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How Each Adam-12 Cast Member Died

If it weren’t for Adam-12, the world would have likely never gotten such shows as Blue Bloods, Chicago P.D., and NYPD Blue. Cop shows might be commonplace these days, but they weren’t back in the late 60s when Adam-12 first hit the airwaves.

Adam-12 was one of the first American procedural cop dramas that laid the groundwork that future generations of police series would follow for decades to come. It followed the Los Angeles Police Department officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as they rode around the streets of LA in their patrol unit 1-Adam-12.

The series was the creation of Jack Webb and Robert A. Cinader. Webb was also credited for creating similarly themed shows like Dragnet and Emergency!

Adam-12 starred Martin Milner and Kent McCord and the series attempted to realistically capture a typical day in the life of police officers. To be fair, it succeeded at doing just that quite nicely. There is good reason why it enjoyed enduring popularity during its original run and continued to do so once it was in syndication. And a lot of that has to do with the show’s stellar cast.

It ran for 7 seasons consisting of 174 episodes between September 21, 1968, and May 20, 1975. It is credited as being one of the first programs to introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public.

While Adam-12’s legacy continues to live, sadly many of the actors that appeared in the trailblazing series are sadly no longer with us. Keep watching to see which cast members of Adam-12 have passed away in the 46 years since its series finale.

Martin Milner

Martin Sam Milner was an American film, stage, television, and radio actor best known for his roles in the television series Route 66 and Adam-12. On the latter, he played a seven-year LAPD veteran uniform patrol officer named Officer Peter Joseph ‘Pete’ Malloy.

Milner was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 28, 1931. His mother was a Paramount Theater circuit dancer and his father worked as a construction hand and film director. When Milner was a teenager, his family moved to LA. Once there, hired an acting coach and eventually an agent for him.

He landed his first break in 1947 in the Warner Brothers film Life with Father. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Milner continued to experience success in the realms of television and film. It was while on the set of the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma that he met and befriended actor and producer Jack Webb and began working intermittently on his radio series Dragnet.

Milner was Jack Webb’s first choice to play Pete Malloy on Adam-12. Partly because of his youthful appearance and his prior acting experience. Webb was also impressed by his on-camera driving experience from back in his Route 66 days.

Milner later guest-starred in three episodes of Webb’s Adam-12 spinoff series Emergency!

On September 6, 2015, Milner died of heart failure at his home in Carlsbad, California at the age of 83.

And don’t go anywhere yet. We’ve still got quite a few deceased actors to discuss that deserve a little recognition. So stick around and pay your respects with us.

Shaaron Claridge

Born Shaaron Lee Cooper on October 1, 1938, in Los Angeles, County, California, Claridge was best known for her role as the dispatcher on Adam-12. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Claridge worked as a voice actress primarily voicing police dispatchers on shows like Dragnet, Lou Grant, Columbo, and of course Adam-12.

On the latter, her voice was featured in all but three episodes of the series. She was only ever seen onscreen once in the fifth-season episode ‘Suspended’ in which she had a conversation – albeit briefly – with officer Pete Malloy.

On September 15, 2021, Claridge died of natural causes at the age of 82.

William Boyett

Boyett was born in Akron, Ohio on January 3, 1927. He lived there until the mid-1940s when his family moved to LA. In high school, he took an interest in theater. After winning a school Shakespeare competition he went on to pursue a career in acting for radio shows.

In 1954, Boyett played a settler named Jim Hardwicke in an episode of the anthology series Death Valley Days. After proving his worth in that role, Boyett went on to be cast quite often as a law-enforcement officer in series such as Gang Busters, M Squad, The Detectives, and Gomer Pyle USMC.

Jack Webb selected Boyett for the role of Sgt. Mac MacDonald after several performances such as portraying Sgt. Sam Hunter in both the radio and television iteration of his show Dragnet. Boyett retained his role as Sgt. Mac on Adam-12 throughout the show’s entire run.

Throughout his acting career, Boyett appeared in many different television series such as Knight Rider, Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files, Murphy Brown, and Night Court. He also acted in several motion pictures such as 1987s The Hidden and 1991s the Rocketeer.

Boyett died on December 29, 2004, in Mission Hills, California at the age of 77. The cause of his death was correlated to complications from pneumonia and kidney failure.

