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HomeEntertainmentGeorge Maharis, star of 'Route 66,' dies at age 94

George Maharis, star of ‘Route 66,’ dies at age 94


George Maharis, who starred as the brooding Buz Murdock Route 66 before quitting the critically acclaimed 1960s CBS drama after contracting hepatitis, has passed away. He turned 94.

Maharis passed away Wednesday at his house Beverly Hills, its a long time friend and caretaker Marc Bahan told Ee Hollywood reporter.

Route 66created by Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard, in which Hell’s Kitchen native Murdock and Martin Milner’s Yale dropout Tod Stiles tour the highways of America in Tod’s Chevrolet Corvette, encountering adventure along the way.

The show “was really kind of a quest or what you might have seen hundreds of years ago where the people came over the mountains to move from one place to another to find a better life, a place where they belonged, and they didn’t “I can’t rely on anyone else to do it for them,” Maharis said The Seattle Times in 2008.

All 116 episodes of the series over four seasons, beginning in October 1960, were filmed in US cities, making for a grueling production schedule.

Midway through the third season in late 1962, Maharis contracted hepatitis, was hospitalized for a month, and missed several episodes. (It was explained on the show that Buz was battling an “echovirus” in a Cleveland hospital, and Tod got a new traveling companion, Lincoln Case, played by Glenn Corbett).

Maharis returned to Route 66 but did not stay long and suffered a relapse. “The doctor said, ‘If you don’t get out now, you’ll die or you’ll have permanent liver damage,'” says Maharis. recalled during a 2007 interview.

Maharis, who had received an Emmy nomination in 1962 for playing Buz, said it was more than two years before he was able to work regularly again.

The dark-haired actor ventured into films, starring in John Sturges’ The Satan bug (1965), a sci-fi thriller for The Mirisch Co. and United Artists, but he never achieved the Rebel stardom his TV popularity predicted.

Maharis was born on September 1, 1928, in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York, one of seven children of Greek immigrants. He attended Flushing High School and spent 18 months in the United States Marines.

Aspiring to be a singer, he became interested in acting and studied with Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio, then parodied fellow Method actor Marlon Brando in the NBC comedy Mr Piepers in 1955.

Maharis landed his first major role in an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s Death watch in 1958 and appeared in Edward Albee’s first produced play, The story of the zooalso off-Broadway, two years later.

He portrayed an underground freedom fighter for Otto Preminger Exodus (1960), and on the CBS soap opera Look for tomorrowhe played as a gambler who abused his wife.

In an April 1959 episode of Naked citythe gritty ABC series created by Silliphant, Maharis appeared as a character longing to see the world, and that episode served as the pilot for Route 66.

During the production of Route 66Maharis somehow found time to fly to New York City to record a 1962 album for Epic Records, and he had a single that reached No. 25 on the Billboard charts, “Teach Me Tonight. “

After falling ill, Maharis asked for his hours Route 66 be reduced, but the producers refused. In the 2007 interview, he ignored the comment that he used his condition to break his contract in order to jump into the movie. A lack of chemistry between Milner and Corbett contributed to this Route 66 canceled March 1964.

Maharis’ first film after starring in television was the light comedy Quick before it melts (1964). He then starred as a private detective opposite Carroll Baker Sylvia (1965), op A covenant with death (1967) and, as a hippie, in The event (1967).

In the 1970s, Maharis returned to TV. He, Ralph Bellamy, and Yvette Mimieux portrayed criminologists in the short-lived series The most deadly gameand he was a prizefighter in the 1976 miniseries Rich man, poor man. He also appeared on shows like Marcus Welby, physician, Night Gallery, McMillan & Wife, The bionic woman And Fantasy Island.

Maharis later occasionally ventured back into film, including playing a resurrected warlock The sword and the wizard (1982), and his final on-screen appearance came in The evil within (1993).

In July 1973 he posed nude for Play girl magazine, becoming the second actor (after Lyle Waggoner) to do so.

Survivors include a brother and sister.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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