Martin Milner

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Martin Milner
Milner in 1960
Martin Sam Milner

(1931-12-28)December 28, 1931
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedSeptember 6, 2015(2015-09-06) (aged 83)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active1947–1998
Judith Bess "Judy" Jones
(m. 1957)

Martin Sam Milner (December 28, 1931 – September 6, 2015) was an American actor and radio host. He is best known for his performances on two television series: Route 66, which aired on CBS from 1960 to 1964, and Adam-12, which aired on NBC from 1968 to 1975.

Early years[edit]

Milner was born on December 28, 1931[1] in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Mildred (née Martin), a Paramount Theater circuit dancer, and Sam Gordon Milner, who worked as a construction hand and later a film distributor.[2] Sam was a Polish-Jewish immigrant.[3] The family left Detroit when Milner was a young child, moved frequently, and settled in Seattle, Washington by the time he was nine. There he became involved in acting, first in school, and then in a children's theater group at the Cornish Playhouse.[4]

When Milner was a teenager, he moved with his family to Los Angeles where his parents hired an acting coach and later an agent for him.[5] Milner had his first screen test and began his film career with his debut in the Warner Bros. film Life with Father (1947) in the role of John Day, the second oldest son of Clarence Day, played by William Powell, and Vinnie Day, portrayed by Irene Dunne. Less than two weeks after that film was completed in August 1946, Milner contracted polio.[6] He recovered within a year and had bit parts in two more films, then was graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1949. He immediately landed a minor role in the film Sands of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne.[5]


Milner attended the University of Southern California where he studied theater.[7] He dropped out after a year in the fall of 1950 to concentrate on acting.[8] He made his first television appearance in 1950 as a guest star in episode 28 titled "Pay Dirt" on The Lone Ranger. The same year, he began a recurring role as Drexel Potter on the sitcom The Stu Erwin Show.

He had several more roles, both minor and major, in war films in the 1950s, including another John Wayne picture titled Operation Pacific (1951) and Mister Roberts (1955), with William Powell and Henry Fonda, James Cagney and Jack Lemmon. On the set of Halls of Montezuma (1950), he met and befriended actor Jack Webb, and he began intermittent work on Webb's radio series Dragnet.[9]

In 1952, Milner began a two-year stint in the United States Army. Assigned to Special Services at Fort Ord on California's Monterey Bay Peninsula, he directed training films[5][6][10] and was both an emcee and performer in skits for a touring unit created to entertain soldiers.[8] Milner was encouraged by fellow soldier and future actor David Janssen to pursue an acting career when his time in the Army ended. Janssen and Milner served at Fort Ord with fellow future actors Clint Eastwood and Richard Long.[11] While in the Army, Milner continued working for Jack Webb, playing Officer Bill Lockwood (briefly the partner of Sgt. Friday) and other characters on the Dragnet radio series on weekends. He also appeared on six episodes of Webb's Dragnet television series between 1952 and 1955.[6]

After his military service ended, Milner had a recurring role on The Life of Riley from 1953 to 1958. He also made guest appearances on numerous television shows, including episodes of The Bigelow Theatre, The Great Gildersleeve, TV Reader's Digest, Science Fiction Theatre, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, NBC Matinee Theater, The West Point Story, The Twilight Zone (episode: "Mirror Image"), Wagon Train and Rawhide.

Milner was under contract at Hecht-Lancaster, Burt Lancaster's production company.[5] He also acted in films, including The Long Gray Line (1955), Mister Roberts (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), where he was able to draw on his Jewish roots playing the role of Wally Wronkin, Compulsion (1959), and 13 Ghosts (1960). He later costarred in Valley of the Dolls (1967), based on the best-selling novel by Jacqueline Susann.[6][9]

Route 66[edit]

Milner (left) and George Maharis in Route 66 publicity still, 1962

In 1960, Milner was cast as Tod Stiles on the television series Route 66, which ran from 1960 to 1964. Created by Stirling Silliphant, Route 66 is about two regular but distinctly different young men in a car touring the United States. After the sudden death of his father left him penniless, save for a new Chevrolet Corvette, Milner's character travels across the United States in the Corvette, taking a variety of odd jobs along the way and getting involved in other people's problems. His traveling partner on his escapades is his friend Buz Murdock (played by George Maharis), a former employee of his father's. During the series' third season, Glenn Corbett replaced Maharis, who claimed he was ill with hepatitis but later verified he wanted to break away to pursue other career opportunities. .[5][6][9] The show never regained its special audience appeal with Corbett and was cancelled after a year.

