Star of ’77 Sunset Strip,’ dies at age 84

77-Sunset-Strip-Actor-Roger-Smith

He was the man of Tinseltown for many years with his classic good looks, sharp acting skills, amicable smile and well-known TV show starring roles before managing his wife’s career for 50 years.

Actor Roger Smith, who brought glamour to the TV detective genre as a hip private eye on “77 Sunset Strip,” has died. He was 84.

Jack Gilardi, who is the agent of Smith’s widow, actress Ann-Margret, said the actor died Sunday morning at a Los Angeles hospital after battling a terminal illness. Smith had battled the nerve disease myasthenia gravis for many years.

The actor launched his career in the 1950s when James Cagney spotted him and recommended him for films. He survived two serious illnesses to have a second career after “77 Sunset Strip” as manager of his second wife, entertainer Ann-Margret.

From 1958 to 1963, he co-starred with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on the glossy ABC series. It made stars of both men and a teen heartthrob out of Edd Byrnes, who played a colorful parking lot attendant named Kookie.

He also had a role in Mr. Roberts a television comedy-drama.

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