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Strother Martin, Jr
Birth: Mar. 26, 1919
Kokomo
Howard County
Indiana, USA
Death: Aug. 1, 1980
Thousand Oaks
Ventura County
California, USA

Actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as the Prison Warden in the Paul Newman motion picture, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), in which he utters the line "What we got here is a failure to communicate." Born in Kokomo, Indiana, he was the youngest child of Strother Douglas Martin and Ethel Dunlap Martin. While young, his family moved to San Antonio, Texas, but soon returned back to Indiana, where young Strother grew up in Indianapolis and Cloverdale, Indiana. He was an excellent swimmer, and by age 17, he won the National Junior Springboard Diving Championship. During World War II, he served as a swimming instructor in the US Navy, and following the war, was a member of the diving team at the University of Michigan. He entered the National Springboard Diving Competition in hopes of getting a spot on the 1948 US Olympic Team, but finished third in the competition. Afterwards, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he found work as a swimming instructor, and as an extra in water scenes in Hollywood movies, earning bit roles in some of the movies. During the 1950s, he began a career as a background actor of small cameo roles in a number of movies and television shows, including such films as "Attack!!" (1956), "The Shaggy Dog" (1959), "The Horse Soldiers" (1959), and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962). These roles, which often required a villain or thug, got him continuous work against noted A-list actors, but did not get him star billing. In December 1966, he married actress Helen Meisels; they would remain together though his entire life. In 1967, it was his role as the prison warden in the Paul Newman film, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), that got him his most remembered role, speaking the now famous line, "What we got here is a failure to communicate." When the line made instant history, it seemed to help him get more notice and better roles. He continued to work steadily over the next twenty years, including appearing in some of the most noted western movies of the late 1960s: "The Wild Bunch" (1969), "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), and "True Grit" (1969), as well as the sequel, "Rooster Cogburn" (1975). On television, he was often the guest actor in such shows as Glynis, Kentucky Jones, Gilligan's Island, and The Rockford Files. In the last decade of his life, his work as a character actor began to benefit from audience notice, making him more in demand than ever before. He died of a heart attack in 1980, at the age of 61. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Strother Douglas Martin (1889 - 1953)
  Ethel Dunlap Martin (1892 - 1959)
 
 Spouse:
  Helen Martin (1909 - 1997)
 
 Sibling:
  Strother Douglas Martin (1889 - 1953)**
  Strother Martin (1919 - 1980)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling

Cause of death: Heart attack
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Courts of Remembrance, Columbarium of Radiant Dawn, Niche G-62310
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2046
Strother Martin, Jr
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Strother Martin, Jr
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Strother Martin, Jr
Added by: Tom and Carla
 
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Strother, A swimming champion? Who knew. Perhaps if you had continued swimming you may have stretched your years somewhat, since you left the stage much too soon, perhaps at the peak of your popularity. You were one of the most unique, and able charact...(Read more)
- Em
 Added: Oct. 30, 2014

- Tom Carroll
 Added: Oct. 26, 2014
Because We Never Met Each Other Strother, I Came To Visit You On Here Today, May You Rest In Eternal Peace.
- Robert David Miller
 Added: Oct. 21, 2014
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