George Maharis, ‘Route 66’ And ‘Fantasy Island’ Actor, Dead At 94

By Leah Sarnoff,

Veteran actor George Maharis, known for roles in “Route 66” and “Fantasy Island”, has died at 94 years old.

Maharis’ longtime friend and caretaker, Marc Bahan, took to Facebook to announce his death, revealing the actor died on Wednesday, May 25.

“George Maharis passed away on Wednesday, May 25. 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,” Bahan wrote.

In the 1960s drama series, “Route 66”, Mararis played the role of Buz Murdock. He starred in the production for its first three seasons and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Series.

“Route 66” – Martin Milner, George Maharis/Everett Collection

The actor, born and raised in Astoria, Queens, served 18 months with the U.S. Marines before pursuing a career in entertainment. In 1958, Maharis got his first break into the industry with an off-Broadway role in Jean Genet’s “Deathwatch”.

Maharis’ first film role came in 1960 when he played a freedom fighter in “Exodus”. On the silver screen, Maharis was featured in the soap opera, “Search for Tomorrow” before being cast in “Naked City”.

“Route 66” was the spin-off series of “Naked City” that launched Maharis’ career. After playing Buz for three seasons, Maharis was forced to leave the CBS production in 1962, due to health issues. The actor was hospitalized with hepatitis.

Maharis’ other acting credits include films such as “Quick Before It Melts” (1964), “Sylvia” (1965), “A Covenant with Death” (1967) and “The Happening” (1967).

In the 70s, Maharis was featured on TV shows such as “The Most Deadly Game”, “Mission: Impossible” and “Fantasy Island”.


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