"The runoff of DDT had been consumed by the fish, the fish had been eaten by the pelicans, whose metabolism had in turn been disturbed so that the lady pelican could no longer manufacture a sturdy shell," Albert told TV Guide in 1970. After learning more about the effects of DDT, he said, "I stopped being a conservationist.... I became terrified. The more I studied, the more terrified I got."
Sharing his ecological concerns on the "Tonight" and "Today" shows, he became, in the words of a TV Guide reporter, "a kind of ecological Paul Revere." The TV appearances led to speaking invitations from high schools, universities, and industrial and religious groups.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday June 01, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Eddie Albert obituary -- The obituary of actor Eddie Albert in Saturday's California section referred to the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City as the Museum of Radio and Television.
Albert formed a company to produce films to aid in "international campaigns against environmental pollution."
Home base for the actor-activist was an unpretentious Spanish-style house on an acre in Pacific Palisades, where Albert turned the frontyard into a cornfield. He also installed a giant greenhouse in the backyard, where he grew organic vegetables.
But a reporter learned better than to call Albert an ecologist.
"Ecologist, hell!" he scoffed in the 1970 TV Guide interview. "Too mild a word. Check the Department of Agriculture; 60% of the world is hungry already. With our soil impoverished, our air poisoned, our wildlife crippled by DDT, our rivers and lakes turning into giant cesspools, and mass starvation an apparent inevitability by 1976, I call myself a human survivalist!"
In 1963, Albert served as special world envoy for Meals for Millions, a philanthropic project providing nutritious, low-cost food to underprivileged people around the world. In 1970, he helped launch the first Earth Day on April 22 -- his birthday -- and four years later he served as a special consultant at the World Hunger Conference in Rome.
He was also director of the U.S. Commission on Refugees, national conservation chairman for the Boy Scouts of America and chairman of the Eddie Albert World Trees Foundation. In addition, he was a trustee of the National Recreation and Parks Assn. and a consumer advisory board member of the U.S. Department of Energy.
In Southern California, Albert and his wife -- who was born in Mexico City -- started teaching arts and music to children on L.A.'s Eastside in the late 1940s. Their efforts helped to create Plaza de la Raza, a community arts center in Lincoln Heights that has been operating officially since 1970. Albert was chairman of the board for many years. The center now includes the Margo Albert Theater, an outdoor stage and an art gallery.
Margo Albert died in 1985, also at the family home in Pacific Palisades. They were married 39 years.
A lifelong fitness enthusiast, Albert was still extremely active while battling Alzheimer's. His son, who was his primary caregiver over the years, told The Times that his father was shooting baskets and doing push-ups as recently as last month.
"The value of the things I got from him these last years was far beyond anything I was required to give," his son said.
Albert is also survived by a daughter, Maria Zucht, and two granddaughters. Services will be private.
Instead of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Plaza de la Raza, Attn. Rose Cano, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031.