Martin Milner, best known for his performances in the popular television shows Route 66 and Adam-12, has passed away at the age of 83. Milnerís career spanned far beyond those two shows, though, lasting 50 years before his retirement from acting in 1997.
Milner was born in Detroit in 1931 and became interested in acting while in school. After moving with his family to Los Angeles as a teenager, his parents hired an acting coach for him. His first role was in 1947 in the film Life with Father, while he was still in high school. He took a number of other bit roles in his teen years, in films such as Sands of Iwo Jima, Compulsion, and Operation Pacific. He attended the University of Southern California, intending to study theater, but dropped out after a year to focus on his budding acting career.
He then spent two years in the U.S. Army, where he directed training films. He also performed in skits in a touring show to entertain the soldiers. After his service ended, he began a recurring role in Life of Riley, from 1953 to 1958.
In 1960, he began starring as Tod Stiles on Route 66 on CBS; the character wanders the U.S. with his friend Buz Murdock, taking a variety of jobs and helping other peopleís problems. The show was interestingly filmed almost entirely on-location, meaning that Milner spent the seriesí four-year run traveling the country.
Following Route 66, he starred in Adam-12 in the role of Officer Pete Malloy. Adam-12 ran from 1968 to 1975 and was praised for its realistic portrayal of ordinary police officers. After Adam-12, Milner starred as Karl Robinson in The Swiss Family Robinson, though most of his later work was as a guest star.