Route 66 was shot on location, so Milner spent nearly four years traveling the U.S. for the series, sometimes taking his wife and children along.[6]

Milner appeared on Broadway once in the short-lived comedy The Ninety Day Mistress in 1967.[12]


By the mid-1960s, Milner and Jack Webb had a long-established working relationship. Milner had appeared in numerous episodes of both the radio and television versions of the series Dragnet, and had worked with Webb in the films Halls of Montezuma (1950) and Pete Kelly's Blues (1955).

In 1968, Milner returned to television as seven-year LAPD veteran uniform patrol Officer Peter Joseph "Pete" Malloy in Adam-12, a Webb-produced police drama. Kent McCord played his partner, rookie Officer James A. "Jim" Reed. The series ran from 1968 to 1975. Like Webb's Dragnet, it was based on real Los Angeles Police Department procedures and cases.

Milner was Webb's choice for Pete Malloy in part because of his relative youth and prior acting credits and because of his on-camera driving experience from his days on Route 66.[13] He guest-starred in three episodes of Emergency! between 1972 and 1976, during and after Adam-12's run on NBC, the best known and first of which was the pilot movie The Wedsworth-Townsend Act.

Later career[edit]

Milner in The Swiss Family Robinson in 1975

In 1971, Milner portrayed the murder victim in the premiere episode of Columbo titled "Murder by the Book". After Adam-12, Milner starred as Karl Robinson in a television series version of The Swiss Family Robinson (1975–1976), produced by Irwin Allen.[12] Most of his later work was as a guest star, including MacGyver (as the protagonist's father); Airwolf; Murder, She Wrote; and RoboCop: The Series. In 1983, Milner hosted a morning radio wake-up show on AM 600 KOGO in San Diego.

In 1990, Milner teamed again with Kent McCord in the cable TV-movie Nashville Beat (1990), on The Nashville Network. The story was co-written by McCord, who cast himself as an LAPD detective who works with his former partner, played by Milner, in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1992, Milner guest-starred on five episodes of ABC's Life Goes On.

After retiring from acting, Milner co-hosted a radio show about fishing called Let's Talk Hook-Up on San Diego-area sports station XETRA AM 690 (now XEWW).[6]

In 1998, Milner took part in a documentary film, Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner, in which he drove a 1961 Corvette from Chicago to Santa Monica.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In May 1956, Milner met singer and actress Judith Bess Jones[9] at a Hollywood dinner party. They were married on February 23, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois;[14] together they had four children.[15]

In February 2003, Milner's eldest daughter Amy, who appeared in an episode of Adam 12, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.[9][16] She died in December 2004.[17]

