Who was George Maharis, American actor who died at 94
Hollywood is mourning the loss of George Maharis, a prominent American actor celebrated for his portrayal of the captivating Buz Murdock on the iconic CBS drama Route 66. The actor passed away on Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, his longtime friend and caregiver Marc Bahan told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 94. Bahan also took to Facebook to share the heartbreaking news.
Born on September 1, 1928, in Astoria, New York, Maharis was one of seven children of a Greek immigrant couple. After high school, he embarked on a journey with the US Marines. Though he aspired to be a singer, Maharis's path took a turn toward acting eventually. His talent became evident when he delivered a parody of Marlon Brando on NBC's Mister Peepers (1955).
Career and acting legacy
Maharis began his career with off-Broadway productions of Jean Genet's Deathwatch and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story in the late 1950s. Soon after, he appeared on television in shows like Studio One, Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Stirling Silliphant's Naked City, and Otto Preminger's Exodus. The actor was also featured on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow as Bud Gardner.
Maharis gained popularity with portrayal of Murdock
In 1960, Maharis garnered stardom with his enigmatic portrayal of Murdock on Route 66. The series which co-starred Martin Milner, who played Tod Stiles, ran for four seasons and followed their characters as they embarked on a journey across the US, driving a Corvette that belonged to Milner's character. Maharis's impeccable acting shined brilliantly and earned him an Emmy nomination in 1962.
Maharis left 'Route 66' midway due to health conditions
During season three in 1962, Maharis contracted hepatitis and was hospitalized, which caused him to miss several episodes of Route 66. Although Maharis returned to the show, his health issues persisted. In a 2007 interview, he revealed his doctor warned him of the severe consequences, 'The doctor said, 'If you don't get out now, you're either going to be dead or...have permanent liver damage.'"
Maharis's film career began after his recovery
After a full recovery, however, Maharis ventured into the world of movies with a string of films in the 1960s, including Quick, Before It Melts (1964), The Satan Bug and Sylvia (1965), and The Happening (1967), among other. Later, he found a new opportunity in TV series in 1970, starring as criminologist Jonathan Croft in the ABC thriller adventure series The Most Deadly Game.Share this timeline