Martin Milner

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Martin Milner
Martin Milner 1975.JPG
Milner as Karl Robinson from The Swiss Family Robinson (1975 TV series)
BornMartin Sam Milner
(1931-12-28) December 28, 1931 (age 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Other namesMarty Milner
EducationNorth Hollywood High School
Alma materSan Fernando Valley State College
University of Southern California
Years active1947–1997
Spouse(s)Judith Bess "Judy" Jones (m. 1957)
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Not to be confused with Martin Miller.
Martin Milner
Martin Milner 1975.JPG
Milner as Karl Robinson from The Swiss Family Robinson (1975 TV series)
BornMartin Sam Milner
(1931-12-28) December 28, 1931 (age 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Other namesMarty Milner
EducationNorth Hollywood High School
Alma materSan Fernando Valley State College
University of Southern California
Years active1947–1997
Spouse(s)Judith Bess "Judy" Jones (m. 1957)

Martin Sam Milner (born December 28, 1931)[1] is a retired American film, stage, radio, and television actor. Milner is best known for his performances in two popular television series: Route 66, which aired on CBS from 1960 to 1964, and Adam-12, which aired on NBC from 1968 to 1975.

Early years[edit]

Milner was born to film distributor Sam Gordon Milner and Paramount Theater circuit dancer Mildred E. "Jerre" Martin in Detroit, Michigan, on December 28, 1931[2] (some sources state 1927).[3] The family left Detroit when he was very young, and moved frequently before settling in Seattle, by the time he was nine. It was in Seattle that he became involved in acting, first in school, and then in a children's theater group at the Cornish Playhouse.[4]

When Milner was a teenager, he moved with his family to Los Angeles where his parents hired an acting coach and later an agent for the budding star. Milner had his first screen test and began his film career with his debut in the 1947 film Life with Father, in the role of "John Day," the second oldest son of "Clarence Day" played by William Powell. Less than two weeks after filming for Life with Father ended in August 1946, Milner contracted polio. He recovered within a year and had bit parts in two more films before graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1949. He immediately landed a minor role in the film Sands of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne. It established him as an actor with the look of an innocent juvenile, which would serve him well for ten years. It was the first of several war films in which he would have both minor and major roles in the 1950s, including another John Wayne picture called Operation Pacific in 1951. It was on the set of Halls of Montezuma in 1950 that he met and befriended actor Jack Webb. Soon thereafter, he began intermittent work on Webb's radio series Dragnet.


Milner attended the University of Southern California where he studied theater.[5] He dropped out after a year in the fall of 1950 to concentrate on acting.[6] He made his first television appearance in 1950 as a guest star in episode 28 entitled "Pay Dirt" on The Lone Ranger. That same year, he began a recurring role as "Drexel Potter" on the television sitcom The Stu Erwin Show.

In 1952, Milner began a two-year stint in the United States Army. He was assigned to Special Services at Fort Ord on California's Monterey Bay peninsula, where he directed training films.[7] He also emceed and performed in skits in a touring unit show to entertain the soldiers.[6] Milner was encouraged by fellow soldier Clint Eastwood to pursue an acting career when his time in the Army ended. While in the Army, Milner continued working for Jack Webb, playing "Officer Bill Lockwood" (briefly the partner of "Sgt. Friday") and other characters on the Dragnet radio series on weekends. He also appeared on six episodes of Webb's Dragnet television series between 1952 and 1955.

After his military service ended, Milner had a recurring role on The Life of Riley from 1953 to 1958. He also made guest appearances on numerous television shows including episodes of The Bigelow Theatre, The Great Gildersleeve, TV Reader's Digest, Science Fiction Theatre, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, Matinee Theater, The West Point Story, The Twilight Zone (episode: Mirror Image), and Rawhide. Milner also acted in films, the most notable of which are: The Long Gray Line (1955), Mister Roberts (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), as Jazz guitarist Steve Dallas in Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), Compulsion (1959), and 13 Ghosts (1960).

Route 66[edit]

Milner (left) and George Maharis in Route 66 publicity still, 1962

In 1960, Milner won the role of Tod Stiles in CBS television series, Route 66, from 1960 to 1964. Created by Stirling Silliphant, Route 66 is essentially about two regular guys in a car touring the United States.

After the sudden death of his father left him unexpectedly penniless, Tod wandered the United States with his friend Buz Murdock (George Maharis) in Tod's Chevrolet Corvette, taking a variety of jobs and getting involved in other people's problems. Maharis was eventually replaced by Glenn Corbett as Linc Case, but Milner starred throughout the show's run. Since the show was filmed almost entirely on location, Milner spent nearly four years traveling the country, sometimes bringing his wife and children along.


Years before Adam-12, Milner appeared in numerous episodes of both the radio and television versions of the seminal Jack Webb series Dragnet. Milner then became the star of Adam 12 (Milner had also worked with Webb in the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma and the 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues.) This ongoing working relationship eventually led to the role for which Milner is best known.

