Word went out yesterday that Martin Milner passed away at the age of 83. Milner was the star of one of my all-time favorite shows, Adam-12. As a kid in the mid-1960's I caught every episode (in glorious black & white). At the time Adam-12 was as close to reality TV as we could get, and the producer Jack Webb's claim that the stories were lifted right out of the LAPD case files made things even more believable to this impressionable teenager.
Milner was already a seasoned acting professional before taking on the role of Officer Pete Malloy. His career started in 1947 in the movie Life With Father, playing the teenage son of William Powell and Irene Dunne. He went on to star in a number of highly regarded movies such as Sands of Iwo Jima, Operation Pacific, Gunfight At The OK Corral, Dial M for Murder, Mister Roberts and Sweet Smell of Success. Milner's first TV role was in a 1950 episode of The Lone Ranger. Looking at his filmography it's clear he had one heck of a work ethic and was never idle for very long.
Milner's breakout role was as co-star of the iconic TV series Route 66, running from 1960 - 1964. Three years later producer/director Jack Webb of Dragnet fame picked Milner for the starring role in his reality-based TV show about the LAPD.
By all reports Milner was a hard working, stand-up guy who who defied Hollywood convention, enjoyed family life and remained married to his wife for 58 years. That alone is one hell of an achievement!
Here's a montage from the first episode of Adam-12, where Pete Malloy is straightening out his new rookie partner, Officer Jim Reed. Nothing like starting off on the right foot.
Rest in Peace Martin, you've earned it.