Quinn Martin

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Quinn Martin
Irwin Martin Cohn

May 22, 1922 (1922-05-22)
DiedSeptember 5, 1987(1987-09-05) (aged 65)
OccupationTelevision producer
Spouse(s)Madelyn Pugh (a.k.a. Madelyn Davis); Marianne Muffet Webb
ParentMartin G. Cohn

Quinn Martin (born Irwin Martin Cohn; May 22, 1922 – September 5, 1987) was an American television producer. He had at least one television series running in prime time every year for 21 straight years (from 1959 to 1980).[1] Martin is a member of the Television Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1997.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born on May 22, 1922,[3] in New York City, Martin was the second of two children. His father, Martin Goodman Cohn, was a film editor and producer at the studios of Metro Goldwyn Mayer; his mother was Anna Messing Cohn. He was of Jewish descent. From the age of 4, he was raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Fairfax High School, then served five years in the United States Army during World War II, enlisting in the Signal Corps at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California on September 10, 1940, and achieving the rank of sergeant. He later changed his name to Quinn Martin.

While attending the University of California at Berkeley,[1] Martin majored in English studies but did not graduate. Martin started his career in television as a film editor at MGM, joining his father and also worked as manager of post-production for various organizations, including Universal Studios (1950–1954). By the mid 1950s he had become an executive producer for Desilu Studios, founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. His first wife, Madelyn Pugh Davis, was one half of the writing team behind I Love Lucy.[4] In 1959, he produced The Untouchables, a two-part special that appeared in season 1 of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. The Untouchables later became a weekly television show on the ABC television network, which would win two Emmy Awards in 1960.

QM Productions[edit]

In 1960, Martin established his own production company, QM Productions. It produced a string of successful television series during the 1960s and 1970s. The company had kicked off when he signed a deal with ABC to produce television programs, with The New Breed being one of the first QM programs.[5] He then scored big when The Fugitive premiered in 1963, becoming QM's first hit.[6] He then proceeded to sue ABC in 1968, only to be settled two years later in an non-exclusive agreement.[7][8] In 1976, QM was one of the four television producers who tried launching a syndicated division.[9]

Quinn Martin Television Series[edit]

Series Produced by Quinn Martin
Title First Episode Final Episode Genre Seasons Episodes Original Network
The New Breed October 3, 1961 June 5, 1962 Crime drama 1 36 ABC
The Fugitive September 17, 1963 August 29, 1967 Crime drama 4 120
Twelve O'Clock High September 18, 1964 January 13, 1967 Military drama 3 78
The F.B.I. September 19, 1965 April 28, 1974 Crime drama 9 241
The Invaders January 10, 1967 March 26, 1968 Science fiction 2 43
Dan August September 23, 1970 April 8, 1971 Crime drama 1 26
Cannon September 14, 1971 March 3, 1976 Crime drama 5 122 CBS
Banyon September 15, 1972 January 12, 1973 Crime drama 1 15 NBC
The Streets of San Francisco September 16, 1972 June 9, 1977 Crime drama 5 121 ABC
Barnaby Jones January 23, 1973 April 3, 1980 Crime drama 8 178 CBS
The Manhunter September 11, 1974 March 5, 1975 Crime drama 1 22
Caribe February 17, 1975 May 12, 1975 Crime drama 1 13 ABC
Bert D'Angelo/Superstar February 21, 1976 July 10, 1976 Crime drama 1 12
Most Wanted October 16, 1976 August 20, 1977 Crime drama 1 21
Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected February 2, 1977 August 24, 1977 Horror/Sci Fi 1 8 NBC
The Runaways April 27, 1978 September 4, 1979 Drama 2 18
A Man Called Sloane September 22, 1979 December 22, 1979 Secret Agent 1 12

Besides producing sixteen one-hour television network series, he also produced twenty "made-for-TV" movies, including House on Greenapple Road (1970), Incident in San Francisco (1971), Murder or Mercy (1974), The FBI Story: The FBI vs. Alvin Karpis, Public Enemy Number One (1974), Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan (1975), and Brink's: The Great Robbery (1976). Some TV movies, like Code Name: Diamond Head (1977), and The Hunted Lady (1977), were originally filmed as pilots for new television dramas which were never picked up by the networks. His only feature film was The Mephisto Waltz (1971), released by 20th Century Studios.[10]

In 1978, a duo of investors purchased his wholly self-owned QM Productions; they subsequently sold it to Taft Broadcasting in 1979.[11][12][13] In 1980, the company launched a pay television division hiring HBO executive Harlem Kleiman as executive.[14] In 1984, QM Productions became Taft Entertainment Television, with the sitcom The Lucie Arnaz Show being the first program to carry the new name.[15]

Typical format of a QM program[edit]

Shows produced by the company were usually introduced by announcer Dick Wesson or Hank Simms reading the title of the series and saying, "A Quinn Martin Production." Images of the stars of the show, followed by the guest stars for that week, were shown and their names announced, followed by "Tonight's episode", and the name of the episode, with various to-black effects. In some series, such as The Fugitive and The Invaders, its backstory that led to the plot of the series, narrated by the announcer or the star, was told before the show's guest stars were announced. While episodes were structured into the usual four "acts" and an "epilogue," each was explicitly labelled at the start of each segment with the show title and the act number (or "epilogue" near the end of the program).

Later life[edit]

Martin worked as an adjunct professor at the University of California at San Diego's Earl Warren College,[1] where he also endowed a professorial chair in drama.[16] He also established a scholarship for theater arts and communications students at Santa Clara University[17] Martin moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, near San Diego where he became president of the La Jolla Playhouse and the Del Mar Fair board of directors. He was involved with developing motion pictures for Warner Bros. with a new company named QM Communications.


Martin died of a heart attack on September 5, 1987, in his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Quinn Martin". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007.
  2. ^ "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List".
  3. ^ Etter, Jonathan (2003). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. Walter Grauman, contributor. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7864-1501-4.
  4. ^ Madelyn Pugh Davis at Museum of Television & Radio.
  5. ^ "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 25, 1960. p. 97. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  6. ^ "Program notes" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 19, 1962. p. 68. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  7. ^ "ABC suit brings QM countersuit" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 28, 1968. p. 26. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "QM and ABC-TV end rift over old contract" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 6, 1970. p. 94. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  9. ^ "Closed Circuit" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1976-05-10. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  10. ^ Jonathan Etter, p. 101-105, Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-3867-9.
  11. ^ "Martin B. Boorstein profile". Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link) at Walden Capital Partners.
  12. ^ "Taft Broadcasting acquires QM Productions (Page 1)". The Los Angeles Times. February 1979. p. 55.
  13. ^ "Taft Broadcasting acquires QM Productions (Page 2)". The Los Angeles Times. February 1979. p. 56.
  14. ^ "Monitor" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 12, 1980. p. 54. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  15. ^ Hastings, Julianne (April 15, 1984). "Here's Lucie's TV new comedy". New York Daily News. p. 157.
  16. ^ UCSD Academic Affairs: Endowed Chairs.
  17. ^ Santa Clara University Archived October 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (September 7, 1987). "Quinn Martin Is Dead at 65; Produced Popular TV Series". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  • 1930 Federal Census
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. San Francisco Chronicle. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. Washington Post. 8 September 1987.
  • Social Security Death Index
  • U.S. Army Enlistment Records (5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 151 lb (68 kg) at enlistment)

Further reading[edit]

  • Etter, Jonathan. (2003). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc.

External links[edit]