Leslie H. Martinson

Active - 1954 - 1984  |   Born - Jan 16, 1915 in Boston, Massachusetts  |   Died - Sep 3, 2016   |   Genres - Spy Film, Drama, Action, Comedy, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Boston born and bred, onetime newspaper journalist Leslie H. Martinson settled down in Hollywood in 1936, accepting a long-term job as an MGM script clerk. He eased into directing with a handful of inexpensive TV western series in the early 1950s, then made his big-screen directorial bow in Republic's The Atomic Kid, a lumpy Mickey Rooney vehicle. Most of Martinson's subsequent features were equally second-rate, though not all were treated as such by distributors. The director's PT 109 (1963), Batman (1966) and Fathom (1967), low-budgeters all, were promoted as "A" features on the basis of their topicality (John F. Kennedy was still in the White House when PT 109 was released), trendiness (Batman was the hottest TV series of 1966) and star power (Fathom had Raquel Welch; enough said). Martinson's final theatrical film was Mrs. Pollifax: Spy (1971), which also served as the cinematic swan song of Rosalind Russell. Thereafter, Leslie H. Martinson became one of the busiest TV-movie purveyors, directing such small-screen esoterica as Rescue From Gilligan's Island (1978) and the Gary Coleman vehicles The Kid With the Broken Halo (1982) and The Kid With the 200 IQ (1983). Martinson died in 2016, at age 101.

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