George Maharis, Star of TV’s ‘Route 66’ in the 1960s, Dies at 94

3 months ago 30

LOS ANGELES—George Maharis, a stage-trained histrion with rough-hewn bully looks who became an icon to American younker successful the 1960s arsenic helium cruised the state successful a Corvette convertible successful the deed tv bid “Route 66,” has died.

Maharis’ person and caretaker Marc Bahan said successful a Facebook station that helium died connected May 24. Bahan told the Hollywood Reporter, which archetypal reported Maharis’ death, that helium died astatine his location successful Beverly Hills, California, aft contracting hepatitis. He was 94.

On “Route 66,” Maharis played Buz Murdock, a hardened subsister of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. His co-star Martin Milner, who died successful 2015, was Tod Stiles, a young antheral raised successful wealthiness who upon his father’s decease was near with thing but a shiny caller Corvette.

The brace decided to question the road writer John Steinbeck had dubbed “The Mother Road.” Each week brought a caller escapade successful a caller city, and audiences tuned successful in droves.

“Route 66” was the uncommon bid astatine the clip that was filmed connected location, moving to caller towns and cities for each caller episode. It featured arsenic impermanent stars aboriginal stars including Robert Redford, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Alan Alda successful immoderate of their earliest roles.

The storied road itself was arsenic overmuch a prima of the amusement arsenic Maharis and Milner. Since bypassed successful favour of bigger, faster interstates, it stretched unbroken from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean and was venerated arsenic a driving unit down the country’s 20th period westward migration.

“Route 66” was said to person been inspired by Jack Kerouac’s caller “On the Road,” and it spawned its ain deed song, an instrumental composed by Nelson Riddle. The much acquainted tune, “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” was not connected to the series.

Maharis near the amusement aft the 3rd season—it would proceed for 1 much without him—and ne'er again achieved the aforesaid fame.

He got a sanction cheque that introduced him to consequent generations successful manager Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 “Once Upon a Time successful Hollywood,” erstwhile fictional histrion Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, says helium was considered for the Steve McQueen relation successful “The Great Escape” on with 3 Georges: “Peppard, Maharis, and Chakiris.”

A autochthonal New Yorker, 1 of 7 children calved to Greek immigrants, Maharis was raised successful Hell’s Kitchen. His parents ran a palmy restaurant, and they wanted George to articulation the household business.

“Growing up successful Hell’s Kitchen, astatine slightest for me, was each astir ‘I’m not gonna enactment here,’ ” helium said successful a 2007 interview. “Life is each astir the journey, the going. I had to get out.”

He hoped to beryllium a vocalist but damaged his vocal cords, truthful helium switched to acting. After grooming nether Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner astatine the Actors Studio, helium began appearing successful off-Broadway plays.

Excellent notices for his enactment successful Edward Albee’s play “Zoo Story,” and successful appearances connected the tv play “Naked City,” attracted attention. After a tiny relation successful the 1960 movie “Exodus” and a fewer different parts, helium landed “Route 66.”

After leaving the series, Maharis was formed arsenic a prima successful specified films arsenic “Quick Before It Melts,” “The Satan Bug,” “Sylvia,” “A Covenant with Death,” “The Happening,” “The Desperadoes,” and “Land Raiders.”

In 1970, helium returned to play television, playing a criminologist successful “The Most Deadly Game,” but the amusement lasted lone 1 season.

Maharis kept acting successful the ensuing decades, appearing successful specified TV movies arsenic “Escape to Mindanao” and “Murder connected Flight 502,” “Disaster successful the Sky,” “Crash of Flight 401,” “Death successful Space,” and connected TV bid including “Fantasy Island,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

By Andrew Dalton