In 1968, Milner returned to television as seven-year LAPD veteran uniform patrol Officer Peter Joseph "Pete" Malloy in the Jack Webb-produced police drama, Adam-12. Kent McCord, played his partner, rookie Officer James A. "Jim" Reed. The popular NBC series ran from 1968 to 1975. Like Webb's Dragnet, it was based on real Los Angeles Police Department procedures and cases, and was hailed for its realistic, positive portrayal of ordinary police officers.

Milner was Webb's hands-down choice for "cop behind the wheel" Pete Malloy, in part because his relative youth and prior acting credits, and also (in Milner's words) because of his on-camera driving experience from his days on Route 66.


Milner guest starred in three episodes of Emergency! between 1972-1976, during and after Adam-12's run on NBC, the best known and first of which was the pilot episode The Wedsworth-Townsend Act.

Later career[edit]

After Adam-12 Martin Milner starred as Karl Robinson in a television series version of The Swiss Family Robinson (1975–1976), produced by Irwin Allen. Most of his other work since then has been as a television guest star, most notably in action-adventure series MacGyver (as James MacGyver, MacGyver's father), Airwolf, Life Goes On, and RoboCop: The Series.

Milner also has the distinction of having portrayed the victim in the premiere episode of Columbo entitled "Murder by the Book". In 1990, Milner re-teamed with Kent McCord, his co-star from Adam-12, in the cable TV-movie Nashville Beat (1990), originally shown on the now-defunct The Nashville Network. The story, partly written by Kent McCord, had McCord as an LAPD detective who teams up with his old partner, Milner, in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1992, he guest starred on five episodes of ABC's Life Goes On.

After retiring from acting, Milner co-hosted a radio show about fishing called "Let's Talk Hook-Up" on XTRA 690.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In May 1956, he met singer and actress Judith Bess "Judy" Jones at a Hollywood dinner party, and asked for her phone number. They were married on February 23, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois.[9] They had four children together: Amy, Molly, Stuart and Andrew.[10] Amy played alongside her father on an episode of Adam-12 (Adam-12: Victim of the Crime, Original Airdate: 1/28/1975 A shopkeeper's daughter (Amy Milner) criticizes Reed's failure to catch a robber). In February 2003, Milner's eldest daughter Amy was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.[11] Amy died of the disease in December 2004.[12]


