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The death of “I spy” TV co-star Robert Culp.

Robert Culp, left, and Bill Cosby worked together from 1965 to 1968 in the groundbreaking drama "I Spy." (Associated Press)

Robert Culp and Bill Cosby knew they were taking a risk in the mid-1960s when the actors teamed up as globe-trotting spies in “I Spy.” The NBC series was the first drama in American television to feature an African American actor in a lead role.

But making history ultimately was secondary to their impact on each other, according to Cosby, who spoke warmly about his former costar who died unexpectedly this week after taking a fall near his Hollywood Hills home.