Martin Milner, ‘Adam-12’ star, dies

8 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Martin Milner Dies at 83; Actor Made His Name on ‘Route 66’.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Martin Milner, whose wholesome good looks helped make him the star of two hugely popular 1960s TV series, Route 66 and Adam-12, has died. Milner, who began his career as a teenager, became famous in 1960 alongside co-star George Maharis in the TV drama Route 66, which found two restless young men roaming the highway that the author John Steinbeck had dubbed “the Mother Road” in a Corvette convertible.Martin Milner, an actor who broke out of supporting movie roles as the quintessential clean-cut young man to achieve television stardom as one of two road-hungry bachelors in “Route 66” and later as a veteran police officer in “Adam-12,” died on Sunday at his home in Carlsbad, Calif.

, a veteran actor known for work on TV dramas such as Adam-12 and Route 66, has died, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department confirms to PEOPLE. He was the naïve fiancé of a ruthless New York columnist’s sister in “Sweet Smell of Success”; a helpful friend of John Barrymore’s wayward daughter Diana in “Too Much, Too Soon”; a shy young reporter surrounded by murderers in “Compulsion”; and the wide-eyed boy who loses the girl to the sophisticated older man in “Marjorie Morningstar,” based on Herman Wouk’s novel.

His former co-star on , Kent McCord, then confirmed to The Associated Press that the actor had died. “I had a long, long friendship with Marty and we remained friends up till the end,” McCord tells the news agency. “He was one of the really true great people of our industry with a long, distinguished career … The series was said to have been inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road and featured weekly guest stars including Robert Redford, Alan Alda and Gene Hackman in some of their earliest roles. He went on to appear in John Wayne’s Sands of Iwo Jima in 1949 and Operation Pacific in 1951, before transitioning to TV with several appearances in the classic police procedural Dragnet beginning in 1952. The series often tackled serious social issues, and its guest stars included major Hollywood names like Joan Crawford, Rod Steiger and Boris Karloff, as well as future notables like Robert Redford and Martin Sheen. Since bypassed in favor of bigger, faster interstates, the highway stretched unbroken from Chicago to the Pacific during the show’s heyday and was venerated as a driving force behind the country’s 20th-century, westward migration.

I was lucky to have him in my life.” Born in 1931 in Detroit, Milner grew up in Seattle and Los Angeles, where he studied theater at the University of Southern California before his acting career took off. The show was praised as depicting police work in a more realistic manner than previous series, and Milner’s performance inspired generations of future police officers – including LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck. “Adam-12 and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the LAPD to millions of viewers,” Beck said in a statement Monday. “His depiction of a professional and tough yet compassionate cop led thousands of men and women applying to become LAPD officers, including me. But ironically, the action often took place off the highway. “The problem was that once you get into Oklahoma and Texas on the route, the scenery is flat and boring,” Milner recounted in a 1997 interview. “Pictorially it just wasn’t very interesting.” Maharis, who became ill with hepatitis and missed part of the third season, left Route 66 at the end of that year amid rumors of a contract dispute.

He had met Webb when both were in the cast of the 1950 war film “Halls of Montezuma,” and had appeared in six episodes of Webb’s series “Dragnet” in the early days of his television career. “The really big stars have a drive that made them into superstars,” he said in an interview with The Toronto Star in 1994. “They can’t turn it off when they have that success. Godspeed Martin, you will live forever in our hearts.” Milner is survived by his wife, Judith Bess “Judy” Jones, a former singer and actress whom he married in 1957; daughter Molly, and sons Stuart and Andrew.

His father, Sam, was a film distributor, and his mother, Mildred, known professionally as Jerre Martin, was a dancer with the Paramount Theater circuit. Milner came by his red hair, and freckles, naturally.) Soon afterward, he received a diagnosis of polio, at the height of the epidemic, but he was able to return to the screen two years later, with John Wayne in “Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949). At the time, Webb was in the second year of making his Dragnet radio series — and two years away from turning the show into a TV series built around Webb as Sgt. Serving at Fort Ord on Monterey Bay, he was part of an unlikely group of fellow actor-soldiers, including David Janssen, Clint Eastwood and Richard Long. In 1960, Milner became a household face after Route 66 debuted, telling the itinerant stories of Tod Stiles, a once-wealthy young man who drove around America in his Corvette along with his friend Buz Murdock (George Maharis).

We didn’t know where we were going and sometimes we wouldn’t know what the script was until two days before shooting.” Route 66 ran for more than 115 episodes; Milner followed it up with Adam-12, which ran from 1968-’75. In 1975 he starred in his last theatrically released film, “The Swiss Family Robinson,” the third American movie based on that 1812 novel by Johann David Wyss. When the family moved to Los Angeles, he found jobs in movies, notably in his film debut as the second son in 1947’s Life with Father, which starred William Powell and Irene Dunne. He became a drive-time disc jockey in San Diego in the 1980s and hosted two fishing shows, “Let’s Talk Hook-Up” (in California) and “Let’s Talk Fishing” (syndicated) into the 2000s.

Others films were Louisa, Our Very Own Operation Pacific, Battle Zones, My Wife’s Best Friend, Springfield Rifle, The Long Gray Line, Mister Roberts, Gunfight at the O.K.

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