McMillan & Wife

Stewart McMillan was a smooth, mild-mannered police commissioner married to a lady with a knack for falling into seedy situations. Sally kept her husband busy, both on and off duty, solving crimes she witnessed. Beautiful Sally was significantly younger than her fortysomething hubby, although McMillan disguised his true age by dressing young.

His cool fashion duds included wide collars, jean jackets and bell-bottoms. Rounding out the cast were Mildred, the McMillan's busybody maid, and Sgt. Charles Enright, McMillan's right-hand man.

     


Based on the Thin Man movies, major changes were made to the cast in 1976. Mildred departed, leaving the McMillan family in the care of her equally "mouthy" sister, Agatha.

The commish became a widow when his trouble-prone wife died in a plane crash (hence the renaming of the show to McMillan in 1976). Without his wife, who would find McMillan cases to solve? The series was cancelled a year later.

McMillan and Wife was one of three original rotating elements in the NBC Mystery Movie -- the other two were McCloud and Columbo.

At the time the series ran, Rock Hudson was the highest paid actor on television.

     

Rock Hudson

Real Name: Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.
Date of Birth: November 17, 1925
Place of Birth: Winnetka, Illinois, USA
Date of Death: October 2, 1985
Place of Death: Beverly Hills, , California
Cause of Death: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome [AIDS]
Spouse: Phyllis Gates [1955-1958, divorced]
Nickname: Roy or Leroy
Height: 6'6"

Rock Hudson, born Roy Scherer on November 17, 1925, was supposedly a truck driver who got discovered while making a delivery to a movie studio. Whether this is true or not, Hudson and Hollywood was a marriage made in heaven.

A former mail carrier, Navy airplane mechanic, and truck driver, his name was changed to Rock Hudson. His teeth were capped and he was given lessons in acting, elocution, riding, fencing and singing. He posed for several hundred publicity photos which were distributed to all the fan magazines.

As one of the most dashing silver screen stars of the 1950s and 1960s, Hudson was the epitome of Hollywood's leading man. His film career began in 1948 in the film Fighter Squadron. It took him only a few years to become the leading star at Universal and in 1958 he was voted Look Magazine Star of the Year.

Although Hudson made MANY films in the 50s, many of them Westerns, Rock came to greatest popularity in the 60s with his comedies opposite Doris Day. Their hits included "Lover Come Back," and "Send Me No Flowers." The Hudson and Day team was the top box office draw in the 1960s for several years running. His defining role was in "Pillow Talk," as a handsome ad man on the make, opposite "professional virgin" Doris Day.

His other notable films included: "Giant" (he was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as Texas oilman Bick Benedict), "Ice Station Zebra", "The Mirror Crack'd" and "Magnificent Obsession". It was during the filming of "Giant" that he formed a lifelong friendship with his co-star, Elizabeth Taylor.

Rock's popular TV series included: "McMillan & Wife", "McMillan" and "The Devlin Connection". Production on the series was suspended for a year while Rock recovered from a quintuple heart bypass, brought on by years of cigarette smoking. In 1984 and 1985 he played a recurring role on "Dynasty".

Rock Hudson died peacefully in his sleep on October 2, 1985 at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 59 years old. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea. As Morgan Fairchild said, "Rock Hudson's death gave AIDS a face."

The actor once talked about his greatest thrill in stardom ...

''Well, once I parked my car across the street from a movie showing my first successful comedy film, and sat there alone in the dark and watched the audience come out laughing, arm in arm, and I knew that I'd helped them have a pleasant evening. I felt good about it.''

Susan St. James

Real Name - Susan Jane Miller
Birthdate - Aug. 14th 1946

This lovable brunette was a sure-fire audience pleaser playing somewhat kooky, mildly klutzy and generally free-spirited types on TV, and in the occasional film, since the mid-1960s. The typical Saint James character was a beautiful innocent who would boldly stumble in where more sober types feared to tread.

Saint James landed her first TV job in the well-received telepic "Fame Is the Name of the Game" (NBC, 1966). This remake of the 1949 Alan Ladd vehicle "Chicago Deadline" cast her as the bright, ambitious and intermittently kooky "girl Friday" to several dynamic magazine editors. Saint James won the 1968/69 Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series for reprising the role in the subsequent series "The Name of the Game" (1968-71). She also played a recurring role as a kooky thief who complicates the assignments of the protagonist (Robert Wagner) of "It Takes a Thief" (ABC, 1968-70).

