Van Williams has passed away. Image: Wikipedia

Actor turned police officer and firefighter Van Williams died last week at the age of 82. Williams appeared in many popular TV shows in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but was best known for playing The Green Hornet on the iconic TV series, alongside Bruce Lee as Kato.

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In 1957, Williams was discovered as a Hawaiian diving instructor by the then husband of Elizabeth Taylor. He went to Hollywood and immediately starting acting. After Green Hornet, he also appeared on The Beverly Hillbillies and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Williams hadn’t acted in decades, however. In the late ‘70s, he turned in his fame to first become a reserve deputy sheriff and then a firefighter in the Los Angeles area. It’s rare that someone who played a hero in make believe becomes one in real life, but that’s what Williams did.

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[Variety]