Red-headed, freckle-faced Martin Milner was only 15 when he made his screen debut in Life With Father (1947), and would continue to play wide-eyed high schoolers and college kids well into the next decade. His early film assignments included the teenaged Marine recruit in Lewis Milestone's The Halls of Montezuma (1951) and the obnoxious suitor of Jeanne Crain in Belles on Their Toes (1952). His first regular TV series was The Stu Erwin Show (1950-1955), in which he played the boyfriend (and later husband) of Stu's daughter Joyce. More mature roles came his way in Marjorie Morningstar (1957) as Natalie Wood's playwright sweetheart and in The Sweet Smell of Success (1957) as the jazz musician targeted for persecution by Winchell-esque columnist Burt Lancaster. Beginning in 1960, he enjoyed a four-year run as Corvette-driving Tod Stiles on TV's Route 66 (a statue of Milner and his co-star George Maharis currently stands at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY). A longtime friend and associate of producer/director/actor Jack Webb, Milner was cast as veteran L.A.P.D. patrolman Pete Malloy on the Webb-produced TV weekly Adam-12, which ran from 1968 to 1975. His later TV work included a short-lived 1970s series based on Johan Wyss' Swiss Family Robinson. Later employed as a California radio personality, Martin Milner continued to make occasional TV guest appearances; one of these was in the 1989 TV movie Nashville Beat, in which he was reunited with his Adam-12 co-star Kent McCord. He made an appearance on the short-lived series The New Adam-12 and had recurring roles on shows like Life Goes On and Murder, She Wrote. Milner died in 2015, at age 83.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Mother worked as a dancer for the Paramount Theater circuit.
- Contracted polio while in high school, but made a full recovery.
- Developed a friendship with Jack Webb on the set of Halls of Montezuma, who would later cast him in one of his best known roles as Officer Pete Malloy in the television series Adam-12.
- Was drafted into the Army in 1952 during the Korean War.
- Co-hosted a radio show about fishing called Let's Talk HookUp.
- Lived on a 24-acre avocado farm with his family.
- Volunteered for the Humane Society.