News broke today that actor Martin Milner has passed on, and I found my eyes welling with tears.
Over many years one becomes accustomed to the sad yet inevitable passings of favorite actors, but there are some who are such key influences, part of so many personal memories, that it hits especially hard. Martin Milner was such an actor.
ADAM-12 (1968-75) is one of my earliest TV memories. Our family watched it together every week, and I suspect my brother would agree it influenced his decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Milner's Pete Malloy was serious, befitting the mentor of a younger, more emotional partner (Kent McCord), but he was also kind and caring. Pete Malloy knew what he was doing, and when he showed up on the scene you knew everything would be OK.
McCord said today of his TV partner that they didn't have to act the fact that they liked one another: "We did. We never had to pretend."
In another interview McCord said: "I had a long, long friendship with Marty and we remained friends up till the end. He was one of the really true great people of our industry with a long, distinguished career ... Wonderful films, wonderful television shows, pioneering shows like ROUTE 66. He was one of the great guys. I was lucky to have him in my life."
The LAPD issued a beautiful tribute: "Pete Malloy, you are End of Watch."
LAPD Chief Beck wrote ("translated" from Twitter shorthand): "ADAM-12 and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the LAPD to millions of viewers. His depiction of a professional and tough yet compassionate cop led to thousands of men and women applying to become LAPD officers, including me. Godspeed Martin, you will live forever in our hearts."
Martin Milner also starred in the TV series ROUTE 66 (seen below) and SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. He retired after a 1997 appearance on DIAGNOSIS MURDER.
Martin Milner is survived by his wife and three of his four children. A Milner Facebook page has many wonderful photos.
Obituaries: The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, National Public Radio, and Deadline.
Update: An appreciation by Robert Lloyd at the Los Angeles Times ("He draws you in most when he appears to do the least; he was powerful because he was present") and another by Kevin Roderick at L.A. Observed.
Update: Martin Milner's family has posted a note of appreciation to the public on Facebook. Services will be public on Saturday, September 12th, in Oceanside, California.
Martin Milner movies reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: I WANT YOU (1951), BELLES ON THEIR TOES (1952), DESTINATION GOBI (1953), PETE KELLY'S BLUES (1955), and SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957), an especially good role seen in the photo below.
Other notable Milner movie titles: LIFE WITH FATHER (1947), OUR VERY OWN (1950), THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955), MISTER ROBERTS (1955), PILLARS OF THE SKY (1956), TOO MUCH, TOO SOON (1958), MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR (1958), COMPULSION (1959), 13 GHOSTS (1960), and ZEBRA IN THE KITCHEN (1965).