Born September 1, 1928 in Astoria, New York, actor George Maharis was born into a large family of Greek immigrants who owned a restaurant. Initially, Maharis wanted to be a pop singer but drifted into acting instead, and he studied with Lee Strasberg at the famed Actors Studio in New York. In the early 1950s, he found bits of work in early television series, such as Mr. Peepers and The Goodyear Television Playhouse. He also acted in numerous off-Broadway productions and won a 1960 Theatre World Award for his performance in the production of The Zoo Story.

Maharis is best known for his role as Buz Murdock on the hit 1960-1964 CBS TV series Route 66, which was shot on location across many parts of the U.S., and filming often meant a 15-hour per day shooting schedule. During the series, he also began a recording career, cutting several albums and releasing a few singles. In April 1962, Maharis came down with hepatitis during the lensing of the third season. He spent eight weeks recovering and went back to the series but, when he became ill again, he left the series permanently in November 1962. He was replaced on the series by Glenn Corbett. Still suffering from the effects of his illness, Maharis did not work again for nearly two years, when he was well enough to be cast in a starring role in the MGM comedy Quick Before It Melts (1964; with Robert Morse).

George MaharisGeorge MaharisGeorge MaharisGeorge Maharis

Beefcake photos of George Maharis from the 1960s

For the remainder of the 1960s, Maharis focused on his film career, with roles in the Paramount drama Sylvia (1965; with Carroll Baker and Joanne Dru), the science fiction thriller The Satan Bug (1965; with Dana Andrews and Anne Francis, and Columbia's counterculture comedy The Happening (1967; with Anthony Quinn and Martha Hyer). None of these films was a major hit, however, and ultimately Maharis again looked to television for a career. In 1970, he took a lead role in the ABC drama The Most Deadly Game in which Ralph Bellamy and Yvette Mimieux also starred, but the series was canceled after 13 episodes. Afterward, Maharis had a number of guest-star roles on such series as Night Gallery, Cannon, and Mission: Impossible. As a boost his career, he posed nude at age 45 for Playgirl's July 1973 issue and was one of the first celebrities to do so, in addition to Gary Conway, Peter Lupus, and Don Stroud.

the films of george maharis

Route 66 (1960-1964 CBS TV Series)

George MaharisGeorge Maharis and Martin MilnerDeborah Walley and George Maharis

LEFT: Maharis portrayed Buz Murdock on the first three seasons of the hit CBS series Route 66. CENTER: With series co-star Martin Milner. RIGHT: With Deborah Walley in a 1960 episode titled Ten Drops of Water

Quick Before It Melts (1964)

Robert Morse, Bernard Fox, and George Maharis

With Robert Morse and Bernard Fox in the MGM comedy Quick Before It Melts

The Satan Bug (1965)

George Maharis and Anne FrancisAnne Francis and George Maharis

From the United Artists science fiction thriller The Satan Bug with Anne Francis

Sylvia (1965)

George Maharis and Carroll BakerGeorge Maharis and Joanne Dru

From the Paramount drama Sylvia. LEFT: On the set with Carroll Baker, who portrays the title character. RIGHT: With Joanne Dru

The Happening (1967)

Anthony Quinn and George Maharis

From the Columbia counterculture comedy The Happening with Anthony Quinn

A Covenant with Death (1967)

George Maharis and Laura Devon

George Maharis and Laura Devon star in the Warner Bros. drama A Covenant with Death

Journey to the Unknown (1968-1969 ABC TV series)

George Maharis

From the ABC thriller TV anthology series Journey to the Unknown

The Desperados (1969)

George Maharis and Vince EdwardsGeorge Maharis

LEFT: From the Columbia western The Desperados with Vince Edwards. RIGHT: Maharis as Jacob Galt

Land Raiders (1969)

Arlene Dahl and George Maharis

With Arlene Dahl in the Columbia western Land Raiders

The Monk (1969)

George Maharis and Janet Leigh

From the ABC made-for-TV thriller The Monk with Janet Leigh

The Most Deadly Game (1970-1971 ABC TV Series)

George Maharis, Ralph Bellamy, and Yvette MimieuxGeorge Maharis and Barbara Luna

LEFT: Maharis starred alongside Ralph Bellamy and Yvette Mimieux in the ABC series The Most Deady Game. RIGHT: With Barbara Luna in the episode War Games, which aired in November 1970

Police Story (1973-1977 NBC TV Series)

