Martin Milner

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Martin Milner
Milner in 1960
Martin Sam Milner

(1931-12-28)December 28, 1931
DiedSeptember 6, 2015(2015-09-06) (aged 83)
Resting placeEternal Hills Memorial Park, Mortuary and Crematory, Oceanside, California U.S.
Alma mater North Hollywood High School, University of Southern California
Years active1947–1997
Judith Bess "Judy" Jones(m. 1957)

Martin Sam Milner (December 28, 1931 – September 6, 2015) was an American film, stage, radio, and television actor. Milner is 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

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. [6] Milner had his first screen test and began his film career with his debut in the film Life with Father (1947) 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. [7] 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. [6]


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 ABC 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 called Operation Pacific (1951) and Mister Roberts (1955) with Henry Fonda, James Cagney and Jack Lemmon. On the set of Halls of Montezuma (1950), he met and befriended actor Jack Webb. Soon thereafter, he began intermittent work on Webb's radio series Dragnet . [10]

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. [6] [7] [11] 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. [12] 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 1952–1955. [7]

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 was under contract at Burt Lancaster’s production company, Hecht-Lancaster. [6] He 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 Valley of the Dolls (1967), based on the Jacqueline Susann best-seller. [7] [10]

Route 66

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

In 1960, Milner won the role of Tod Stiles on the CBS 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. [13]

After the sudden death of his father left him penniless, Milner's character, Tod, travels 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 is 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, Glenn Corbett, who 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. [6] [7] [10]

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. [7]

Milner appeared on Broadway once in a short-lived comedy, The Ninety Day Mistress, in 1967, opposite Dyan Cannon. [14]


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 films Halls of Montezuma (1950) and Pete Kelly's Blues (1955). 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 Webb-produced police drama, Adam-12 . Kent McCord played his partner, rookie Officer James A. "Jim" Reed. The NBC 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 "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. [15] 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 episode The Wedsworth-Townsend Act .

Later career

Milner in 1975

After Adam-12, Milner starred as Karl Robinson in a television series version of The Swiss Family Robinson (1975–1976), produced by Irwin Allen. [14] Most of his following work was as a television guest star, including action-adventure series MacGyver (as James MacGyver, MacGyver's father), Airwolf , 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 portrayed the victim in the premiere episode of Columbo titled "Murder by the Book". In 1990, Milner teamed up again with Kent McCord in the cable TV-movie Nashville Beat (1990), originally shown on the now-defunct The Nashville Network. The story, partly written by 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). [7] In 1998, Milner decided to pay an homage of sorts to the series which made him a star, Route 66, with the documentary film Route 66: Return to the Road With Martin Milner, which featured Milner in a 1961 Corvette on a journey from Chicago to Santa Monica on the highway. [14]

Personal life and death

In May 1956, Milner met singer and actress Judith Bess Jones [10] at a Hollywood dinner party. They were married on February 23, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois. [16] They had four children. [17]

In February 2003, Milner's eldest daughter Amy, who appeared in an episode of Adam 12, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. [10] [18] She died in December 2004. [19]

On September 6, 2015, Milner died of heart failure at his home in Carlsbad, California, at age 83. [20] Milner's remains were cremated by Eternal Hills Memorial Park's mortuary in Oceanside, California. [21] . His memorial service was held by law enforcement and community members six days later.



1947 Life with Father John Day
1948 The Wreck of the Hesperus Nathaniel
1949 The Green Promise Joe - 4H Club MemberUncredited
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 LynchUncredited
1952 My Wife's Best Friend Buddy Chamberlain
1952 Springfield Rifle Pvt. Olie Larsen
1952 Battle Zone Corp. Andy Sayer
1952 Torpedo Alley Undetermined RoleUnconfirmed / Uncredited
1953 Last of the Comanches Billy Creel
1953 Destination Gobi Elwood Halsey
1954 Dial M for Murder Policeman Outside Wendice FlatUncredited
1955 The Long Gray Line Jim O'CarberryUncredited
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 PartUncredited
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral James Earp
1957 Sweet Smell of Success Steve DallasCredited 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 BartonAssociate producer
1965 Zebra in the Kitchen Dr. Del Hartwood
1966Ski FeverBrian Davis
1967 Valley of the Dolls Mel Anderson
1968 Three Guns for Texas Const. Clendon MacMillan
1975The Swiss Family RobinsonKarl Robinson
1998Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin MilnerHimselfVideo Documentary


