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George Maharis (born September 1, 1928 in Astoria, New York) is an American actor who portrayed Buz Murdock in the first three seasons of the TV series Route 66. Maharis also recorded numerous pop music albums at the height of his fame, and later starred in the short-lived TV series The Most Deadly Game.

George Maharis Sings!

Early years

Maharis was one of seven children born to Greek immigrants in Astoria, Queens.[1] Original spelling Mahairas. Although his father was in the restaurant business, George had early ambitions to be a professional singer. After injuring his vocal cords through overuse, however, he switched to acting.

He studied at the Actor's Studio and appeared in Off-Broadway productions of Jean Genet's Deathwatch and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. Soon he was on television as well, in such showcases as Studio One, Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Stirling Silliphant's Naked City and Otto Preminger's Exodus. Maharis also was featured on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow as Bud Gardner, one of Joanne Gardner's relatives who married Janet Bergman Collins.
Route 66

In 1960, Maharis shot to stardom with his successful turn as Buz Murdock in the popular TV series Route 66, which co-starred Martin Milner as formerly rich, now orphaned Tod Stiles. The show featured the two rebel-hunks traveling throughout the United States along Route 66 (and elsewhere) in a new Corvette that belonged to Milner's character. The series featured directors as acclaimed as Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Hiller, as well as guest stars as renowned as Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Buster Keaton, Ethel Waters and Martin Sheen. Even in such company, Maharis' own acting skills did not go unnoticed, as he received an Emmy nomination in 1962 for his continuing performance as Buz.

Maharis departed without completing his third season on the series. His participation that season had been spotty due to health problems, including two bouts of infectious hepatitis beginning in April 1962.[2] Maharis insisted that he left Route 66 entirely for health reasons, due to the long hours and grueling conditions he frequently experienced while shooting episodes on location. "I have to protect my future," Maharis said in a 1963 interview. "If I keep going at the present pace, I'm a fool. Even if you have $4,000,000 in the bank, you can't buy another liver."[3] This interpretation of events was disputed by series producers Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard, who believed that the health issue camouflaged Maharis' desire to break his contract and make movies. Another claim was that there were conflicts between Milner and Maharis over acting styles, but this appears to have been less of an issue than was reported at the time.[3] After Maharis' departure, the show's appeal declined. Glenn Corbett stepped in as Milner's new sidekick on the road, Linc Case, but a year later, Route 66 was canceled.
Later career

For Maharis, a string of unsuccessful films followed, including Quick, Before It Melts (1964), The Satan Bug and Sylvia (both 1965), A Covenant With Death and The Happening (both 1967) and The Desperados (1969). Returning to series television in 1970, Maharis starred as criminologist Jonathan Croft in the ABC adventure series The Most Deadly Game, co-starring Ralph Bellamy as Mr. Arcane. The series lasted twelve episodes, ending in January 1971. However, Maharis remained a popular sex symbol and in July 1973 posed nude for Playgirl's second issue.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Maharis guest-starred in dozens of hit television series, including Mission: Impossible, Fantasy Island, Kojak, McMillan & Wife, Barnaby Jones, Police Story, Switch, Cannon, Night Gallery and The Bionic Woman as well as Murder, She Wrote in 1990. His most significant film role of this era is probably as Count Machelli, King Cromwell's War Chancellor in The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982). In the 1980s, he also frequently starred in Las Vegas dinner theater. In 1993, he performed in Doppelganger. Maharis is now reported to be "fully retired."

Filmmaker Mercedes Maharis, maker of the controversial 2005 documentary Cochise County USA - Cries From The Border, is married to Maharis' brother Robert.
Arrest and scandal

On November 21, 1974, Maharis was arrested and charged with Commission of a Lewd Act after being caught having sex with Perfecto Telles, a 33-year old hairdresser, in the men's room of a Los Angeles gas station. Police said he was booked on a "sex perversion charge" and released on $500 bail. Maharis had previously been arrested on December 15, 1967, by a vice officer who said the actor had made a pass at him in the men's room of a Hollywood restaurant; that charge had been dropped when Maharis pleaded guilty to one count of disturbing the peace and paid a $50 fine.[4]

Doppelganger (1993) - Mike Wallace
Murder, She Wrote - Alex Burton ... (1990)
Superboy - Mr. McAlister (1989)
The Master - Garrett (1984)
Matt Houston - Dr. Charles Brockway (1984)
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) - Machelli: Cromwell War Chancellor
Fantasy Island - Dr. Hal Workman ... (1979–1982)
Crash (1978) (TV) - Evan Walsh
Logan's Run - Gavin (1978)
Return to Fantasy Island (1978) (TV) - Benson
Switch - Clouston (1977)
The Feather and Father Gang - Sherwin (1977)
Police Story - Hank Delany ... (1973–1977)
Kojak - Ringer (1977)
SST: Death Flight (1977) (TV) - Les Phillips
The Bionic Woman - Sgt. Bob Welton (1976)
Gibbsville (1976)
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976) (TV) - Guy Woodhouse
Bert D'AngeloSuperstar - Lee Mitchell (1976)
Jigsaw John (1976)
Good Heavens - Gary Lawrence (1976)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) (mini) TV Series - Joey Quales
Ellery Queen - Dr. Tony Bender (1976)
Murder on Flight 502 (1975) (TV) - Robert Davenport
Nakia (1974)
McMillan & Wife - Walter Webley (1974)
Death in Space (1974) (TV)
Thriller - Mark Fields (1974)
The Snoop Sisters - Robert Duware (1974)
Marcus Welby, M.D. (1974)
Shaft - Wally Doyle (1974)
Come Die with Me (1974) - Walter Burr
Wide World Mystery - Walter (1974)
Barnaby Jones - Warren Davis (1973)