Clifton Davis and George Maharis

With Clifton Davis in a 1973 episode of Police Story titled The Ho Chi Minh Trail, which originally aired in November 1973

Thriller (1973-1976 Syndicated TV Series)

George Maharis and Jennie Linden

With Jennie Linden in a 1974 episode of Thriller titled Death to Sister Mary

McMillan & Wife (1971-1977 NBC TV Series)

Susan Saint James and George Maharis

With Susan Saint James in a 1974 episode of McMillan & Wife titled The Game of Survival

Rich Man, Poor Man (1976 ABC Miniseries)

George Maharis

In the role of Joey Quales in the ABC miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man

george maharis today

In the 1970s and 1980s, George Maharis continued acting in theater productions, television series and made-for-TV films, and the occasional theatrically released film. His 1970s output was prolific, as a guest star on such series as McMillan & Wife, The Bionic Woman, Police Story, and Fantasy Island. His made-for-TV films include Murder on Flight 502 (1975; with Hugh O'Brian and Dane Clark), SST: Death Flight (1977; with Peter Graves and Tina Louise), and Crash (1978; with William Shatner and Adrienne Barbeau). By 1985, he had taken up painting as a vocation and quietly retired from acting following his appearance in the horror film Doppelganger (1993; with Drew Barrymore). Maharis, who is gay, is now 87 years old but looks years younger and divides his time between California and New York.

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Doppelganger (1993) with Drew Barrymore, Dennis Christopher, and Sally Kellerman
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) with Lee Horsley, Simon MacCorkindale, Richard Lynch, and Richard Moll
Crash (1978) with William Shatner, Adrienne Barbeau, Brooke Bundy, Ron Glass, Sharon Gless, Joyce Jameson, and Ed Nelson
SST: Death Flight (1977) with Peter Graves, Lorne Greene, Season Hubley, Tina Louise, Burgess Meredith, Doug McClure, and Martin Milner
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976) with Patty Duke, Broderick Crawford, Ruth Gordon, Tina Louise, Ray Milland, and Donna Mills
Murder on Flight 502 (1975) with Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Dane Clark, Laraine Day, Fernando Lamas, Farrah Fawcett, Hugh O'Brian, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Stack, and Danny Bonaduce
Death in Space (1974) with Cameron Mitchell, Jeremy Slate, and Robert Walker Jr.
Of Men and Women (1973) with Stephen Boyd, John David Carson, Jack Cassidy, Jackie Cooper, Farrah Fawcett, Barbara Feldon, and Joyce Jameson
The Victim (1972) with Elizabeth Montgomery, Eileen Heckart, and Sue Ane Langdon
The Last Day of the War (1970) with Maria Perschy and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
The Monk (1969) with Janet Leigh, Rick Jason, Carl Betz, and Jack Albertson
Land Raiders (1969) with Telly Savalas, Arlene Dahl, Guy Rolfe, Jocelyn Lane, and Fernando Rey
The Desperados (1969) with Vince Edwards, Sylvia Syms, Jack Palance, and Neville Brand
Escape to Mindanao (1968) with Nehemiah Persoff, James Shigeta, and Vic Diaz
The Happening (1967) with Anthony Quinn, Michael Parks, Robert Walker Jr., Martha Hyer, Faye Dunaway, Milton Berle, and Clifton James
A Covenant with Death (1967) with Laura Devon, Katy Jurado, Earl Holliman, Arthur O'Connell, Gene Hackman, and Wende Wagner
A Small Rebellion (1969) with Simone Signoret
The Satan Bug (1965) with Richard Basehart, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews, Richard Bull, Frank Sutton, Edward Asner, and Simon Oakland
Sylvia (1965) with Carroll Baker, Joanne Dru, Peter Lawford, Viveca Lindfors, Edmond O'Brien, Aldo Ray, Ann Sothern, Lloyd Bochner, and Nancy Kovack
Quick Before It Melts (1964) with Robert Morse, Anjanette Comer, James Gregory, Michael Constantine, Norman Fell, Bernard Fox, and Yvonne Craig
Exodus (1960) with Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson, Peter Lawford, Lee J. Cobb, Sal Mineo, and John Derek
The Mugger (1958) with James Franciscus

The Most Deadly Game, 1970-1971 ABC TV series. Maharis portrayed Jonathan Croft
Route 66, 1960-1964 CBS TV series. Maharis portrayed Buz Murdock from 1960-1963

