Thursday, March 26, 2009
Remembering Strother Martin
Strother Martin Jr. was born on March 26, 1919 in Kokomo, Indiana. As a child he was an excellent swimmer and diver. At 17 he won the National Junior Springboard Championship. He served as a swimming instructor during World War II and was a member of the diving team at the University of Michigan. He finished third in the 1948 National Springboard Diving Championships which cost him a spot on the Olympic Team. Moving to Los Angeles after the war he became a swimming instructor and extra in films. He quickly became a fixture in TV and films during the 1950s. His distinctive voice and menacing demeanor made him perfect for villainous roles. By the end of the 60s he was as well known as any leading man in Hollywood. His most famous roles were as the prison warden in “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) and his classic line, “What we have here, is failure to communicate.” and “The Wild Bunch” (1969). Martin appeared in only one Euro-western “Hannie Caulder” (1971). Martin died of a heart attack on August 1, 1980. We will always remember Strother Martin but today especially on what would have been his 90th birthday.