George Maharis

George Maharis

Maharis in the Route 66 publicity photo, 1962
Born (1928-09-01) September 1, 1928
Astoria, Queens, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer, artist
Years active 1953–1993

George Maharis (born September 1, 1928, Astoria, Queens, New York City)[1] 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.

Early years

Maharis was one of seven children born to Greek immigrants in Astoria, Queens.[1] He studied at the Actors Studio and appeared in off-Broadway productions of Jean Genet's Deathwatch and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. He appeared on Studio One, Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Stirling Silliphant's Naked City and Otto Preminger's Exodus, and in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow as Bud Gardner, one of Joanne Gardner's relatives who married Janet Bergman Collins.

He attended Flushing High School and served in the United States Marine Corps for 18 months.[2]

Route 66

In 1960, Maharis appeared as Buz Murdock in the popular TV series Route 66, which co-starred Martin Milner. He received an Emmy nomination in 1962 for his continuing performance as Buz.

Maharis departed without completing his third season on the series, which saw him with health problems, including hepatitis.[3][4] Maharis said he left Route 66 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."[5] Series producers Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard said that Maharis desired to break his contract and make movies.[5] 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

Maharis, circa 1972

For Maharis, a string of 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).[6]

Returning to series television in 1970, Maharis starred as criminologist Jonathan Croft in The Most Deadly Game. The series lasted 12 episodes, ending in January 1971. He modeled for the July 1973 issue of Playgirl magazine as one of the first celebrities to do so.[7]

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Maharis guest-starred in many 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.[6]

He appeared as Count Machelli, King Cromwell's War Chancellor in The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982). He also starred with the Kenley Players in productions of Barefoot in the Park (1967) and How the Other Half Lives (1973) and in national touring company productions of Company and I Ought to Be in Pictures. In the 1980s, he performed in Las Vegas. In 1993, he performed in Doppelganger.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1953MartyMan at Dance HallTV; uncredited
1953The Philco Television PlayhouseDancer at the Dance Club
1957Goodyear Television Playhouse
1958The MuggerNicholas Grecco
1960Alcoa TheatreJohnny Cesare
1959–60Naked CityJohnny Gary
1961Splendor in the Grassuncredited
1960–61Search for TomorrowBud GardnerTV
1960–63Route 66Buz Murdock
1963The Judy Garland Show
1964Quick, Before It MeltsPeter Santelli
1965SylviaAlan Macklin
1965The Satan BugLee Barrett
1966A Small RebellionMichael KolinosTV
1966Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler TheatreMichael Kolinos
1967A Covenant with DeathBen Lewis
1967The HappeningTaurus
1967The Danny Thomas HourPhil PearsonTV
1968Escape to MindanaoJoe WaldenTV
1968Journey to the UnknownDrake
1969The DesperadosJacob Galt
1969Land RaidersPaul Cardenas
1969The MonkGus MonkTV
1970El Último día de la guerraSgt. Chips Slater
1970The Most Deadly GameJonathan CroftTV
1971Night GalleryPeter Lacland
1971Cade's CountyDeek Minty
1971Medical CenterEvan Kenbrook
1972CannonPaul Stubber
1972The VictimBen ChapelTV
1973Mission: ImpossibleThomas Bachman
1973Barnaby JonesWarren Davis
1974Movin' OnHarry ArmourTV
1974Wide World MysteryWalter
1974Come Die with MeWalter Burr
1974ShaftWally Doyle
1974Marcus Welby, M.D.
1974The Snoop SistersRobert Duware
1974ThrillerMark Fields
1974Death in SpaceTV
1974McMillan & WifeWalter Webley
1974Nakia Joe Arnold TV; episode "Pete"
1975Murder on Flight 502Robert DavenportTV
1976Ellery QueenDr. Tony Bender
1976Rich Man, Poor ManJoey QualesTV miniseries
1976Good HeavensGary Lawrence
1976Jigsaw John
1976Bert D'Angelo/SuperstarLee Mitchell
1976Look What's Happened to Rosemary's BabyGuy WoodhouseTV
1976The Bionic WomanSgt. Bob Welton
1977SST: Death FlightLes PhillipsTV
1973–77Police StoryHank Delany
1977The Feather and Father GangSherwin
1978Return to Fantasy IslandBensonTV
1978Logan's RunGavin
1978CrashEvan WalshTV
1979–82Fantasy IslandDr. Hal Workman
1982The Sword and the SorcererMachelli: Cromwell War Chancellor
1984Matt HoustonDr. Charles Brockway
1984The MasterGarrett
1989SuperboyMr. McAlister
1990Murder, She WroteAlex Burton
1993DoppelgangerMike Wallace

Art and music

Maharis released LPs and singles through Epic Records earlier in his career. His only top-40 pop hit was his version of the standard "Teach Me Tonight", which hit number 25 in June 1962, although several other singles charted below the top 40. Later, he performed 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.[7]



Original releases
CD reissues


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Original releases

In the TV series Arrested Development, George Michael Bluth accidentally adopts the alias "George Maharis" when he stops himself in the middle of giving his real name and randomly finishes by repeating his cousin's recent mispronunciation of ''heiress", seemingly unaware that it is a real person's name.


  1. 1 2 "Stars of TV's 'Route 66' working on opposite coasts". Albuquerque Journal. November 16, 2003. Retrieved April 21, 2012. George Maharis was born September 1, 1928, in Astoria, N.Y.
  2. Gehman, Richard (April 14, 1961). "George Maharis: TV's hard-driving rebel". TV Guide.
  3. Genzlinger, Neil (May 18, 2012). "A Half-Century-Old Road to Today". The New York Times.
  4. "George Is Back on the Road", "Television" supplement to Australian Women's Weekly, August 8, 1962, archived from the original on 2004-08-28
  5. 1 2 "They Come to Blows: Route 66", Movie Screen Yearbook 1963, 1963, archived from the original on 2009-10-26
  6. 1 2 3 George Maharis at the Internet Movie Database
  7. 1 2 Rahner, Mark (March 5, 2008). "George Maharis, "Route 66" and that Corvette are backon DVD". The Seattle Times.
  8. George Maharis – George Maharis Sings! at AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  9. George Maharis – Portrait in Music at AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  10. George Maharis – Just Turn Me Loose! at AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  11. George Maharis – Where Can You Go for a Broken Heart? at AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  12. George Maharis – George Maharis Sings!/Portrait in Music at AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
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