George Maharis, who played the brooding Buz Murdock in Road 66 before leaving the acclaimed 1960s CBS drama after contracting hepatitis, died. He was 94 years old.
Maharis is dead Wednesday at his home Beverly Hills, his long date friend and carer Marc Bahan said Ethe hollywood journalist.
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Road 66created by Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard, featured Hell’s Kitchen native Murdock and Martin Milner’s Yale dropout Tod Stiles traveling America’s highways in Tod’s Chevrolet Corvette, encountering the on-going adventure of road.
The show “was really a kind of search or what you might have seen hundreds of years ago, where people came from the mountains to go from place to place to find a better life, a where they belonged, and they didn’t’ count on anyone else to do it for them,” Maharis said. Seattle weather In 2008.
All 116 episodes of the series spanning four seasons from October 1960 were filmed in cities across the United States, resulting in a grueling production schedule.
Midway through the third season in late 1962, Maharis caught hepatitis, was hospitalized for a month, and missed several episodes. (On the show, it was explained that Buz was in a Cleveland hospital battling “echo-virus,” and Tod got a new traveling companion, Lincoln Case, played by Glenn Corbett).
Maharis returned to Road 66 but did not stay long, suffering a relapse. “The doctor said, ‘If you don’t come out now, you’re either going to die or you’re going to have permanent liver damage,'” Maharis recalled in a 2007 interview.
Maharis, who received an Emmy Award nomination in 1962 for playing Buz, said it took her more than two years before she could work regularly again.
The dark-haired actor ventured into film, starring John Sturges Satan’s bug (1965), a sci-fi thriller for The Mirisch Co. and United Artists, but it never achieved the rebellious stardom that its television popularity augured.
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 with the US Marines.
He aspired to be a singer but became interested in acting and studied with Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio, then did a parody of Method actor Marlon Brando in the NBC comedy. Mr. Peepers in 1955.
Maharis lands her first major role in an off-Broadway production by Jean Genet death watch in 1958 and appeared in the first play produced by Edward Albee, The history of the zooalso off-Broadway, two years later.
He portrayed an underground freedom fighter for Otto Preminger in Exodus (1960), and on the CBS soap opera search tomorrowhe played the role of a gambler who abused his wife.
During an April 1959 episode of naked citythe gritty ABC series created by Silliphant, Maharis emerged as a character who yearned to see the world, and this episode served as a pilot for Road 66.
During the manufacture of Road 66Maharis somehow found the time to fly to New York 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 requested that his hours of Road 66 be reduced, but the producers refused. In the 2007 interview, he ignored the fact that he had used his condition to break his contract in order to get into the movies. A lack of chemistry between Milner and Corbett contributed to Road 66 canceled in March 1964.
Maharis’s first film after his television turn was the light comedy Quick before it melts (1964). He then played the role of private detective opposite Carroll Baker in Sylvia (1965), in A covenant with death (1967) and, as a hippie, in The event (1967).
In the 1970s, Maharis returned to television. He, Ralph Bellamy and Yvette Mimieux portrayed criminologists in the short-lived series The deadliest gameand he was a boxer in the 1976 miniseries Rich man, poor man. He has also appeared on shows such as Marcus Welby, MD, night gallery, McMillan and his wife, The bionic woman And fantasy island.
Maharis then went on occasional adventures in film, including playing a resurrected wizard in The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), and his last screen appearance was in The Evil Within (1993).
In July 1973, he posed naked for Playgirl magazine, becoming the second actor (after Lyle Wagoner) to do so.
The survivors include a brother and a sister.
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