Martin Milner | ‘Route 66,’ ‘Adam-12’ star, 83

8 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Martin Milner, “Route 66” and “Adam-12” star, dies.

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.

He was the naive 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. Route 66 went off the air in 1964 and Milner soon found himself behind the wheel of another vehicle — a Los Angeles police patrol car in the hit series, Adam 12. Unlike the glamorous and exciting lives of TV private eyes, Adam 12 showed that most police cases are mundane and the work routine, but still compelling. 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. 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. ‘The really big stars have a drive that made them into superstars. . . .

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. 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. His father, Sam, was a film distributor, and his mother, Mildred, known professionally as Jerre Martin, was a dancer with the Paramount Theater circuit.

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. I was lucky to have him in my life.” LAPD’s chief, Charlie Beck, said that Milner’s “depiction of a professional and tough yet compassionate cop” led to his own decision to apply to the department. Milner had met Webb years before Route 66 when both were appearing in the feature film Halls of Montezuma, and Webb had hired him for an early radio version of Dragnet. Milner said lent the enterprise an uncommon freedom. “You could never do it again because, in those days, the networks didn’t keep such a tight rein on production, and by the time the network saw one show, we were in the next town,” he told Ohio66, a fan website, in 2001. “If they didn’t like it, it was too bad.” Early film roles included “The Sands of Iwo Jima,” ”Marjorie Morningstar” and (as Marty Milner) “Sweet Smell of Success.” 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.

Corral.” ”Valley of the Dolls” and “Three Guns for Texas.” Martin Sam Milner was born in Detroit and grew up in Seattle, where he worked as a child actor in local plays. 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 recovered and enrolled in theater arts at the University of Southern California but dropped out after a year to devote himself to his acting career.

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