George Maharis Dies: ‘Route 66’ & ‘Fantasy Island’ Actor Was 94

George Maharis, the Route 66 actor who left the series during the height of its popularity, died on Wednesday, May 24. He was 94.

“George is well known for his stardom in Route 66, stage productions, singing, artist, and above all a great guy would do anything for anyone. My dear friend, you’ll be terribly missed,” Maharis’ friend Marc Bahan shared in a Facebook post.

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Maharis was born on September 1, 1928, in Astoria, New York. He studied at the Actors Studio and got his start working in off-Broadway productions.

His first television role came in 1958 with The Mugger. Maharis would go on to land other TV credits in shows like Naked City, Exodus and Search for Tomorrow. It would be until 1960 that he would land the role of Buz Murdock on Route 66, an indirect spinoff of Naked City that shared its same creator Stirling Silliphant. Maharis would be forced to leave the show midway through Season 3 due to health issues.

Maharis would continue acting and appear in films like Quick Before It Melts (1964), Sylvia (1965), A Covenant with Death (1967) and The Happening (1967).

In the 1970’s, Maharis returned to television and starred in shows like Night Gallery, The Mostly Deadly Game, Medical Center, Mission: Impossible, Barnaby Jones, Shaft, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Snoop Sisters, Rich Man, Poor Man, The Bionic Woman, Kojak, Fantasy Island, and many more.

Maharis’ final credit was in the film Doppelganger directed by Avi Neshar in 1993 which starred Drew Barrymore and George Newbern.

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