Ross Martin Who Played Artemus Gordon in 'Wild Wild West' Passed Away at 61 - Here's a Look at His Final Years

Ross Martin, who was best known for portraying Artemus Gordon on the CBS Western series "The Wild Wild West," died in 1981 at 61 years old.

Martin showed up in excess of 200 movies, stage, and TV productions, as reported by The New York Times.

"I learned a lot about people in different walks of life -- a kind of kaleidoscope of humanity, which I couldn't organize and make sense of."

Publicity photo of actor Ross Martin, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Publicity photo of actor Ross Martin, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In July 1981, he suffered a deadly heart attack after a game of tennis at San Vincente Tennis Ranch, San Diego County Club of Ramona, California, according to UPI.

The legendary actor was immediately taken to the Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California. However, he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Ramona firefighter Art Bale, who attempted to spare his life, said that the actor felt sick, so he walked off the court.

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, he collapsed just before he went into the clubhouse. Bale said that a few spectators had just begun CPR on Martin when they arrived. 

Martin's wife, Olavee, was also there. They took over and proceeded with CPR on the way to the hospital, but they couldn't get any vital signs.

Although Martin had a medical history of recent heart trouble, he appeared in superb physical condition.

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon and Robert Conrad as James West from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon and Robert Conrad as James West from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Martin was survived by his wife, daughters Phyllis Rlsenblatt and Rebecca Schacht, and son Dr. George Martin. He is interred in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

According to the Washington Post, the actor was born Martin Rosenblatt in Poland. When he was six months old, he moved with his family to New York's lower East Side and lived in a tenement district.

He graduated cum laude from the City College of New York. For his law degree, he studied at the National University School of Law, now part of George Washington University, in Washington.

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Before entering the show business, Martin worked as a law clerk, a buyer, a teacher, and a testing psychologist.

He once said about his experience, "I learned a lot about people in different walks of life -- a kind of kaleidoscope of humanity, which I couldn't organize and make sense of. And all that time, burning to act professionally, it was just stored away." 

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon from the television program "The Wild, Wild West," circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

He added that his different experiences helped him play the role of Gordon, a government agent, from 1965-69.

Martin's other notable projects were "Stump the Stars," "Mr. Lucky," "Guys and Dolls," "Hazel Flagg," "Experiment in Terror," "The Great Race," "Fantasy Island," "Love Boat," and "Charlie's Angels."

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