Strother Martin

Strother Martin

61 (passed away Aug. 1st, 1980)
Mar. 26th, 1919
Born in
Kokomo, Indiana, USA
5' 7"

Strother Martin's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Tarzan (1966) TV Show
Tarzan (1966)
The Danny Thomas Hour TV Show
The Danny Thomas Hour
Hotel de Paree TV Show
Hotel de Paree
The Rounders TV Show
The Rounders
Jefferson Drum TV Show
Jefferson Drum
Stage 7 TV Show
Stage 7

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


American character actor who achieved considerable fame in the last decade of his life. A native of Kokomo, Indiana, Strother Martin Jr. was the youngest of three children of Strother Douglas Martin, a machinist, and Ethel Dunlap Martin. His family moved soon after his birth to San Antonio, Texas, but quickly returned to Indiana. Strother Jr. grew up in Indianapolis and in Cloverdale, Indiana. He excelled at swimming and diving, and at 17 won the National Junior Springboard Diving Championship. He attended the University of Michigan as diving team member. He served in the U.S. Navy as a swimming instructor in World War II. Nicknamed "T-Bone" Martin for his diving style, his 3rd place finish in the adult National Springboard Diving Championships cost him a place on the 1948 Olympic team. He moved to California to become an actor, but worked in odd jobs and as a swimming instructor to Marion Davies and the children of Charles Chaplin. He found work as a swimming extra in several films and as a leprechaun on a local children's TV show, "Mabel's Fables." Bit parts came his way, leading to television work with Sam Peckinpah, which led to a lifelong relationship. He also found memorable roles for John Ford (I) and by the 1960s was a familiar face in American movies. With Cool Hand Luke (1967) in 1967 came new acclaim and a place among the busiest character actors in Hollywood. He worked steadily and in substantial roles throughout the 1970s and seemed at the peak of his career when he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1980.

  • No relation to 'Dewey Martin' (qv) although erroneously claimed as such in some sources.
  • Appeared in six movies with John Wayne: The Horse Soldiers (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), McLintock! (1963), The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), True Grit (1969) and Rooster Cogburn (1975).
  • Frequently cast alongside 'Paul Newman (I)' (qv), in _Cool Hand Luke (1967)_ (qv), _Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)_ (qv), _Slap Shot (1977)_ (qv) and several others.
  • Frequently co-starred with 'L.Q. Jones' (qv), who in real life was one of his closest friends.
  • Did an episode of the _"The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961)_ (qv) called "Baby Fat" in which he portrayed a playwright based on 'Tennessee Williams' (qv) in 1965. Fifteen years later while hosting _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv), he admitted during the monologue that because of that part, many times he was actually mistaken for the famous playwright.
  • Strother Martin collaborated with friend and filmmaker J.D. Feigelson on dialog in the screenplay for cult film "Dark Night of the Scarecrow." Feigelson was writing the the film to star Strother, but before it could be set for production he passed away. Actor Charles Durning replaced Martin in the lead role of Otis P. Hazelrigg. One of memorable lines in the film was Strother Martin's contribution: "He's thirty-three years old, Mrs. Ritter, he's physically mature.".
  • Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Court of Remembrance, #G62420.
  • Bitten by a snake during filming of _Sssssss (1973)_ (qv)

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