Van Williams, who is remembered for his one season stint as Britt Reid, aka “The Green Hornet” on the ABC fantasy crime solver from 1976-68 died November 28 in Scottsdale, Ariz., of kidney failure. He was 82.
Born on Feb. 27, 1934 in Fort Worth, Texas, Williams was discovered in Hawaii in 1956 by producer Mike Todd, who urged him to come to Hollywood to try his hand at acting. After a few guest roles, his big break came as co-star of ABC detective drama “Bourbon Street Beat,” set in New Orleans, which aired from 1959-60. When “Bourbon Street” was cancelled, his role was recycled for “Surfside 6,” also on ABC, from 1960-62. After more guest appearances, Williams switched to comedy in ABC sitcom “The Tycoon,” which aired from 1964-65.
Following a two episode guest spot on “Batman” in 1967 as Britt Reid alongside Bruce Lee as his sidekick Kato, the pair were cast in “The Green Hornet.” In the fall of 1975, Williams segued to Saturday morning for one season NBC action drama “Westwind.” He retired from acting in 1982 to open a Santa Monica, California communications company. Williams was also a longtime Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and worked at the Malibu, California, substation. In 1993, Williams made a cameo in “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.”
Williams is survived by his wife and three daughters.