Ross Martin
Ross Martin, shown here in an episode of CBS-TV's "Wild, Wild West" series, appeared as Arab oil baron Aram in the Sanford and Son episode titled "California Crude" (#5.23).
Vital Information
Birthname: Martin Rosenblatt
Born: (1920-03-22)March 22, 1920
Birthplace: Grodek, Poland
Died July 3, 1981(1981-07-03) (aged 61)
Deathplace: Ramona, California, U.S.
Family/Personal information
Spouse(s): Olavee Grindrod (10 September 1967 - 3 July 1981) (his death)
Muriel Weiss (1941 - 15 March 1965) (her death)
Related to: Phyllis Rosenblatt (daughter) with Muriel Weiss
adopted children Rebecca (Martin) Schacht and George Martin with Olavee Grindod
Character/series involvement
Appeared on/
Involved with:
Sanford and Son
Episodes appeared in: California Crude in Season 6
Character(s) played: Sheik Aram
Sanford and Son retro Wiki Script

Ross Martin (March 22, 1920 – July 3, 1981) appeared on Sanford and Son as wealthy Arab oil shiek Aram in the episode titled California Crude (Season 6, Episode #3). [1]Ross was a Polish-born, theatre seasoned, Emmy-nominated actor who was best known for playing Artemus Gordon in the Western television series The Wild Wild West, co-starring with Robert Conrad, and Andamo on Mr. Lucky, starring John Vivyan.

Life and careerEdit

Martin was born into a Jewish family as Martin Rosenblatt on March 22, 1920, in Grodek, Poland, but grew up on New York City's Lower East Side. He spoke Yiddish, Polish and Russian before learning English and later added French, Spanish and Italian to his repertoire.

Despite academic training (and honors) in business, instruction, and law, Martin chose a career in acting. He was partners in a comedy team with Bernie West for several years, then appeared on many radio and live TV broadcasts before making his Broadway theatre debut in Hazel Flagg in 1953. He appeared three times on the NBC public affairs television series The Big Story in 1954 and 1956. Martin's first film was the George Pal production Conquest of Space, followed by a brief, but memorable appearance in The Colossus of New York (1958), as the scientist father of Charles Herbert. In 1959 Martin appeared in Alcoa Presents - One Step Beyond in the episode Echo and as a drug dealer in an untitled episode of M Squad starring Lee Marvin. Soon after, he caught the eye of Blake Edwards who cast him in a number of widely varied roles, as Sal in the 1959 Peter Gunn episode "The Fuse", Mr. Lucky and Experiment in Terror, culminating with a role in [[The Great Race, as the smoothly villainous Baron Rolfe Von Stuppe.

After his performance in The Great Race, CBS cast him in what was to become his most famous part, U.S. Secret Service agent Artemus Gordon in The Wild Wild West, opposite Robert Conrad, formerly the principal star of the ABC-TV detective series, Hawaiian Eye. Martin's character, a master gadgeteer and disguise artist, fitted Martin perfectly. Unknown to most, Martin created most of his disguises for the show and most of the cast had no idea what he'd look like until seeing him during the shooting of the episode.

Conrad-Martin Wild Wild West

Ross Martin and ''Wild, Wild, West'' co-star Robert Conrad in CBS publicity photo, 1966

The recent DVD release of the first season of the series includes a recently-discovered pre-production sketch Martin had made of his very first make-up design for the pilot episode. Another episode revealed another of Martin's talents, that he was a concert-trained violinist. Martin was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series for the fourth and final season of Wild Wild West (1968–69).

In 1967, he married Olavee Grindrod and adopted her two children. Martin had a daughter with his first wife. Martin suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 1968, forcing The Wild Wild West to temporarily replace him with other actors, including Charles Aidman, William SchallerT and Alan Hale, Jr. (the series was cancelled the following year).

He appeared as a guest star in several programs from the 1950s to the 1970s, including 87th Precinct, McCloud, Bonanza, Marshall Dillon in the episode "Bottleman", Honestly, Celeste!, Sheriff of Cochise, Wonder Woman, Sanford and Son, Columbo, The Twilight Zone, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, The Law and Mr. Jones, Night Gallery, Mork & Mindy, Hawaii Five-O, and Charlie's Angels. He also appeared on the game shows Your First Impression and Password Plus, and voiced Agent 000 in The Robonic Stooges.

Martin starred in a 1973 made-for-TV movie, The Return of Charlie Chan, portraying famed Asian detective Charlie Chan as a retiree forced to return to detective work. Although the movie received ratings more than sufficient enough for a regular series to be ordered, intense pressure from Asian actors' groups who protested an Occidental playing an Oriental character caused plans for such a series to be discarded.

In 1976 Martin starred as John Adams in a touring production of the musical 1776.[2]


He reprised the role of Artemus Gordon in a pair of Wild, Wild Westtelevision movies in 1979 and 1980, reuniting with his co-star Conrad. Martin collapsed while playing tennis on July 3, 1981, and died from a myocardial infarction, in Ramona, California, at age 61.[3]

Martin is interred in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


  1. Sanford and Son episode California Crude at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  2. See e.g. "Ross Martin Booked For Melody Top 1776," Milwaukee Sentinel, March 19, 1976.
  3. Heart attack kills actor Martin

External linksEdit