George Maharis, the actor, singer and artist, died on May 24, 2023 from natural causes. Mr. Maharis was 94.
George Maharis studied at the Actors Studio after a stint in the US Marines. He began to get roles in off-Broadway productions and television appearances. His big break came in 1960 when he was cast as Buz Murdock in Route 66. The show catapulted him to stardom. Due to his popularity and singing ability, Mr. Maharis even began a recording career!
During the third season of Route 66, George Maharis left the series for health reasons. The show’s producers felt that Mr. Maharis wanted to break his contract to pursue roles in feature films. Reports later surfaced that tensions rose when the producers learned that George Maharis was gay. Once Mr. Maharis was off the show, Route 66 declined in popularity and was cancelled the following year.
George Maharis went on to star in television roles and feature films. Later in his career, he sang in nightclubs and became an impressionist painter.
Some of George Maharis’ television appearances include: Mister Peepers; The Investigator (2 episodes); The Phil Silvers Show; Naked City (4 episodes); Search for Tomorrow (5 episodes); Route 66 (82 episodes); Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (2 episodes); The Danny Thomas Hour; Journey to the Unknown; The Most Deadly Game (13 episodes); Night Gallery; Cade’s County; Medical Center; Canon; Mission: Impossible; Barnaby Jones; Marcus Welby; McMillan & Wife; Rich Man, Poor Man; The Bionic Woman (2 episodes); Kojak; Police Story (3 episodes); Switch (2 episodes); Fantasy Island (6 episodes); Matt Houston and Murder She Wrote (2 episodes).
Some of George Maharis’ feature films include: Quick Before It Melts; The Satan Bug; The Happening and The Sword and the Sorcerer;
I can remember watching Route 66 because it was what the adults watched in the house. I also remember my mom and her friend talking about the rumors that Mr. Maharis left the show because the producers found out he was gay. They had a hard time believing it, and thought George Maharis was so handsome. I liked him in Route 66 and always enjoyed seeing George Maharis appear in shows that I watched.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to George Maharis’ family, friends and fans.