Fred Stromsoe

Born on June 15, 1930, in Denver, Colorado, Fred Stromsoe was an actor and assistant director best known for his work most notably on Adam-12 as the character Officer Jerry Woods as well as his roles in 1972s What’s Up, Doc, and 1963s The Slime People. He later played Alex the garage owner On Dallas from 1990 to 1991.

Fred Stromsoe died at the age of 64 on September 30, 1994, in Los Angeles. While the cause of his death isn’t known for certain, it’s speculated that he had succumbed to cancer.

Gary Crosby

Gary Evan Crosby, born on June 27, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. He’s an actor and singer that enjoy a fruitful career in radio, film, and television. His parents were the legendary Bing Crosby and the singer and actress Dixie Lee.

After graduating from Stanford, Crosby entered the entertainment industry. He performed in a harmony singing group called The Crosby Boys alongside his three brothers; Philip, Lindsay, and Dennis throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

He got his start on television performing on variety shows such as The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom and The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.

In the mid-50s, Crosby had his own radio program, The Gary Crosby Show on CBS.

In 1955, he appeared on the Jack Benny Program. And was later briefly under contract with 20th Century-Fox in the late 50s. For the remainder of the fifties, he played soldiers in films like 1958s Mardi Gras and 1959s A Private Affair.

Crosby is probably best known for his role as Officer Edward ‘Ed’ Wells on Adam-12. He also made appearances in Jack Webb’s Mark VIII Limited and Dragnet. He also appeared in three episodes of the Rockford Files.

In 1983, just six years after his famous father’s death, Crosby published a memoir entitled Going My Own Way that detailed his mother’s alcoholism and his father’s emotional and physical abuse.

Crosby died of lung cancer in Burbank, California on August 24, 1995.

Claude Johnson

Claude Johnson was born on May 17, 1938, in Lassen County, California. As an actor, he was best known for his role as Officer Brinkman on Adam-12. Previously he had appeared in 1954s The Magical World of Disney, and later on in his acting career, he appeared in the 1983 film Space Raiders.

Johnson passed away at the age of 71 on May 18, 2009, in Los Angeles, California just one day after his birthday. The cause of his death is unknown.

Art Gilmore

Best known for his work on shows like Highway Patrol and Dragnet, Art Gilmore was born on March 18, 1912, in Tacoma, Washington. After graduating from Washington State University, Gilmore was hired to work as an announcer for Seattle’s KOL Radio. In 1936, he became a staff announcer for the Warner Brothers affiliated radio station KFWB in Hollywood. He eventually jumped ship and moved over to the CBS-owned and operated KNX station as a news reader.

After serving in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II, Gilmore decided that he wanted to become a professional singer and moved back to Hollywood.

Gilmore later appeared on quite a few television shows including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Emergency, Dragnet, The Waltons, and Adam-12. On Adam-12, he played the character Captain Moore and Lt. Val Wangsgard. In total, he appeared in 15 episodes of the series between 1968 and 1974.

Gilmore died of natural causes on September 25, 2010, at the age of 98.

William Stevens

William Stevens was an actor who had a fairly successful Hollywood career. But even so, we know very little about his personal life or background.

What we do know is his acting career began in 1958 when he appeared in the Charles Bronson western film Showdown at Boot Hill. He then acted in Adam-12 from 1968 to 1975 appearing in 14 episodes as the character Officer Walters. He also appeared in the CBS series Gargoyles from 1972 to 1973. Later on in his career, he produced the CBS series The Legend of Hiawatha which ran from 1984 to 1985.

Unfortunately, there is no record of when or how he died, but it has been confirmed that he is sadly no longer with us.

If you haven’t watched an episode of Adam-12 in a while, you really should. It might not seem so impressive these days, but considering just how influential of a series it was, it should almost be required watching for any fan of procedural cop dramas.

We want to take a moment while we can to honor all of the fallen actors that helped make Adam-12 the hit series that it became. Without acting talent, a television show is just a lifeless script. It’s the people that embody the roles and bring the script to the screen that deserve much of the recognition that a popular TV show receives. The majority of the Adam-12 cast may be dead now, but their memory continues to live on alongside Adam-12s legacy.

Who was your favorite character on Adam-12 and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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And as always, thanks for watching! We’ll you soon.

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