Martin Milner, 83, actor and iconic TV cop

henrys-reed-malloy.jpgMartin Milner, right, as Officer Malloy in a scene from "Adam-12" at Henry's Tacos in Studio City.

Actor Martin Milner worked a lot, but he is remembered most for two strong television roles he debuted in the 1960s: as the Corvette-driving Tod Stiles in "Route 66" and as the LAPD squad car-driving Pete Malloy in "Adam-12." Milner died Sunday at his home in Carlsbad. He was 83.

This is how significant he was portraying a Los Angeles police officer. On Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck took to Twitter with a three-part tweet crediting Milner with his own career in law enforcement.

#Adam12 and Martin Milner embodied the spirit of the #LAPD to millions of viewers.

His depiction of a professional & tough yet compassionate cop led 2thousands of men&women applying 2become #LAPD officers, including me.

Godspeed Martin, you will live forever in our hearts. CB

"Adam-12," produced by the longtime "Dragnet" producer Jack Webb, aired from 1968 to 1975 and continued the LAPD image-building that Dragnet had started. Milner's Pete Malloy character actually debuted on "Dragnet 1967 " and also made appearances in "The D.A." and "Emergency." Milner, born in Detroit, graduated from North Hollywood High School and studied at San Fernando Valley State College and USC before becoming a full-time actor. Per the LA Times obit by Dennis McLellan, Milner was in "Sands of Iwo Jima" with John Wayne in 1949 and met Jack Webb while shooting "Halls of Montezuma," which came out in 1950.

During filming, Milner won $150 from Webb in a gin rummy game. Webb didn't pay up at the time. But a couple of months later, he phoned Milner and told him to pick up his check at NBC Radio, where Webb was doing his series "Dragnet."

When Milner came for his check, Webb mentioned that he had a lot of parts on the show that Milner could play.

"So I went to work in the 'Dragnet' radio series," Milner recalled in a 1973 TV Guide interview. "Because I couldn't be seen, I played old guys and middle-aged guys. One whole summer I was even Jack's police-partner in the series."

Milner's work on both the radio and TV versions of "Dragnet" continued after he was drafted into the Army in 1952 and stationed at Ft. Ord near Monterey, where he directed military training films and served as emcee for a Ft. Ord-based touring show.

"Whenever I could get a three-day pass and get home, even if [Webb] didn't have a part for me, he would write one so I could make $75," Milner said in the 1992 Times interview.

Milner has IMDb credits in 112 different films and television series — among them "Murder, She Wrote," "The Twilight Zone" and "Gidget," in which he played Kahuna — and last appeared in an episode of "Diagnosis Murder" in 1997.

Previously on LA Observed:
One Adam 12: Code 7 at Henry's Tacos

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