It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that The Green Hornet himself Van Williams has passed away at the age of 82 years old in Scottsdale, Arizona. His death was a result of renal failure.
Williams was a diving instructor in Hawaii when he was discovered in 1957 by producer Mike Todd, who was married to Elizabeth Taylor at the time. Williams was persuaded to come to Hollywood and try his hand at acting. This led to a role in Bourbon Street Beat which in turn led to The Green Hornet. Williams also stared in Surfside 6 and Westwind as well as appearing in The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Streets of San Francisco, Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected, and The Rockford Files.
He retired from acting in 1982 to open a Santa Monica, California communications company that leases time on six two-way radio repeater stations. 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 had a cameo in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story as the director of The Green Hornet. In 2010, the filmmakers of the 2011 Green Hornet film adaptation wanted Williams to make a cameo appearance as a cemetery guard, but Williams was unavailable.
The Texas born star is survived by his wife of 57 years Vicki Williams, his three children and grandchildren. Vicki told Variety that Van was “a wonderful, caring, and kind heart.He was a wonderful husband, he was a fabulous father, and a devoted grandfather.”