She remains best known for two long stints as a series co-star on the mystery-cum-romantic comedy "McMillan and Wife" (NBC, 1971-76) and the quietly feminist sitcom "Kate & Allie" (CBS, 1984-89). "McMillan & Wife" cast her as the adventurous wife of the slightly stuffy but decidedly studly San Francisco Police Commissioner. Sally McMillan had a penchant for trouble which required the heroic intervention of her atypical bureaucrat hubby Stewart, aka "Mac" (Rock Hudson).

Subsequently paired with Jane Curtain's uptight and traditional Allie Lowell, Saint James was the relatively glamorous, modern and somewhat frivolous Kate McArdle. They meshed well as two divorced high school chums who share a Greenwich Village apartment while raising their respective kids as single moms.

Saint James has kept a low profile since the end of "Kate & Allie", devoting her time to child-rearing and the Special Olympics. She has made a few appearances in specials and guest shots in the 90s. Saint James has also done some work as a reporter on her own radio station in Litchfield County, Connecticut. She is married to NBC executive Dick Ebersol, and is the mother of five children.

Nancy Walker

Real Name: Anna Myrtle Swoyer
Born: May 10, 1922
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Died: March 25, 1992, in Studio City, Calif.

This pint-sized comedienne was known for her red hair and her wisecracks.

A child of vaudevillians, Walker turned her wickedly sarcastic deadpan delivery and unconventional looks into a unique comic persona and established herself as a Broadway favorite. On TV, Walker parlayed a high-profile role as Rosie the waitress on the Bounty paper towel commercial into a role as the McMillan's housekeeper, Mildred (1971-76). She later delighted viewers as Valerie Harper's overbearing Jewish mother, Ida Morgenstern, first on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and then on the spin-off series "Rhoda" (1974-78).

Walker died of lung cancer on March 25, 1992, in Studio City, Calif.

John Schuck

John Schuck spent six seasons as Sgt. Charles Enright, Rock Hudson's plodding but enthusiastic sidekick (1971-77). He made a name for himself.

"Until McMillan came along, I played mostly what I call big-mouth baddies." After McMillan, he seemed to specialize in characters that were good-natured but dim from a robot detective in Holmes and Yoyo (1976) to Herman Munster in The Munsters Today (1988-91). But the actor, now 60, has regained enough anonymity to again play all types from a Klingon ambassador in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to Daddy Warbucks on stage in Annie.

Schuck lives in Venice, California with Harrison, his artist wife of 10 years. He does a lot of commercial voice-over work and is directing for the theater.

Occasionally, a fan naively suggests doing a McMillan & Wife reunion, but that obviously can't happen. Hudson died in 1985 and Susan Saint James' Sally McMillan character was killed off during the show's final season. "And with only me," Schuck says, "it wouldn't be much of a reunion."

John Astin

Birth Name: John Allen Astin
Born: March 30, 1930
Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland

John Astin, a native of Baltimore, Maryland is the humourus actor known for his characterization of Gomez Addams in the original televised Addams Family series.

John Astin resides in Los Angeles with his wife Valerie. He is the father of five sons (including actors Sean and Mackenzie Astin) and is also an intensely proud grandfather.

Martha Raye

Real Name: Margie Yvonne Reed
Birthplace: Butte, Montana
Born: 1916
Died: 1994

Martha Raye was born Margaret Teresa Yvonne O'Reed in Butte, Montana. She was influenced by her vaudeville parents and at the age of three became part of their act. At the age of 13, she was a singer with a band. Her boisterous and comedic attitude led her into an acting career.

Raye began entertaining troops all over the world in 1942. Known as "Colonel Maggie," she would dress in fatigues, including combat boots, tie and Green Beret and raise morale with her singing and comedic talents. She traveled to and from Vietnam for nine years, sometimes performing services as a nurse as well as on stage. In the late '60s, she performed at the McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey for the Anniversary of Women in the Air Force. She received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1969 for her service to the troops in Vietnam. For her service to America, Raye also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.

