George Maharis, ‘Route 66′ actor dead at 94

George Maharis, who starred in the 1960s television drama “Route 66,” died on Wednesday. He was 94.

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Maharis died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, his longtime friend and caregiver Marc Bahan told The Hollywood Reporter. Bahan also announced the actor’s death in a Facebook post.

Maharis starred as Buz Murdock with Martin Milner in “Route 66″ and was nominated for an Emmy Award, according to Variety.

He appeared in 82 episodes of the television show from 1960 to 1963, according to He left the series after contracting hepatitis, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Maharis played a Hell’s Kitchen native who toured the country with Milner, who played beatnik Tod Stiles, a Yale University dropout. The pair toured the country in a Corvette, encountering adventure in the crime drama.

All 116 episodes of the series were filmed in cities across the U.S., Variety reported. During the 1962 season, Maharis left the show after being hospitalized for hepatitis, according to the entertainment news website.

The show explained Maharis’ absence by stating that Buz was recovering from an “echo-virus” in a Cleveland hospital. Glenn Corbett joined the show as Lincoln Case and accompanied Milner’s character, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Maharis returned to the series but suffered a relapse, the website reported.

“The doctor said, ‘If you don’t get out now, you’re either going to be dead or you’re going to have permanent liver damage,’” Maharis said in a 2007 interview.

Maharis was born on Sept. 1, 1928, in Astoria, New York, Deadline reported. He studied at the Actors Studio and got his start working in off-Broadway productions, according to the entertainment news outlet.

After “Route 66,” Maharis appeared in several films, Variety reported. That included “Sylvia,” “The Satan Bug” and “The Happening.” Returning to television, Maharis starred in 12 episodes of the 1970 series “The Most Deadly Game,” according to

Maharis’ first TV role came in 1958 with “The Mugger,” Deadline reported. Maharis would also have television roles on “Naked City,” “Exodus” and “Search for Tomorrow.”

Maharis later appeared on television shows such as “Night Gallery,” “Medical Center,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Shaft,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “The Snoop Sisters,” “Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Kojak” and “Fantasy Island.”

Maharis was also one of the first celebrities to model nude for Playgirl, Variety reported. He was also a singer and released seven albums, with the single “Teach Me Tonight” charting in 1962, according to the website.

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