Martin Milner

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Martin Milner
Martin Milner 1960 publicity photo.jpg
Milner in 1960
Born Martin Sam Milner
(1931-12-28)December 28, 1931
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died September 6, 2015(2015-09-06) (aged 83)
Carlsbad, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart failure
Nationality American
Other names Marty Milner
Education North Hollywood High School
Alma mater San Fernando Valley State College
University of Southern California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1947–1997
Spouse(s) Judith Bess "Judy" Jones (m. 1957–2015)
Children 4

Martin Sam Milner (December 28, 1931 – September 6, 2015) was an American film, stage, radio and television actor. Milner is best known for his performances in 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][3] His father was a Polish Jewish immigrant.[4] The family left Detroit when he was a young child and moved frequently before settling 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.[5]

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. Milner had his first screen test and began his film career with his debut in the 1947 film Life with Father in the role of John Day, the second oldest son of Clarence Day played by William Powell. Less than two weeks after filming for that film ended in August 1946, Milner contracted poliomyelitis. He recovered within a year and had bit parts in two more films before graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1949. He immediately landed a minor role in the film Sands of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne. He also had a role in Richard Fleischer's Compulsion, featuring Orson Welles.[6]

He had several more roles, both minor and major, in war films in the 1950s, including another John Wayne picture called Operation Pacific in 1951 and Mister Roberts with Henry Fonda, James Cagney and Jack Lemmon in 1955. On the set of Halls of Montezuma in 1950 he met and befriended actor Jack Webb. Soon thereafter, he began intermittent work on Webb's radio series Dragnet.[7]


Milner attended the University of Southern California where he studied theater.[8] He dropped out after a year in the fall of 1950 to concentrate on acting.[9] He made his first television appearance in 1950 as a guest star in episode 28 titled "Pay Dirt" on The Lone Ranger. That same year, he began a recurring role as "Drexel Potter" on the television sitcom The Stu Erwin Show.

In 1952, Milner began a two-year stint in the United States Army. He was assigned to Special Services at Fort Ord on California's Monterey Bay Peninsula, where he directed training films.[10] He also emceed and performed in skits in a touring unit show to entertain the soldiers.[9] Milner was encouraged by fellow soldier David Janssen to pursue an acting career when his time in the Army ended. He also served at Ft Ord at the same time as 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.

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) and Rawhide.

Milner also acted in films, the most notable of which are The Long Gray Line (1955), Mister Roberts (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), as jazz guitarist Steve Dallas in Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), Compulsion (1959) and 13 Ghosts (1960). He was one of the stars of 1967's Valley of the Dolls, based on the Jacqueline Susann best-seller.

Route 66[edit]

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

In 1960, Milner won the role of Tod Stiles in CBS television series, Route 66, from 1960 to 1964. Created by Stirling Silliphant, Route 66 is essentially about two regular, but distinctly different young men in a car touring the United States.

After the sudden death of his father left him unexpectedly penniless, Tod traveled across the United States in a Chevrolet Corvette, taking a variety of odd jobs along the way and getting involved in other people's problems. Tod's traveling partner on his escapades was his friend Buz Murdock, a former employee of his father's played by George Maharis. During the series' third season, Milner got a new co-star as Glenn Corbett was brought in to replace Maharis. Tod's new traveling partner was Lincoln "Linc" Case, an Army veteran who had a dark past, and Corbett remained in the role for the remaining season and a half.

Route 66 was a different sort of television program, as the travels of Tod and his traveling partners were shot on location. Thus, Milner spent nearly four years traveling the country for the series, sometimes taking his wife and children along.


Milner and Webb had a long-established working relationship by the time it came to cast Adam-12. Milner appeared in numerous episodes of both the radio and television versions of the seminal Jack Webb series Dragnet. Milner had also worked with Webb in the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma and the 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues. This led to the role for which Milner is best known.

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

Milner was Webb's hands-down choice for "cop behind the wheel" Pete Malloy, in part because his relative youth and prior acting credits and because of his on-camera driving experience from his days on Route 66.[12]


Milner 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 episode The Wedsworth-Townsend Act.

Later career[edit]

Milner in 1975

After Adam-12 he starred as Karl Robinson in a television series version of The Swiss Family Robinson (1975–1976), produced by Irwin Allen. Most of his following work was as a television guest star, most notably in action-adventure series MacGyver (as James MacGyver, MacGyver's father), Airwolf, Life Goes On , Murder, She Wrote and RoboCop: The Series. In 1983, Milner hosted a morning radio wake-up show on AM 600 KOGO, San Diego.

Milner also has the distinction of having portrayed the victim in the premiere episode of Columbo titled "Murder by the Book". In 1990, Milner re-teamed with Kent McCord, his co-star from Adam-12, in the cable TV-movie Nashville Beat (1990), originally shown on the now-defunct The Nashville Network. The story, partly written by Kent McCord, had McCord as an LAPD detective who teams up with his old partner, Milner, in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1992, he 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).[13]

Personal life[edit]

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

In February 2003, Milner's eldest daughter Amy, who appeared in an episode of Adam 12, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.[16][17] She died in December 2004.[18]


On September 6, 2015, Milner died of heart failure at his home in Carlsbad, California, at the age of 83.[19] His memorial service was held by law enforcement and community members in Oceanside, California six days later.



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 Brian Davis
1967 Valley of the Dolls Mel Anderson
1968 Three Guns for Texas Const. Clendon MacMillan
1975 The Swiss Family Robinson Karl Robinson
1998 Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner[20] Himself Video Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Lone Ranger Dick McHenry "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 Various roles 2 episodes
1967 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
1971 Columbo Jim Ferris Episode: "Murder by the Book"
1971 The D.A. Officer Pete Malloy Episode: "The People vs. Saydo"
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 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 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
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Detective Halloran Episode: "Murder Blues", (Last appearance)


  1. ^ Willis, John (2006). Monush, Barry, ed. Screen World: 2005 Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 368. ISBN 1-557-83668-X. 
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed September 8, 2015.
  3. ^ Willis, John (1998). Willis, John; Monush, Barry, eds. Screen World 1997. 48. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 283. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Family hour slot precludes some of 'Swiss Family Robinson' violence". The Baltimore Sun. July 31, 1975. p. B4. 
  6. ^ Compulsion at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Dagan, Carmel (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner, Star of 'Adam-12,' 'Route 66,' Dies at 83". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Players of Adam-12". The Prescott Courier. October 18, 1972. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Milner Grew Up In the Business". Lewiston Evening Journal. November 10, 1960. pp. 7–A. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Martin Milner". The Prescott Courier. September 20, 1970. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Sackett, Susan (1993). Prime-time hits: television's most popular network program. Billboard Books. 
  13. ^ Thomas, Pete (Dec 28, 2001). "Fishing Show Fans Do Know Him From Adam". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Marriage Announcement". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 24, 1957. p. 34. 
  15. ^ Shain, Percy (June 23, 1968). "Milner's Back!". The Boston Globe. pp. TV–2. 
  16. ^ "Actor Martin Milner seeks help for ill daughter in Encinitas". July 11, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Martin Milner, Star of 'Adam-12', 'Route 66', Dies at 83". September 7, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Obituaries - 12/23/04". December 23, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Martin Milner, 'Route 66' and 'Adam-12' Star, Dies". ABC News. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  20. ^ Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]