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

8 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. 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., 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.Despite having a career than spanned an impressive six decades, the Hollywood legend is bets known for his portrayal of patrol officer Pete Malloy alongside Kent McCord’s Officer Jim Reed on Adam-12.

Despite going on to land several role after Life With Father – including parts in Sweet Smell Of Success and Valley Of The Dolls – it wasn’t until 1960 that his next big hit came along in the form of Route 66. 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 wideeyed boy who loses the girl to the sophisticated older man in “Marjorie Morningstar,” based on Herman Wouk’s novel.

The double act became household names as they travelled form town to town in an iconic Corvette, tackling social issues and attempting to change the States’ cultural landscape. Milner was also praised on social media by LAPD chief Charlie Beck. “Adam-12 and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the LAPD to millions of viewers,” Beck wrote on Twitter. “His depiction of a professional & tough yet compassionate cop led to thousands of men & women applying to become LAPD officers, including me. Milner, who began his career as a teen actor, shot to fame in 1960 with co-star George Maharis in the iconic TV drama “Route 66,” which found two restless young men roaming the highway author John Steinbeck had dubbed “The Mother Road” in a red Corvette convertible.

The series finished in 1975 and Milner then went on to feature in an array of projects across film and TV – including appearances in Fantasy Island, Airwolf and Macyver. Godspeed Martin, you will live forever in our hearts.” Milner starred as Malloy on 174 episodes of Adam-12, which ran from 1968 to 1975. “I had a long, long friendship with Marty and we remained friends up till the end,” Kent McCord, who played Milner’s onscreen partner in the hit show, told the Associated Press on Monday. “He was one of the really true great people of our industry with a long, distinguished career…Wonderful films, wonderful television shows, pioneering shows like Route 66. But before he played a Los Angeles cop, he was hepcat drifter Tod Stiles, who, with pal Buz Murdock (George Maharis), zoomed cross-country in a convertible Corvette in search of The Meaning of Life and women … usually, in their case, the same thing. But as The New York Times noted in 2012, when the series was finally released in a boxed set, it was also something bigger than just another prime-time escape along the black-and-white road to nowhere.

In 1960, Milner would star on Route 66, a popular series that ran for four years and featured guest appearances from the likes of Robert Duvall, James Caan, Lee Marvin, Walter Matthau, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Burt Reynolds and many more. (George Maharis played Milner’s cohort in that show.) 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.

His father, Sam, was a film distributor, and his mother, Mildred, known professionally as Jerre Martin, was a dancer with the Paramount Theater circuit. 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. By way of proof he points to one of three Route 66 episodes shot entirely in Dallas: “Aren’t You Surprised To See Me?,” which aired in Season 2. (The whole series was shot on location, which provides us with close to three hours’ worth of glimpses of pre-JFK Dallas — including Dallas Love Field, the recently opened Dallas Trade Mart and the old Wyatt’s cafeteria in Preston Center — and copious references to The Dallas News and Dallas Times Herald.) You can watch the whole episode here; that’s the intro above.

The man (played by David Wayne) explains himself in a dizzying monologue that foreshadows both the anti-establishment mood of the Vietnam era and the current laments of the religious right.” “Drop the scales from your eyes,” the man tells Buz while they’re parked on Commerce and St. 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).

Milner served in the Army from 1952 to 1954, stationed in California, directing training films and appearing in touring shows, and he attended the University of Southern California for a year. Instead we have a shame culture, one in which acts are judged good or evil solely on the basis of whether one is caught or not, in which the worst punishment is public humiliation, not private guilt.

This is an age which no longer waits patiently through this lifetime for the rewards in the next, but instead mills anxiously about overindulging, driven to cheat, driven to crime. In 1975 he starred in his last theatrically released film, “The Swiss Family Robinson,” the third American movie based on the 1812 novel by Johann David Wyss. So what is that insignificant sacrifice against the gigantic moral collapse of the world?” (Beatle Bob also does a pretty nifty job tying two Dallas-shot episodes to the Kennedy assassination. There’s another take here.) The two other locally shot episodes are also available: “Love is a Skinny Kid” (shot mostly in Lewisville and Seagoville and featuring Tuesday Weld, Cloris Leachman and, in the scene below, Burt Reynolds … … and the Mesquite-made “A Long Piece of Mischief” (with Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens and Denver Pyle).

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.

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