George Maharis

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George Maharis
George Maharis Route 66 1962.JPG
Maharis in the Route 66 publicity photo, 1962
Born (1928-09-01) September 1, 1928 (age 85)
Astoria, New York
Occupation actor, singer, artist
Years active 1953–93

George Maharis (born September 1, 1928 in Astoria, New York[1]) is an American actor who portrayed Buz Murdock in the first three seasons of the TV series Route 66. Maharis also recorded numerous pop music albums at the height of his fame, and later starred in the short-lived TV series The Most Deadly Game.

Early years[edit]

Maharis was one of seven children born to Greek immigrants in Astoria, Queens.[1] The earlier spelling of the name was "Mahairas". Although his father was in the restaurant business, George had early ambitions to be a professional singer. After injuring his vocal cords through overuse, he switched to acting.[citation needed]

He studied at the Actors Studio and appeared in Off-Broadway productions of Jean Genet's Deathwatch and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. He appeared on Studio One, Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Stirling Silliphant's Naked City and Otto Preminger's Exodus, and in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow as Bud Gardner, one of Joanne Gardner's relatives who married Janet Bergman Collins.

He attended Flushing High School and served in the United States Marine Corps for 18 months.[2]

Route 66[edit]

In 1960, Maharis appeared as Buz Murdock in the popular TV series Route 66, which co-starred Martin Milner. He received an Emmy nomination in 1962 for his continuing performance as Buz.

Maharis departed without completing his third season on the series, which saw him with health problems, including hepatitis.[3][4] Maharis said he left Route 66 for health reasons, due to the long hours and grueling conditions he frequently experienced while shooting episodes on location. "I have to protect my future," Maharis said in a 1963 interview. "If I keep going at the present pace, I'm a fool. Even if you have $4,000,000 in the bank, you can't buy another liver."[5] Series producers Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard said that Maharis desired to break his contract and make movies.[5] After Maharis' departure, the show's appeal declined. Glenn Corbett stepped in as Milner's new sidekick on the road, Linc Case, but a year later, Route 66 was canceled.

Later career[edit]

Maharis, circa 1972

For Maharis, a string of films followed, including Quick, Before It Melts (1964), The Satan Bug and Sylvia (both 1965), A Covenant With Death and The Happening (both 1967) and The Desperados (1969). Returning to series television in 1970, Maharis starred as criminologist Jonathan Croft in the ABC adventure series The Most Deadly Game, co-starring Ralph Bellamy as Mr. Arcane. The series lasted twelve episodes, ending in January 1971. He modeled for the July 1973 issue of Playgirl magazine as one of the first celebrities to do so.[6]

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Maharis guest-starred in many television series, including Mission: Impossible, Fantasy Island, Kojak, McMillan & Wife, Barnaby Jones, Police Story, Switch, Cannon, Night Gallery, and The Bionic Woman, as well as Murder, She Wrote in 1990. He appeared as Count Machelli, King Cromwell's War Chancellor in The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982). He also starred with the Kenley Players in productions of Barefoot in the Park (1967) and How the Other Half Lives (1973) and in national touring company productions of Company and I Ought to Be in Pictures. In the 1980s, he performed in Las Vegas. In 1993, he performed in Doppelganger.


Art and music[edit]

Maharis released LPs and singles through Epic Records earlier in his career. His only Top 40 pop hit was his version of the standard Teach Me Tonight, which hit #25 in June of 1962, although several other singles charted below the Top 40. Later he performed in nightclubs, and pursued a secondary career as an impressionist painter. As of 2008, Maharis was still painting, while splitting his time between New York and Beverly Hills.[6]



US LPs (complete list)

  • 1962 George Maharis Sings! Epic LN 24001/BN 26001
  • 1962 Portrait in Music Epic LN 24021/BN 26021
  • 1963 Just Turn Me Loose! Epic LN 24037/BN 26037
  • 1963 Where Can You Go For a Broken Heart? Epic LN 24064/BN 26064
  • 1964 Make Love to Me Epic LN 24079/BN 26079
  • 1964 Tonight You Belong to Me Epic LN 24111/BN 26111
  • 1966 New Route: George Maharis Epic LN 24191/BN 26191

US CD Reissues

  • 1995 George Maharis & John Davidson (Songs from George Maharis Sings!) Sony 28950
  • 2000 George Maharis Sings!/Portrait in Music (2 LPs on 1 CD) Collectibles ASIN B00004TRWR


US 45 RPM (incomplete list)

  • 1962 "After the Lights Go Down Low" ~ "Teach Me Tonight" Epic 5-9504
  • 1962 "They Knew About You" ~ "Love Me as I Love You" Epic 5-9522
  • 1962 "I'll Never Smile Again" ~ "Can't Help Falling In Love" Epic 5-9545
  • 1962 "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" ~ "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" Epic 3-9548
  • 1962 "Baby Has Gone Bye Bye" ~ "After One Kiss" Epic 5-9555
  • 1963 "Don’t Fence Me In" ~ "Alright, Okay, You Win" Epic 5-9569
  • 1963 "Where Can You Go (For a Broken Heart)" ~ "Kiss Me" Epic 5-9600
  • 1963 That’s How It Goes" ~ "It Isn’t There" Epic 5-9613
  • 1963 "It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie" ~ "Sara Darling" Epic 5-9653
  • 1964 "Tonight You Belong to Me" ~ "The Object of My Affection" Epic 5-9696
  • 1965 "I’m Coming Back for You" ~ "Lonely People Do Foolish Things" Epic 5-9753
  • 1965 "Where Does Happiness Go" ~ "More I Cannot Do" Epic 5-9772
  • 1965 "You Always Hurt the One You Love" ~ "Quien Sabe? (Who Knows? Who Knows?)" Epic 5-9844
  • 1965 "A World Without Sunshine" ~ "Ivy" Epic 5-9858

US 45 RPM Reissues (incomplete list)

  • "Teach Me Tonight" ~ "Baby Has Gone Bye Bye" (At least one reissue on Memory Lane)


  1. ^ a b "Stars of TV's 'Route 66' working on opposite coasts.", Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2003. Accessed April 21, 2012. "George Maharis was born September 1, 1928, in Astoria, N.Y."
  2. ^ Gehman, Richard (April 14, 1961). "George Maharis: TV's hard-driving rebel". TV Guide. 
  3. ^ Neil Genzlinger (May 18, 2012). "A Half-Century-Old Road to Today". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "George Is Back on the Road", "Television" Supplement to Australian Women's Weekly, August 8, 1962, archived from the original on 2004-08-28 
  5. ^ a b "They Come to Blows: Route 66", Movie Screen Yearbook 1963, 1963, archived from the original on 2009-10-26 
  6. ^ a b Rahner, Mark (March 5, 2008). "George Maharis, "Route 66" and that Corvette are back—on DVD". The Seattle Times. 

External links[edit]