Martin Milner, who starred on TV on “Adam-12” with Kent McCord and, earlier, on “Route 66” with George Maharis, died Sunday night, Diana Downing, a representative for his fan page, confirmed. He was 83.
In 1952, Milner began a two-year stint in the United States Army. He was assigned to Special Services at Fort Ord on California’s Monterey Bay Peninsula. where he directed training films. He also emceed and performed in skits in a touring unit show to entertain the soldiers. Milner was encouraged by fellow soldier Clint Eastwood to pursue an acting career when his time in the Army ended. While in the Army, Milner continued working for Jack Webb, playing “Officer Bill Lockwood” (briefly the partner of “Sgt. Friday”) and other characters on the Dragnet radio series on weekends. He also appeared on six episodes of Webb’s Dragnet television series between 1952 and 1955.
Milner was also known for his roles as a jazz guitarist in the brilliant 1957 film “Sweet Smell of Success” and in the 1967 camp classic “Valley of the Dolls.”
Milner began acting in movies while a teen, after his father got him an agent, first appearing in the 1947 classic “Life With Father.” The film starred William Powell and Irene Dunne, and thus Milner, along with his co-star Elizabeth Taylor, bridged the generations in Hollywood between the golden age and contemporary era.
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