George Maharis, who is best known for playing Buz Murdock on the popular television show Route 66, actually passed away on May 24 following a 60-year struggle with hepatitis, contrary to earlier reports that he had passed away on May 25.
He never got married or had kids, but his sister and brother are still alive.
Marc Bahan, Maharis’ lifelong friend and carer, wrote on Facebook:
“George Maharis passed away on May 25. George is well known for his work as an artist, stage appearances, singing, and his famous status on Route 66. But above all, he is a kind person who will go above and beyond for anyone. You will be sadly missed, my dear friend.
Maharis started acting in 1953 and throughout the course of the next seven years, he participated in a lot of films, sitcoms and television shows, including 1959’s Naked City. The following year (1960), he was chosen to play the lead role in Route 66, a Naked City spin-off series, and he did so for the first three seasons before quitting in 1963.
For Outstanding Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Series, Maharis was a finalist for an Emmy in 1962; The Defenders’ E.G. Marshall won the prize. He also began writing and performing some of his most well-known songs around this time.
He attempted to return to Route 66 after contracting hepatitis in late 1962, but the demanding schedule and long hours proved to be too much.
In a 2007 interview, Maharis recalled the doctor’s warning: “If you don’t get out now, you’re either going to be dead, or you’re going to have permanent liver damage.”
Before making a comeback to the big screen in 1964 with Quick Before It Melts, Maharis had to wait almost two years for his body to be able to withstand the strain. He had countless appearances in sitcoms, TV series, and films during the next three decades. His career came to an end after playing Mike Wallace in the 1993 film Doppelganger.
Sylvia (1965), A Covenant with Death (1967), The Happening (1967), The Desperados (1969), The Most Deadly Game (1970–1971), and Fantasy Island (1979–1982) are a few of his other well-known works. Some of his well-known songs include Teach Me Tonight, After the Lights Go Down Low, and They Knew About You.
Younger people might not be aware of George Maharis’ influence on the 1960s. We’re talking about a character whose appearance in one of the most popular early 1960s programmes served as the basis for the 1962 song “Teach Me Tonight,” which peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard charts. He could hear his voice everywhere.
When I was younger when he was on Route 66, I had a tremendous crush on George. I read every article about him in a magazine. The first season of Route 66 in its entirety was just purchased on VHS. I might get a DVD produced of it. An admirer who supported the actor/singer throughout his career commented, “I still have one of his recordings.”
Who didn’t fall in love with George? I knew as a little child that he was one of those well-known, strong individuals from the mid-century that I wanted to meet when I grew up. I’ve always heard he was kind to his followers. I so wish I had had the chance to meet him. On Facebook, a supporter wrote, “I hope he enjoyed his many years.