Martin E. Brooks, an actor, singer, director and writer perhaps most widely known for playing the bionic scientist Dr. Rudy Wells in the television series “The Six Million Dollar Man” and its spinoff “The Bionic Woman,” died Dec. 7 in Los Angeles. He was 90.
Brooks’ Broadway career included roles in Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People”; John Steinbeck’s “Burning Bright,” for which he received both the Theatre World Award and the Donaldson Award; Arch Oboler’s “Night of the Auk”; and John Van Druten’s “I Am a Camera,” for which he received a Tony nomination.
The actor also co-starred with Brian Donlevy in the national tour of Saul Levitt’s hit play “The Andersonville Trial.” Charles Durning had a featured role in that production, and as they worked together, he and Brooks forged a friendship that lasted until Durning’s death in 2012.
During his Broadway career, Brooks considered himself fortunate to work with some of the great actresses of the theater world including Katherine Cornell, Helen Hayes, Julie Harris, Ruth Gordon, Geraldine Page, Marian Seldes and Uta Hagen.
Brooks’ acting career included numerous TV roles such as Ted Burton on “Knots Landing,” Mike Snow on “Hunter,” Dr. Arthur Bradshaw on “General Hospital,” Deputy D.A. Chapman on “McMillan & Wife,” Dr. Larwin on “Cagney & Lacey” and Edgar Randolph, the main suspect in the “Dallas” story arc that asked the question “Who Killed J.R.?”
Brooks reprised the Dr. Wells role in three television movies: “The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman” (1987), “Bionic Showdown” (1989) and “Bionic Ever After” (1994). He also appeared in several movies, including “Colossus — The Forbin Project,” “The Man” and “MacArthur.” At the same time, he produced and directed local live theater and taught acting at the Tracy Roberts Acting School, which he co-owned with Tracy Roberts. He also became an active member of Theatre West.
Born Martin Baum in the Bronx, he moved with his family when he was 10 to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He served as an Army paratrooper during WWII with the 11th Airborne Division, assigned to the South Pacific. After the war ended, Brooks attended Penn State University.
While appearing on Broadway after college, he changed his name to Martin Brooks at the suggestion of Richard Rodgers to avoid confusion with another actor.
He also starred in an L.A. production of Eric Bentley’s play “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been,” which opened at the Back Alley Theatre and continued at the Odyssey Theatre. In 2014 Brooks released his first CD: “A Life Filled With Love,” featuring songs he wrote and recorded in the ’60s and ’70s but never released.
Brooks wrote two novels, “Danny Brown” and “Roman Candle.” His play “Flo and Joe” was optioned for a Broadway production and received several workshop productions at the Actors’ Studio and at Theatre West.
He is survived by his longtime partner, Edie Landau, and several nephews and grand-nephews.