On September 6, 2015, Milner died of heart failure at his home in Carlsbad, California at age 83.[18] Milner's remains were cremated.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1947 Life with Father John Day
1948 The Wreck of the Hesperus Nathaniel
1949 The Green Promise Joe - 4H Club Member Uncredited
1949 Sands of Iwo Jima Pvt. Mike McHugh
1950 Louisa Bob Stewart
1950 Our Very Own Bert
1951 Halls of Montezuma Whitney
1951 Operation Pacific Ens. Caldwell
1951 Fighting Coast Guard Al Prescott
1951 I Want You George Kress Jr.
1952 The Captive City Phil Harding
1952 Belles on Their Toes Al Lynch Uncredited
1952 My Wife's Best Friend Buddy Chamberlain
1952 Springfield Rifle Pvt. Olie Larsen
1952 Battle Zone Corp. Andy Sayer
1952 Torpedo Alley Undetermined Role Unconfirmed / Uncredited
1953 Last of the Comanches Billy Creel
1953 Destination Gobi Elwood Halsey
1954 Dial M for Murder Policeman Outside Wendice Flat Uncredited
1955 The Long Gray Line Jim O'Carberry Uncredited
1955 Mister Roberts Shore Patrol Officer
1955 Francis in the Navy W.T. 'Rick' Rickson
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues Joey Firestone
1956 On the Threshold of Space Lt. Mort Glenn
1956 Navy Wife
1956 Screaming Eagles Pvt. Corliss
1956 Pillars of the Sky Waco
1957 Man Afraid Shep Hamilton
1957 Desk Set Bit Part Uncredited
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral James Earp
1957 Sweet Smell of Success Steve Dallas Credited as Marty Milner
1958 Too Much, Too Soon Lincoln Forrester
1958 Marjorie Morningstar Wally Wronkin
1959 Compulsion Sid Brooks
1960 The Private Lives of Adam and Eve Ad Simms / Adam
1960 13 Ghosts Benjamen Rush
1960 Sex Kittens Go to College George Barton Associate producer
1965 Zebra in the Kitchen Dr. Del Hartwood
1966 Ski Fever [de] Brian Davis
1967 Valley of the Dolls Mel Anderson
1968 Three Guns for Texas Const. Clendon MacMillan
1975 The Swiss Family Robinson Karl Robinson
1989 Nashville Beat Captain Brian O'Neal
1998 Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner Himself Video Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Lone Ranger Dick McHenry Episode: "Pay Dirt"
1950–1951 The Stu Erwin Show Drexel Potter 8 episodes
1951 The Bigelow Theatre T.K.O. Episode: "T.K.O."
1952–1955 Dragnet Stephen Banner 6 episodes
1953–1957 The Life of Riley Bruce
Don Marshall
4 episodes
1954–1955 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Various roles 2 episodes
1955 The Great Gildersleeve Brick Episode: "Water Commissioner's Water Color"
1956 NBC Matinee Theater Various roles 2 episodes
1956 TV Reader's Digest US Army Recruit Episode: "The Old, Old Story"
1956 The Charles Farrell Show Episode: "Love and Kisses"
1956 Telephone Time Episode: "The Churchill Club"
1956 Science Fiction Theatre Britt Episode: "Three Minute Mile"
1956 Crossroads Charles Mitchell 2 episodes
1956 Navy Log Monk Jacob "Incident at Formosa"
1956–1957 The West Point Story Various roles 2 episodes
1958 Wagon Train Matt Trumbell Episode: "The Sally Potter Story"
1958–1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Various roles 2 episodes
1958–1959 The Millionaire Various roles 2 episodes
1959 Rawhide Johnny Doan Episode: "Incident with an Executioner"
1959 Playhouse 90 Episode: "Judgment at Nuremberg"
1959 Steve Canyon Sgt. Ernest Bigelow Episode: "Operation Firebee"
1959 Hotel de Paree Pat Williams Episode: "Vein of Ore"
1959 U.S. Marshal Deputy Bob Baxter Episode: "Trigger Happy"
1960 The Twilight Zone Paul Grinstead Episode: "Mirror Image"
1960–1964 Route 66 Tod Stiles 116 episodes
1965 Memorandum for a Spy Television film
1965 Starr, First Baseman Joe Starr Television film
1965 Slattery's People State Representative Scott Fleming Episode: "Question: What's a Requiem for a Loser?"
1965 Gidget Kahuna Episode: "The Great Kahuna"
1965 Laredo Clendon MacMillan Episode: "Yahoo"
1965–1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Various roles 3 episodes
1965–1966 The Virginian Various roles 2 episodes
1966 A Man Called Shenandoah Neal Henderson Episode: "Requiem for the Second"
1966 12 O'Clock High Maj. Dimscek Episode: "Six Feet Under"
1967 The Rat Patrol Sgt. Roberts Episode: "The Wild Goose Raid"
1967 Run for Your Life Colonel Mike Green 2 episodes
1967 The Felony Squad Thomas Glynn Episode: "Hit and Run, Run, Run"
1967 Insight Sherm Episode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"
1968 Land's End Eric Television film
1968 Dragnet Officer Pete Malloy Episode: "Internal Affairs: DR-20"
1968–1975 Adam-12 Officer Pete Malloy 174 episodes
1970 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson self Episode: September 28, 1970
1971 Columbo Jim Ferris Episode: "Murder by the Book"
1971 The D.A. (1971 TV series) Officer Pete Malloy Episode: "The People vs. Saydo"
1972 Hollywood Squares Himself Celebrity Guest Star
1972–1976 Emergency! Officer Pete Malloy 3 episodes
1973 Runaway! John Shedd Television film
1974 Hurricane Maj. Hymie Stoddard Television film
1975–1976 The Swiss Family Robinson Karl Robinson 20 episodes
1976 Flood! Paul Burke Television film
1977 SST: Death Flight Lyle Kingman Television film
1977 Police Story Grady Dolin Episode: "Stigma"
1978 Black Beauty Tom Gray Miniseries
1978 Little Mo Wilbur Folsom Television film
1979 Crisis in Mid-Air Dr. Denvers Television film
1979 The Last Convertible Sergeant Dabric Miniseries
1979 Password Plus Himself Game Show Contestant / Celebrity Guest Star
1979 The Seekers Philip Kent Television film
1980 The Littlest Hobo Don Porter Episode: "Sailing Away"
1981 Fantasy Island Various roles 2 episodes
1981 The Ordeal of Bill Carney Peter Belton Television movie
1984 Masquerade Charlie Miller Episode: "Winnings"
1985 Airwolf Arthur Barnes Episode: "Severance Pay"
1985–1996 Murder, She Wrote Various roles 5 episodes
1988 MacGyver Coach Turk Donner Episode: "Thin Ice"
1989 Nashville Beat Captain Brian O'Neal Television movie
1990 MacGyver James MacGyver Episode: "Passages"
1992 Life Goes On Harris Cassidy 5 episodes
1994 RoboCop: The Series Russell Murphy 2 Episodes: "The Human Factor" / "Corporate Raiders"
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Detective Frank Halloran Episode: "Murder Blues", (final appearance)
1997 Hollywood Squares self Episode: February 25, 2004


