‘Route 66’ star George Maharis dies aged 94

George Maharis, best known for portraying Buz Murdock in the first three seasons of Route 66, has passed away.

The Emmy-nominated actor sadly passed away on Wednesday (May 24) at his Beverly Hills home, his longtime friend and caregiver Marc Bahan told The Hollywood Reporter.

Posting a heartbreaking tribute on social media, Bahan also wrote: “George is well known for his stardom in Route 66, stage productions, singing, artist, and above all a great guy would do anything for anyone.

“My dear friend, you’ll be terribly missed.”

Maharis was born September 1, 1928 to Greek immigrant parents in New York. He attended Flushing High School and spent a brief time with the US Marines before he studied at the Actors Studio in the late 40s.

His first big acting job was an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s Deathwatch in 1958. Two years, later he featured in Edward Albee’s first produced play, The Zoo Story, which was also an off-Broadway production.

His career continued to reach heights as he portrayed an underground freedom fighter for Otto Preminger in Exodus and then starred on the CBS soap Search for Tomorrow as a gambler who mistreated his wife.

In 1959, Maharis featured in an episode of Naked City as a character who wanted to see the world, and this led to his well-known roles as Buz Murdock on Route 66 – which was actually a spin-off of Naked City and made by the same creator Stirling Silliphant.

His role was one of the acclaimed drama’s three main characters and it earned him an Emmy nomination. It was well-loved due to it being filmed all across America.

“Nobody else ever did that, to my knowledge,” Maharis stated during a 2007 interview with Route 66 News. “We worked six days a week, sometimes seven, because we were always behind schedule.

“You got up at 5 in the morning and you get back to your motel at 7 or 9 at night, sometimes even later,” he continued. “And when we’d move the company from one location to another, sometimes we’d lose two or three days of shooting.”

The Hollywood star was compelled to leave the CBS series during its third season in 1962 due to health issues, including hepatitis, which caused him to be hospitalized for a month and miss the filming of several episodes. However, he briefly returned before suffering a relapse.

“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 recalled.

It took over two years for the star to start receiving regular work again. He later appeared in films including Quick Before It Melts (1964), Sylvia (1965), A Covenant with Death  (1967), and The Happening (1967).

Besides acting, Maharis loved to sing and would fly to New York City to record songs that were released in 1962 for Epic Records. His single ‘Teach Me Tonight’ made it to Number 25 on the Billboard charts.

Our thoughts are with Maharis’ family, friends, and fans at this time.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *