Bionic Doc, Martin E. Brooks, Dead at 90

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Martin E. Brooks, best known for playing bionics expert Dr. Rudy Wells on The Six Million Dollar Man, has passed away at age 90.

Brought in to replace Alan Oppenheimer as Dr. Wells, Brooks made forty-five appearances in the role, both on The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman. He and Richard Anderson were the first actors to play the same characters on shows airing on two different networks (Six was on ABC, while Bionic Woman moved from ABC to NBC in its final season).

Brooks died of natural causes in Studio City, CA, according to Jon Landau, producer of Avatar and Titanic. Landau’s mother, Edie, and Brooks had been friends as children in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and were “soul mates” who reconnected in 1993 after Edie’s husband died.

Born Martin Baum in the Bronx, New York, Brooks moved with his family to Wilkes-Barre at age 10. Volunteering for the Army after high school, he was a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division, and he was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries received during his time in the South Pacific during World War II.

Following the war, he attended Penn State and then enrolled in Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York. During this time, he won the “best actor” award for his off-Broadway performance in Wolfgang Borchert’s Outside the Door. It was here that he started going by the name “Martin Brooks” at the suggestion from producer Richard Rodgers.

Brooks appeared in a number of television programs over the years — Knots Landing, McMillan & WifeGeneral Hospital, Cagney & Lacey — and was one of the suspects in the shooting of Bobby Ewing on Dallas, where he played Edgar Randolph.

Besides his work in television, Brooks also taught at the Tracy Roberts Acting School, and performed on Broadway in several productions, including Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, Arch Oboler’s Night of the Auk, and John Steinbeck’s Burning Bright, for which he won a Theatre Award and a Donaldson Award. Brooks’ play, Flo and Joe, was optioned for a Broadway production, as well.

In January, he was reported to be working on his second album, a follow-up to A Life Filled With Love, which collected songs Brooks had written and recorded in the 1960s and 1970s.

Survivors include Edie Landau, nephews Charles and Danny, grandnephews Ted, Mike, Mark, Jay, and Aaron. No memorial service is planned.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella “The Hero At the End Of His Rope”. His short film “Species Felis Dominarus” was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel’s 2007 Exposure competition.

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