George Maharis (born September 1, 1928 in Astoria, New York) 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.
Maharis was one of seven children born to Greek immigrants in Astoria, Queens. The earlier spelling of the name was "Mahairas". Although his father was in the restaurant business, George had early ambitions to be a professional singer. After injuring his vocal cords through overuse, he switched to acting.
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. 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." Series producers Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard said that Maharis desired to break his contract and make movies. 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.
Search for Tomorrow (1951) TV Series - Bud Gardner (1960–1961)
Splendor in the Grass (1961) - uncredited
Exodus (1960) - Yaov
Naked City - Johnny Gary ... (1959–1960)
Alcoa Theatre - Johnny Cesare (1960)
The Mugger (1958) - Nicholas Grecco
Goodyear Television Playhouse (1957)
The Philco Television Playhouse - Dancer at the Dance Club (1953)
Marty (1953) (TV) (uncredited) - Man at Dance Hall
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 #25 in June of 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.
US LPs (complete list)
1962 George Maharis Sings! Epic LN 24001/BN 26001
1962 Portrait in Music Epic LN 24021/BN 26021
1963 Just Turn Me Loose! Epic LN 24037/BN 26037
1963 Where Can You Go For a Broken Heart? Epic LN 24064/BN 26064
1964 Make Love to Me Epic LN 24079/BN 26079
1964 Tonight You Belong to Me Epic LN 24111/BN 26111
1966 New Route: George Maharis Epic LN 24191/BN 26191
US CD Reissues
1995 George Maharis & John Davidson (Songs from George Maharis Sings!) Sony 28950
2000 George Maharis Sings!/Portrait in Music (2 LPs on 1 CD) Collectibles ASIN B00004TRWR