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An American character actor, he achieved considerable fame in the last decade of his life. Strother was the youngest of three children of Strother Douglas Martin, a machinist, and Ethel Dunlap Martin. 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 - his clients: 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 and by the 1960s was a familiar face in American movies.
Strother in Hotel de Paree - a TV series from 1959-60 starring Earl Holliman.
With Cool Hand Luke (1967), came new acclaim and a place among the busiest character actors in Hollywood.
Strother was married in 1966 to Helen Meisels, and remained married to her until his death on August 1st, 1980, of a sudden heart attack.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
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, Strother 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.".
Strother 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).
Strother on Lost In Space (1966)
Strother made five memorable appearances on Bonanza:
The Saga of Muley Jones (1964)
The Meredith Smith (1965)
The Silence at Stillwater (1969)
The Impostors (1970)
The Younger Brothers' Younger Brother (1972)
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