LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Actor Martin Milner, whose portrayal of Officer Pete Malloy on the “Adam-12” television series that helped shape the public’s perception of the Los Angeles Police Department, was honored Wednesday at the department’s headquarters.
Milner died Sept. 7 at his home in Carlsbad the age of 83 after a long illness.
The LAPD will host a ceremony in Milner’s honor at its downtown Los Angeles headquarters. Among those expected to attend are Milner’s “Adam-12” co-star Kent McCord, Milner’s son Andy and series producer Tom Williams. William Rinehart, a retired LAPD lieutenant who served as a technical adviser on the show, is also expected to attend, along with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
“’Adam-12′ and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the LAPD to millions of viewers,” Beck said shortly after Milner’s death. “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.”
Milner starred in the successful CBS series “Route 66” in the early 1960s before producer Jack Webb tapped him to star alongside McCord in a new weekly show about the daily adventures of two LAPD beat cops. “Adam-12” debuted on NBC in 1968 and ran until 1975. “Route 66” premiered 55 years ago today.
Milner was born Dec. 28, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a film distributor and his mother was a dancer. The family moved to Los Angeles when Milner was a boy, and he made his big-screen debut in 1947’s “Life With Father.”
Milner served a two-year stint in the Army in the early 1950s, producing training films and hosting a touring show based at Fort Ord, California.
He married actress and dancer Judy Jones in 1957. The couple had four children.
Milner’s first big TV hit, “Route 66,” centered on a pair of men traveling the country in a Corvette, doing odd jobs and getting involved in people’s lives. It was noteworthy for its on-location shooting and a jazzy score by Nelson Riddle.
He secured the role on “Adam-12” through his longtime friendship with Webb, who starred as Sgt. Joe Friday in the earlier TV classic “Dragnet,” which also depicted a pair of fictional LAPD officers.
In the turbulent era of the late 1960s and early ’70s, Milner’s cool-headed Malloy presented the police in a sympathetic light. Malloy and partner Jim Reed often encountered strung-out or violent hippies on their police calls, with Malloy tempering the emotions of the younger Reed.
Milner continued to appear on television after “Adam-12”, guest starring on hits such as “Murder She Wrote,” “MacGyver” and “Diagnosis Murder.” He also starred in a prime-time series version of “The Swiss Family Robinson” on ABC from 1975-76.
An avid fisherman, Milner hosted the syndicated radio show “Let’s Talk Hook-Up,” based in San Diego, after his acting days ended.
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