and maybe shared his faith with my dad. I purposely saw all his movies etc. Thanks for sharing this.

    The movie was...

    Bombers B-52 is a 1957 Warner Bros.CinemaScope film starring Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Marsha Hunt and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and directed by Gordon Douglas, It was adapted from a Sam Rolfe story by screenwriter Irving Wallace.

  3. Thank you, Jack, for this post about Mr. Zimbalist. I am reminded of the impact of a godly and humble, Christ-like life. I am very encouraged by this post.