George Maharis, Star of ‘Route 66,’ Dies at 94

Actor starred as the restless Buz Murdock in the 1960s CBS drama series

George Maharis

George Maharis, star of the 1960s CBS drama series “Route 66,” died this past May 24 at the age of 94, his friend Marc Bahan announced in a Facebook post.

No cause of death has been announced.

A graduate of the Actors Studio in New York, Maharis got his start in acting in off-Broadway productions before getting his first television role in 1958. Among the shows he would appear in over the next two years include “Exodus” and “Naked City,” the latter of which led Maharis to get the nod from series creator Stirling Silliphant on his next show, “Route 66.”

“Route 66” starred Maharis alongside Martin Milner (“Adam 12”) as a pair of young, restless men who travel across the United States in search of odd jobs and personal discovery. Maharis played Buz Murdock, an orphan who used to work for the father of his traveling partner, Tod Stiles, played by Milner. Inspired by Jack Kerouac, Buz had a looser, somewhat more rebellious attitude than Tod, though that gave way to passionate poetic rants against the injustices they see during their travels.

Maharis was forced to leave the show during its third season due to health problems, but continued to appear in TV shows in the ’60s and ’70s, like “Sylvia,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Most Deadly Game” and “Fantasy Island.” His final credit was in the 1993 film “Doppelganger” starring Drew Barrymore.