Mission: Impossible - Thomas Bachman (1973)
The Victim (1972) (TV) - Ben Chapel
Cannon - Paul Stubber (1972)
Medical Center - Evan Kenbrook (1971)
Cade's County - Deek Minty (1971)
Night Gallery - Peter Lacland (1971)
The Most Deadly Game (1970) TV Series - Jonathan Croft (unknown episodes)
Último día de la guerra, El (1970) - Sgt. Chips Slater
Journey to the Unknown - Drake (1970)
The Monk (1969) (TV) - Gus Monk
Land Raiders (1969) - Paul Cardenas
The Desperados (1969) - Jacob Galt
Escape to Mindanao (1968) (TV) - Joe Walden
The Danny Thomas Hour - Phil Pearson (1967)
The Happening (1967) - Taurus
A Covenant with Death (1967) - Ben Lewis
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre - Michael Kolinos ... (1966)
A Small Rebellion (1966) (TV) - Michael Kolinos
Hullabaloo (1965)
The Satan Bug (1965) - Lee Barrett
Sylvia (1965) - Alan Macklin
Quick Before It Melts (1964) - Peter Santelli
The Judy Garland Show (1963)
Route 66 - Buz Murdock (1960–1963)
Search for Tomorrow (1951) TV Series - Bud Gardner (1960–1961)
Splendor in the Grass (1961) - uncredited
Exodus (1960) - Yaov
Naked City - Johnny Gary ... (1959–1960)
Alcoa Theatre - Johnny Cesare (1960)
Brenner (1959)
The Mugger (1958) - Nicholas Grecco
Goodyear Television Playhouse (1957)
The Philco Television Playhouse - Dancer at the Dance Club (1953)
Marty (1953) (TV) (uncredited) - Man at Dance Hall

*Movin' On (TV Series- guest appearance)(1974) - Harry Armour
Art and music

Maharis released several LPs and numerous singles through Epic Records earlier in his career. After this period, he continued to perform in nightclubs, and pursued a secondary career as an impressionist painter. As of 2008, Maharis was still painting, while splitting his time between New York and Beverly Hills.[5]

US LPs (complete list)

1962 George Maharis Sings! Epic LN 24001/BN 26001
1962 Portrait in Music Epic LN 24021/BN 26021
1963 Just Turn Me Loose! Epic LN 24037/BN 26037
1963 Where Can You Go For a Broken Heart? Epic LN 24064/BN 26064
1964 Make Love to Me Epic LN 24079/BN 26079
1964 Tonight You Belong to Me Epic LN 24111/BN 26111
1966 New Route: George Maharis Epic LN 24191/BN 26191

US CD Reissues

1995 George Maharis & John Davidson (Songs from George Maharis Sings!) Sony 28950
2000 George Maharis Sings!/Portrait in Music (2 LPs on 1 CD) Collectibles ASIN B00004TRWR


US 45 RPM (incomplete list)

1962 "After the Lights Go Down Low" ~ "Teach Me Tonight" Epic 5-9504
1962 "They Knew About You" ~ "Love Me as I Love You" Epic 5-9522
1962 "I'll Never Smile Again" ~ "Can't Help Falling In Love" Epic 5-9545
1962 "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" ~ "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" Epic 3-9548
1962 "Baby Has Gone Bye Bye" ~ "After One Kiss" Epic 5-9555
1963 "Don’t Fence Me In" ~ "Alright, Okay, You Win" Epic 5-9569
1963 "Where Can You Go (For a Broken Heart)" ~ "Kiss Me" Epic 5-9600
1963 That’s How It Goes" ~ "It Isn’t There" Epic 5-9613
1963 "It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie" ~ "Sara Darling" Epic 5-9653
1964 "Tonight You Belong to Me" ~ "The Object of My Affection" Epic 5-9696
1965 "I’m Coming Back for You" ~ "Lonely People Do Foolish Things" Epic 5-9753
1965 "Where Does Happiness Go" ~ "More I Cannot Do" Epic 5-9772
1965 "You Always Hurt the One You Love" ~ "Quien Sabe? (Who Knows? Who Knows?)" Epic 5-9844
1965 "A World Without Sunshine" ~ "Ivy" Epic 5-9858

US 45 RPM Reissues (incomplete list)

"Teach Me Tonight" ~ "Baby Has Gone Bye Bye" (At least one reissue on Memory Lane)


^ "Stars of TV's 'Route 66' working on opposite coasts.", Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2003. Accessed November 30, 2007. "George Maharis was born September 1, 1928, in Astoria, N.Y."
^ "George Is Back on the Road", "Television" Supplement to Australian Women's Weekly, August 8, 1962, archived from the original on 2004-08-28
^ a b "They Come to Blows: Route 66", Movie Screen Yearbook 1963, August 8, 1962, archived from the original on 2009-10-26
^ Article on Queer Music Heritage web site
^ Rahner, Mark (March 5), "George Maharis, "Route 66" and that Corvette are back — on DVD", The Seattle Times

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