Robert Conrad, best known as the star of popular 1960s television series The Wild Wild West has died. He was 84. The news of Conrad's passing was confirmed by family spokesman Jeff Ballard (via 1010 WINS) who said that actor had died at his home in Malibu, California with heart failure being given as the cause of death.
Conrad was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 1, 1935 and worked as a milkman while he pursued a career as a nightclub singer. In 1958, Conrad moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and soon after landed his first major television role as Tom Lopaka in Hawaiian Eye in 1959. Following success on Hawaiian Eye, Conrad starred as Secret Service agent James T. West in The Wild Wild West which ran from 1965 to 1969 on CBS. Conrad did most of his own stunts in the series, and was inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame in 2010 for his work. When The Wild Wild West was turned into a film in 1999 starring Will Smith, Conrad wasn't fond of the remake. Conrad called the remake "horrible" and "pathetic" and appeared in person at the Razzie Awards to accept three of the awards bestowed upon the film.
Following the success of television's The Wild Wild West, Conrad went on to have an expansive career in television, appearing in a wide variety of other television series as well as television films. Conrad also worked as a writer, director, and producer of television, including the short-lived High Mountain Rangers. He also appeared in the music video for Richard Marx's "Hazard" in the 1990s.
“There are three cycles in showbiz,” Conrad told PEOPLE in 1988. “They don’t know you, then they love you, and then you’ve been around so long they hate you. Now I’m starting all over again.”
Outside of television, Conrad also appeared in a number of theatrical films as well, including 1979's The Lady in Red, 1994's Samurai Cowboy, and 1996's Jingle All the Way in which he played Officer Hummell. His most recent film credit is 2002's Dead Above Ground. Conrad was also the host of a weekly, two-hour national radio talk show, The PM Show with Robert Conrad which he began hosting in 2008. His final appearance on the radio show was last July.
According to PEOPLE, a private service honoring Conrad is scheduled for March 1, which would have been the actor's 85th birthday. He is survived by 18 grandchildren and eight children.