  1. ^ Willis & Monush 2006, p. 368.
  2. ^ Willis & Monush 1998, p. 283.
  3. ^ Tugend, Tom (September 16, 2015). "Remembering Marty Milner". The Jewish Journal. Los Angeles: TRIBE Media Corp. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  4. ^ Bryant, Adam (September 7, 2015). "Adam-12, Route 66 Star Martin Milner Dies at 83". TV Guide. New York City: NTVB Media (magazine) CBS Interactive (CBS Corporation) (digital assets). Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Barnes, Mike; Byrge, Duane (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner, Star of 'Adam-12' and 'Route 66,' Dies at 83". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g McLellan, Dennis (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner dies at 83; 'Adam-12' and 'Route 66' star". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Players of Adam-12". The Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona: Western Newspapers. October 18, 1972. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Milner Grew Up In the Business". Lewiston Evening Journal. Lewiston, Maine: Sun Media Group. November 10, 1960. pp. 7–A. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e Dagan, Carmel (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner, Star of 'Adam-12,' 'Route 66,' Dies at 83". Variety. Los Angeles: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  10. ^ "Martin. Milner also starred in Gidget with Sally Field and Don Porter, as the 'Big Kahuna' in an early episode by the same name. Milner". The Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona: Western Newspapers. September 20, 1970. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Clint Eastwood Used the GI Bill". United States: Monster Worldwide. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Gates, Anita (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner, Clean-Cut Star of 'Route 66' and 'Adam-12,' Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  13. ^ Sackett, Susan (1993). Prime-time hits: television's most popular network program. Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0823083923.
  14. ^ "Marriage Announcement". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tonc, Inc. February 24, 1957. p. 34.
  15. ^ Shain, Percy (June 23, 1968). "Milner's Back!". The Boston Globe. Boston: Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. pp. TV–2.
  16. ^ "Actor Martin Milner seeks help for ill daughter in Encinitas". North County Times. Escondido, California: The San Diego Union-Tribune. July 11, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Obituaries - 12/23/04". North County Times. Escondido, California: The San Diego Union-Tribune. December 23, 2004. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  18. ^ "Martin Milner, 'Route 66' and 'Adam-12' Star, Dies". ABC News. New York City: ABC. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  19. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. ISBN 9781476625997.


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