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Ross Martin (born Martin Rosenblatt, March 22, 1920–July 3, 1981) was a Polish-born American actor, best known as Artemus Gordon on the TV series The Wild, Wild West. For Hanna-Barbera, he was the voice of OOO on The Robonic Stooges and performed supporting voices on Jana of the Jungle.

Biography

Born in Grodek, Poland (now Horodok, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine), Ross Martin grew up on New York City's Lower East Side. He spoke Yiddish, Polish and Russian before even learning English and later added French, Spanish and Italian to his amazing repertoire.

Despite academic training (and receiving honors in) business, instruction and law, Martin chose a career of acting. His first film was the George Pal production Conquest of Space (1955). Soon after, he caught the eye of Blake Edwards, who cast him in a number of widely varied roles, culminating with a fantastic part in The Great Race (1965).

Martin somehow managed a series in between, the short-lived Mr. Lucky (1959). With the release of The Great Race, CBS cast him in what was to become his most famous part, Secret Service agent Artemus Gordon in The Wild Wild West (1965), opposite Robert Conrad. Perhaps the show's cancellation in 1969 was for the best - he suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 1968.

Afraid to take the risk of having a lead actor with a heart condition, the networks snubbed him with regard to a lead role, yet he appeared as a guest star in an amazing number of programs, not all dramatic masterpieces. Yet Martin loved to act, and took every role which came his way. Martin collapsed while playing tennis, the heart condition finally taking its toll on July 3, 1981.

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