Married seven times, Raye had only one daughter Melodye.

After a series of strokes (one in 1988 left her in a wheelchair), Martha lost her left leg below the knee because of circulatory problems in October 1993. Around the same time, her liver was so damaged that doctor's gave her only 3 months to live. Eventually she lost the right leg as well. She was also suffering from Alzheimers Disease.

Martha Raye died Oct 19, 1994 at Los Angeles. In recognition of her more than 50 years of service to the military as "Colonel Maggie", she was buried with full military honors at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She remains the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery.

Episode Guide

Aired from September 1971 to April 1977 on NBC (40 Episodes)

Rock Hudson as Police Commissioner Stewart "Mac" McMillan
Susan Saint James as Sally McMillan [Seasons 1-5]
John Schuck as Sgt. Charles Enright
Nancy Walker as Mildred [Seasons 1-5] Martha Raye as Agatha Thornton [Season 6]
Richard Gilliland as Sgt. Steve DiMaggio [Season 6]
Gloria Stroock as Maggie [Season 6]
Bill Quinn as Chief Paulsen [Season 6]
John Astin as Sykes

1. Pilot Movie 1971: 17 Sep 71 - Once Upon a Dead Man (2 hrs)

1st Season 1971 (part of NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie)

2. 29 Sep 71 - Murder by the Barrel (90 min)
3. 20 Oct 71 - The Easy Sunday Murder Case (90 min)
4. 10 Nov 71 - Husbands, Wives, and Killers (90 min)
5. 8 Dec 71 - Death Is a Seven Point Favorite (90 min)
6. 5 Jan 72 - The Face of Murder (90 min)
7. 16 Feb 72 - 'Til Death Do Us Part (90 min)
8. 1 Mar 72 - An Elementary Case of Murder (90 min)

2nd Season 1972 (hereafter part of NBC Sunday Mystery Movie)

9. 24 Sep 72 - The Night of the Wizard (90 min)
10. 22 Oct 72 - Blues for Sally M (90 min)
11. 19 Nov 72 - Cop of the Year (90 min)
12. 13 Dec 72 - Terror Times Two (90 min)
13. 14 Jan 73 - No Hearts, No Flowers (90 min)
14. 11 Mar 73 - The Fine Art of Staying Alive (90 min)
15. 1 Apr 73 - Two Dollars on Trouble to Win (90 min)

3rd Season 1973

16. 30 Sep 73 - Death of a Monster...Birth of a Legend (90 min)
17. 21 Oct 73 - The Devil, You Say (90 min)
18. 11 Nov 73 - Free Fall to Terror (90 min)
19. 6 Jan 74 - Man Without a Face (2 hrs)
20. 27 Jan 74 - Reunion in Terror (90 min)
21. 17 Feb 74 - Cross and Double Cross (2 hrs)

4th Season 1974

22. 29 Sep 74 - Downshift to Danger (2 hrs)
23. 20 Oct 74 - The Game of Survival (2 hrs)
24. 10 Nov 74 - Buried Alive (2 hrs)
25. 8 Dec 74 - Guilt by Association (2 hrs)
26. 19 Jan 75 - Night Train to L.A. (2 hrs)
27. 16 Feb 75 - Love, Honor and Swindle (2 hrs)

5th Season 1975 (hereafter just NBC Mystery Movie)

28. 28 Sep 75 - The Deadly Inheritance (2 hrs)
29. 26 Oct 75 - Requiem for a Bride (2 hrs)
30. 9 Nov 75 - Aftershock (2 hrs)
31. 7 Dec 75 - Secrets for Sale (2 hrs)
32. 18 Jan 76 - The Deadly Cure (2 hrs)
33. 15 Feb 76 - Greed (2 hrs)
34. 7 Mar 76 - Point of Law (2 hrs)

6th Season 1976 (hereafter just McMillan)

35. 5 Dec 76 - All Bets Off (90 min)
36. 2 Jan 77 - Dark Sunrise (90 min)
37. 23 Jan 77 - Phillip's Game (90 min)
38. 30 Jan 77 - Coffee, Tea, or Cyanide? (90 min)
39. 20 Mar 77 - Affair of the Heart (90 min)
40. 24 Apr 77 - Have You Heard About Vanessa? (90 min)