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Martin E. Brooks, best known for his portrayal of the scientist Dr. Rudy Wells on the 1970s ABC series The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman, has died. He was 90.
Brooks died Monday in Studio City of natural causes, Avatar and Titanic producer Jon Landau told The Hollywood Reporter. Brooks was the “soul mate” of Landau’s mother, Edie (also a producer), for the past 20 years, he said. The two grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where they had been friends as children, and reconnected in 1993 after her husband died.
Brooks was the third actor to play Wells, who oversees the bionic implants of Steve Austin (Lee Majors) and Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) on the two action shows. He then reprised the role of Wells on three telefilms.
A familiar face on television, Brooks also appeared on such series as Knots Landing, Hunter, McMillan & Wife and Cagney & Lacey, and he played Edgar Randolph, a suspect in the shooting of Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), at the climax of the 1983-84 season of Dallas.
On Broadway, Brooks had roles starting in the 1950s in John Steinbeck’s Burning Bright, for which he received a Theatre World Award and a Donaldson Award; Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People; Arch Oboler’s Night of the Auk; and John Van Druten’s I Am a Camera.
Brooks also worked alongside such great actresses as Katharine Cornell, Helen Hayes, Julie Harris, Ruth Gordon, Geraldine Page, Marian Seldes and Uta Hagen on the Great White Way and co-starred with Brian Donlevy in a national tour of Saul Levitt’s hit play The Andersonville Trial.
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Martin Baum was born in the Bronx, and when he was 10, his family moved to Wilkes-Barre, where his father opened and operated the Blue Bell Dress Factory. After high school, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army, became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries received in battle.
After the war, Baum attended Penn State University and enrolled at Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York City. While there, he won the off-Broadway best actor award for his performance in Wolfgang Borchert’s Outside the Door and changed his name to Martin Brooks after a suggestion from one of his producers, Richard Rodgers.
At the same time, Brooks also was invited by Lee Strasberg to join The Actors Studio.
Brooks also played Dr. Arthur Bradshaw on ABC soap General Hospital and appeared in such films as Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and The Man (1972).
He taught at the Tracy Roberts Acting School, which he co-owned with his late friend Tracy Roberts, and became an active member of Theatre West. In 2014, Brooks released his first CD, A Life Filled With Love, featuring songs he wrote and recorded in the 1960s and ’70s.
Brooks also wrote two novels, and his play Flo and Joe was optioned for a Broadway production.
In addition to Edie Landau, survivors include his nephews Charles and Danny and his grandnephews Ted, Mike, Mark, Jay and Aaron.
There will be no memorial service.
Updated 4:55 p.m. on Dec. 7: Brooks' character on Dallas was suspected of shooting Bobby, not J.R.