Strother Martin was an American character actor, most known for his work alongside such actors John Wayne and Paul Newman. Martin was known for playing in westerns, particularly those directed by John Ford and Sam Peckinpah.

Martin passed away at age 61 in 1980, leaving behind a legacy of over 175 on-screen acting credits amassed over a career spanning three decades.

In this article, we look at the life and legacy of Strother Martin and his net worth.

What was Strother Martin Worth at the time of his death?

It is estimated that at the time of his death, Strother Martin was worth somewhere between $1 million and $5 million.

While the exact figures are yet to be determined, Martin’s career speaks for itself and his wealth comes from his three-decade-long career as an actor.

Martin started his career as a swimming extra in movies with water scenes. He was quickly recognized for more than his swimming prowess and soon found work as a character actor in TV shows throughout the early-’50s.

He became known for his roles in television dramas like NBC’s anthology western series, Frontier; and the historical drama, Grey Ghost.

His proclivity towards westerns dictated his career trajectory and he became known for his appearances in TV westerns like Boots and Saddles, Trackdown, Jefferson Drum, The Texan, and The Rebel.

Far from a one-trick pony, Martin appeared in a variety of diverse shows like Pete and Gladys, The Rounders, Lost In Space, and Stoney Burke.

Strother Martin in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Strother Martin in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Source: Pinterest

Known mostly as a character actor, Martin played supporting roles in numerous movies throughout the ’50s and ’60s, flanking such actors as John Wayne (most notably in The Horse Soldiers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) and Paul Newman (in Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).

Near the end of his life and career, Martin was a host at the NBC variety show, Saturday Night Live.


Who was Strother Martin? Early Life and Childhood

Strother Martin was born Strother Douglas Martin Jr., the youngest of three children born to machinist Strother Douglas Martin, Sr., and his wife, Ethel Dunlap.

Born on March 26, 1919, Strother spent most of his childhood in Kokomo, Indiana. Martin was a prodigal swimmer and diver and won the National Junior Springboard Diving Championship at 17.

He also enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II and was their swimming instructor. With the war over, Martin enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was part of the collegiate diving team.

He had aspirations of representing his country at the Olympics but had his hopes dashed when he finished third at the adult National Springboard Diving competition.

Afterward, Martin turned his efforts to acting, but never strayed far from swimming, making ends meet as a swimming instructor and auditioning as a swimming extra in movies with water scenes.

Was Strother Martin Married at the Time of His Death? Did He have Children?

Strother Martin was married to his wife of fourteen years, Helen Beatrice Meisels when he died in 1980; they got married on December 18, 1966.

How Did Strother Martin Die?

Strother Martin died on August 1, 1980, at 61, due to a heart attack.

He was placed under medical supervision during his final year of life and was admitted at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, where he was pronounced dead.

His widow, Helen, who was ten years his senior, followed him into the grave in 1997.

Strother Martin: one of his last appearances as a host on SNL
Strother Martin: one of his last appearances as a host on SNL
Source: MeFeedia 

Both were cremated and laid to rest beside each other at the Court of Remembrance, Columbarium of Radiant Dawn, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California.

Related: Net Worth of Fred MacMurray