1947Life with FatherJohn Day
1948The Wreck of the HesperusNathanielUncredited
1949Sands of Iwo JimaPvt. Mike McHugh
1950LouisaBob Stewart
1950Our Very OwnBert
1951Halls of MontezumaWhitney
1951Operation PacificEns. Caldwell
1951Fighting Coast GuardAl Prescott
1951I Want YouGeorge Kress Jr.
1952The Captive CityPhil Harding
1952Belles on Their ToesAl Lynch
1952My Wife's Best FriendBuddy Chamberlain
1952Battle ZoneAndy
1952Springfield RiflePvt. Olie Larsen
1952Torpedo AlleyUndetermined RoleUnconfirmed/uncredited
1953Last of the ComanchesBilly Creel
1953Destination GobiElwood Halsey
1954Dial M for MurderPoliceman Outside Wendice FlatUncredited
1955The Long Gray LineJim O'CarberryUncredited
1955Mister RobertsShore Patrol Officer
1955Pete Kelly's BluesJoey Firestone
1955Francis in the NavyW.T. 'Rick' Rickson
1956On the Threshold of SpaceLt. Mort Glenn
1956Navy Wife
1956Screaming EaglesPvt. Corliss
1956Pillars of the SkyWaco
1957Man AfraidShep Hamilton
1957Desk SetBit PartUncredited
1957Gunfight at the O.K. CorralJames Earp
1957Sweet Smell of SuccessSteve DallasCredited as Marty Milner
1958Too Much, Too SoonLincoln Forrester
1958Marjorie MorningstarWally Wronkin
1959CompulsionSid Brooks
196013 GhostsBenjamen Rush
1960Sex Kittens Go to CollegeGeorge BartonAssociate producer
1960The Private Lives of Adam and EveAd Simms/Adam
1965Zebra in the KitchenDr. Del Hartwood
1966Ski FeverBrian Davis
1967Valley of the DollsMel Anderson
1968Three Guns for TexasConst. Clendon MacMillan
1975The Swiss Family RobinsonKarl Robinson
1998Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner[13]Video Documentary
1950The Lone RangerDick McHenryEpisode: "Pay Dirt"
1950–1951The Stu Erwin ShowDrexel Potter8 episodes
1951The Bigelow TheatreT.K.O.Episode: "T.K.O."
1952–1955DragnetStephen Banner6 episodes
1953–1957The Life of RileyBruce
Don Marshall
4 episodes
1954–1955Schlitz Playhouse of StarsVarious roles2 episodes
1955The Great GildersleeveBrickEpisode: "Water Commissioner's Water Color"
1956Matinee TheaterVarious roles2 episodes
1956TV Reader's DigestUS Army RecruitEpisode: "The Old, Old Story"
1956The Charles Farrell ShowEpisode: "Love and Kisses"
1956Telephone TimeEpisode: "The Churchill Club"
1956Science Fiction TheatreBrittEpisode: "Three Minute Mile"
1956CrossroadsCharles Mitchell2 episodes
1956Navy LogMonk Jacob"Incident at Formosa"
1956–1957The West Point StoryVarious roles2 episodes
1958Wagon TrainMatt TrumbellEpisode: "The Sally Potter Story"
1958–1959Westinghouse Desilu PlayhouseVarious roles2 episodes
1958–1959The MillionaireVarious roles2 episodes
1959RawhideJohnny DoanEpisode: "Incident with an Executioner"
1959Playhouse 90Episode: "Judgment at Nuremberg"
1959Steve CanyonSgt. Ernest BigelowEpisode: "Operation Firebee"
1959Hotel de PareePat WilliamsEpisode: "Vein of Ore"
1959U.S. MarshalDeputy Bob BaxterEpisode: "Trigger Happy"
1960The Twilight ZonePaul GrinsteadEpisode: "Mirror Image"
1960–1964Route 66Tod Stiles116 episodes
1965Memorandum for a SpyTelevision film
1965Starr, First BasemanJoe StarrTelevision film
1965Slattery's PeopleState Representative Scott FlemingEpisode: "Question: What's a Requiem for a Loser?"
1965GidgetKahunaEpisode: "The Great Kahuna"
1965LaredoClendon MacMillanEpisode: "Yahoo"
1965–1966Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler TheatreVarious roles3 episodes
1965–1966The VirginianVarious roles2 episodes
1966A Man Called ShenandoahNeal HendersonEpisode: "Requiem for the Second"
196612 O'Clock HighMaj. DimscekEpisode: "Six Feet Under"
1967The Rat PatrolSgt. RobertsEpisode: "The Wild Goose Raid"
1967Run for Your LifeVarious roles2 episodes
1967Felony SquadThomas GlynnEpisode: "Hit and Run, Run, Run"
1967InsightShermEpisode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"
1968Land's EndEricTelevision film
1968DragnetOfficer Pete MalloyEpisode: "Internal Affairs: DR-20"
1968–1975Adam-12Officer Pete Malloy174 episodes
1971Columbo (TV series)Jim FerrisEpisode: "Murder by the Book"
1971The D.A.Officer Pete MalloyEpisode: "The People vs. Saydo"
1972–1976Emergency!Officer Pete Malloy3 episodes
1973Runaway!John SheddTelevision film
1974HurricaneMaj. Hymie StoddardTelevision film
1975–1976The Swiss Family RobinsonKarl Robinson20 episodes
1976Flood!Paul BurkeTelevision film
1977SST: Death FlightLyle KingmanTelevision film
1977Police StoryGrady DolinEpisode: "Stigma"
1978Black BeautyTom GrayMiniseries
1978Little MoWilbur FolsomTelevision film
1979Crisis in Mid-AirDr. DenversTelevision film
1979The Last ConvertibleSergeant DabricMiniseries
1979The SeekersPhilip KentTelevision film
1980The Littlest HoboDon PorterEpisode: "Sailing Away"
1981Fantasy IslandVarious roles2 episodes
1981The Ordeal of Bill CarneyPeter BeltonTelevision movie
1984MasqueradeEpisode: "Winnings"
1985AirwolfArthur BarnesEpisode: "Severance Pay"
1985–1996Murder, She WroteVarious roles5 episodes
1988MacGyverCoach Turk DonnerEpisode: "Thin Ice"
1989Nashville BeatCaptain Brian O'NealTelevision movie
1990MacGyverJames MacGyverEpisode: "Passages"
1992Life Goes OnHarris Cassidy5 episodes
1994RoboCop: The SeriesRussell Murphy2 episodes
1997Diagnosis MurderDetective HalloranEpisode: "Murder Blues"


  1. ^ Willis, John (2006). Monush, Barry, ed. Screen World: 2005 Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 368. ISBN 1-557-83668-X. 
  2. ^ Willis, John (1998). Willis, John; Monush, Barry, ed. Screen World 1997 48. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 283. 
  3. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (2005). Historical Gazetteer Of The United States. Taylor & Francis. p. 538. ISBN 0-415-93948-8. 
  4. ^ "Family hour slot precludes some of 'Swiss Family Robinson' violence". The Baltimore Sun. July 31, 1975. p. B4. 
  5. ^ "The Players of Adam-12". The Prescott Courier. October 18, 1972. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Milner Grew Up In the Business". Lewiston Evening Journal. November 10, 1960. pp. 7–A. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Martin Milner". The Prescott Courier. September 20, 1970. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Pete (Dec 28, 2001). "Fishing Show Fans Do Know Him From Adam". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Marriage Announcement". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 24, 1957. p. 34. 
  10. ^ Shain, Percy (June 23, 1968). "Milner's Back!". The Boston Globe. pp. TV–2. 
  11. ^ "Actor Martin Milner seeks help for ill daughter in Encinitas". July 11, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Obituaries - 12/23/04". December 23, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]