George Maharis was one of seven children of Greek immigrant parents. Though he could very easily have gone into his father's restaurant business, Maharis decided to try for a singing career. When his vocal chords were injured by overuse, Maharis switched to acting, studying at the Actors' Studio and making one of his earliest appearances as a Marlon Brando parody on the 1950s TV sitcom Mr. Peepers. Maharis was very active in the off-Broadway scene, appearing in Jean Genet's Deathwatch and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. He gained a fan following (primarily female) through his weekly appearances as handsome drifter Buzz Murdock on the TV series Route 66. He played Buzz from 1960 to 1963, leaving the series for a variety of reasons, among them artistic differences and a bout of hepatitis. His subsequent film career failed to reach the heights of his TV work, and by 1970 Maharis was back in the weekly small-screen grind in the adventure series The Most Dangerous Game. When not performing in nightclubs, summer stock or films, George Maharis spent a good portion of the 1970s and 1980s indulging in his pet hobby, impressionistic painting.