1950 The Lone Ranger Dick McHenry"Pay Dirt"
1950–1951 The Stu Erwin Show Drexel Potter8 episodes
1951 The Bigelow Theatre T.K.O.Episode: "T.K.O."
1952–1955 Dragnet Stephen Banner6 episodes
1953–1957 The Life of Riley Bruce
Don Marshall
4 episodes
1954–1955 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Various roles2 episodes
1955 The Great Gildersleeve BrickEpisode: "Water Commissioner's Water Color"
1956 NBC Matinee Theater Various roles2 episodes
1956 TV Reader's Digest US Army RecruitEpisode: "The Old, Old Story"
1956The Charles Farrell ShowEpisode: "Love and Kisses"
1956 Telephone Time Episode: "The Churchill Club"
1956 Science Fiction Theatre BrittEpisode: "Three Minute Mile"
1956 Crossroads Charles Mitchell2 episodes
1956 Navy Log Monk Jacob"Incident at Formosa"
1956–1957 The West Point Story Various roles2 episodes
1958 Wagon Train Matt TrumbellEpisode: "The Sally Potter Story"
1958–1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Various roles2 episodes
1958–1959 The Millionaire Various roles2 episodes
1959 Rawhide Johnny DoanEpisode: "Incident with an Executioner"
1959 Playhouse 90 Episode: "Judgment at Nuremberg"
1959 Steve Canyon Sgt. Ernest BigelowEpisode: "Operation Firebee"
1959 Hotel de Paree Pat WilliamsEpisode: "Vein of Ore"
1959 U.S. Marshal Deputy Bob BaxterEpisode: "Trigger Happy"
1960 The Twilight Zone Paul GrinsteadEpisode: "Mirror Image"
1960–1964 Route 66 Tod Stiles 116 episodes
1965Memorandum for a SpyTelevision film
1965Starr, First BasemanJoe StarrTelevision film
1965 Slattery's People State Representative Scott FlemingEpisode: "Question: What's a Requiem for a Loser?"
1965 Gidget KahunaEpisode: "The Great Kahuna"
1965 Laredo Clendon MacMillanEpisode: "Yahoo"
1965–1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Various roles3 episodes
1965–1966 The Virginian Various roles2 episodes
1966 A Man Called Shenandoah Neal HendersonEpisode: "Requiem for the Second"
1966 12 O'Clock High Maj. DimscekEpisode: "Six Feet Under"
1967 The Rat Patrol Sgt. RobertsEpisode: "The Wild Goose Raid"
1967 Run for Your Life Various roles2 episodes
1967 Felony Squad Thomas GlynnEpisode: "Hit and Run, Run, Run"
1967 Insight ShermEpisode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"
1968Land's EndEricTelevision film
1968 Dragnet Officer Pete MalloyEpisode: "Internal Affairs: DR-20"
1968–1975 Adam-12 Officer Pete Malloy174 episodes
1971 Columbo Jim FerrisEpisode: "Murder by the Book"
1971 The D.A. Officer Pete MalloyEpisode: "The People vs. Saydo"
1972–1976 Emergency! Officer Pete Malloy3 episodes
1973 Runaway! John SheddTelevision film
1974HurricaneMaj. Hymie StoddardTelevision film
1975–1976 The Swiss Family Robinson Karl Robinson20 episodes
1976 Flood! Paul BurkeTelevision film
1977 SST: Death Flight Lyle KingmanTelevision film
1977 Police Story Grady DolinEpisode: "Stigma"
1978Black BeautyTom GrayMiniseries
1978 Little Mo Wilbur FolsomTelevision film
1979 Crisis in Mid-Air Dr. DenversTelevision film
1979The Last ConvertibleSergeant DabricMiniseries
1979 The Seekers Philip KentTelevision film
1980 The Littlest Hobo Don PorterEpisode: "Sailing Away"
1981 Fantasy Island Various roles2 episodes
1981The Ordeal of Bill CarneyPeter BeltonTelevision movie
1984 Masquerade Episode: "Winnings"
1985 Airwolf Arthur BarnesEpisode: "Severance Pay"
1985–1996 Murder, She Wrote Various roles5 episodes
1988 MacGyver Coach Turk DonnerEpisode: "Thin Ice"
1989Nashville BeatCaptain Brian O'NealTelevision movie
1990 MacGyver James MacGyverEpisode: "Passages"
1992 Life Goes On Harris Cassidy5 episodes
1994 RoboCop: The Series Russell Murphy2 episodes
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Detective HalloranEpisode: "Murder Blues", (final appearance)



  1. Willis & Monush 2006, p. 368.
  2. "Profile". FamilySearch . United States: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  3. Willis & Monush 1998, p. 283.
  4. Tugend, Tom (September 16, 2015). "Remembering Marty Milner". The Jewish Journal . Los Angeles: TRIBE Media Corp. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  5. 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.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 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.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 McLellan, Dennis (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner dies at 83; 'Adam-12' and 'Route 66' star". Los Angeles Times . Los Angeles: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  8. "The Players of Adam-12". The Daily Courier . Prescott, Arizona: Western Newspapers. October 18, 1972. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  9. 1 2 "Milner Grew Up In the Business". Lewiston Evening Journal. Lewiston, Maine: Sun Media Group. November 10, 1960. pp. 7–A. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 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.
  11. "Martin Milner". The Daily Courier . Prescott, Arizona: Western Newspapers. September 20, 1970. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  12. "Clint Eastwood Used the GI Bill". . United States: Monster Worldwide . Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  13. Brown, Laurel (September 7, 2015). "Adam-12 and Route 66 star Martin Milner dies at age 83". Daily Mail . London: DMG Media . Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  14. 1 2 3 Gates, Anita (September 7, 2015). "Martin Milner, Clean-Cut Star of 'Route 66' and 'Adam-12,' Dies at 83". The New York Times . New York City: The New York Times Company . Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  15. Sackett, Susan (1993). Prime-time hits: television's most popular network program. Billboard Books. ISBN   978-0823083923.
  16. "Marriage Announcement". Chicago Tribune . Chicago: Tonc, Inc. February 24, 1957. p. 34.
  17. Shain, Percy (June 23, 1968). "Milner's Back!". The Boston Globe . Boston: Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. pp. TV–2.
  18. "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.
  19. "Obituaries - 12/23/04". North County Times . Escondido, California: The San Diego Union-Tribune. December 23, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  20. "Martin Milner, 'Route 66' and 'Adam-12' Star, Dies". ABC News . New York City: ABC . Retrieved September 7, 2015.