Murder, She Wrote, episode Trials and Tribulations, originally aired September 16, 1990
Murder, She Wrote, episode The Fixer-Upper, originally aired February 11, 1990
The Joe Franklin Show, episode Sally Kirkland, Carol Lynley, George Maharis, originally aired December 31, 1989
The Adventures of Superboy, episode Programmed for Death, originally aired December 2, 1989
The Master, episode The Good, the Bad, and the Priceless, originally aired March 23, 1984
Matt Houston, episode The Bikini Murders, originally aired February 3, 1984
Fantasy Island, episode Sitting Duck/Sweet Suzi Swann, originally aired March 6, 1982
Fantasy Island, episode Perfect Husband, The/Volcano, originally aired November 21, 1981
Fantasy Island, episode The Invisible Woman/The Snow Bird, originally aired December 6, 1980
Fantasy Island, episode Aphrodite/Dr. Jeckyll and Miss Hyde, originally aired February 2, 1980
Fantasy Island, episode Seance/Treasure, originally aired January 13, 1979
Logan's Run, episode Night Visitors, originally aired January 23, 1978
Fantasy Island, episode Return to Fantasy Island, originally aired January 20, 1978
Switch, episode Legend of the Macunas: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired October 14 and 21, 1977
The Feather and Father Gang, episode Flight to Mexico, originally aired April 4, 1977
Police Story, episode The Six Foot Stretch, originally aired March 24, 1977
Kojak, episode Lady in the Squadroom, originally aired March 8, 1977
Gibbsville, episode The Price of Everything, originally aired January 1, 1977
The Bionic Woman, episode Jaime's Shield: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired December 15 and 22, 1976
Bert D'Angelo/Superstar, episode Scag, originally aired June 26, 1976
Jigsaw John, episode Plastique, originally aired April 19, 1976
Good Heavens, episode See Jane Run, originally aired March 29, 1976
Rich Man, Poor Man, episode Part V: Chapter 7, originally aired February 23, 1976
Ellery Queen, episode The Adventure of the Judas Tree, originally aired February 1, 1976
Police Story, episode Test of Brotherhood, originally aired November 14, 1975
Nakia, episode Pete, originally aired December 21, 1974
Movin' On, episode The Good Life, originally aired November 7, 1974
McMillan & Wife, episode The Game of Survival, originally aired October 20, 1974
Thriller, episode Death to Sister Mary, originally aired June 15, 1974
The Snoop Sisters, episode The Devil Made Me Do It!, originally aired March 5, 1974
Marcus Welby, M.D., episode Out of Control, originally aired February 26, 1974
Shaft, episode Cop Killer, originally aired January 1, 1974
The Wide World of Mystery, episode Come Die with Me, originally aired January 1, 1974
Police Story, episode The Ho Chi Minh Trail, originally aired November 6, 1973
Barnaby Jones, episode The Deadly Prize, originally aired November 4, 1973
Mission: Impossible, episode The Fountain, originally aired January 26, 1973
Cannon, episode The Rip Off, originally aired November 1, 1972
Medical Center, episode The Pawn, originally aired December 1, 1971
Cade's County, episode The Mustangers, originally aired November 14, 1971
Rod Serling's Night Gallery, episode The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes/Miss Lovecraft Sent Me/The Hand of Borgus Weems/Phantom of What Opera?, originally aired September 15, 1971
Love Story, episode Spilt Champagne, originally aired December 17, 1968
Journey to the Unknown, episode Miss Belle, originally aired October 24, 1968
The Danny Thomas Hour, episode The Demon Under the Bed, originally aired October 9, 1967
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode A Small Rebellion, originally aired February 9, 1966
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode The Eighth Day, originally aired December 21, 1966
Password All-Stars, episode Betsy Palmer vs. George Maharis, originally aired October 21, 1962
Naked City, episode A Death of Princes, originally aired October 12, 1960
Alcoa Theatre, episode Action Off Screen, originally aired January 11, 1960
Brenner, episode Word of Honor, originally aired July 11, 1959
Naked City, episode Four Sweet Corners, originally aired April 28, 1959
Naked City, episode Fire Island, originally aired March 3, 1959
Naked City, episode The Manhole, originally aired January 6, 1959
Goodyear Playhouse, episode Nobody's Town, originally aired January 27, 1957
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, episode Marty, originally aired May 24, 1953
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