William Mahairas was born in Patras, Greece, in January 1892. He arrived in New York with his brother Jerry in 1915 and partnered in opening up a successful restaurant in Long Island City. He and his wife, Demetra, 15 years his junior, married in 1925.
The marriage produced seven children crammed into a house at 19-18 24 Drive in Long Island City. George, born in September 1928, showed interest and promise in a singing career. William opened up his own restaurant in Port Washington, LI, and moved the family in 1939 to a 75-by-101 property at 33-71 155 St. in Flushing.
George joined the Marine Corps after high school and rose to the rank of corporal. Upon discharge he decided to change from singing to an acting career. He joined the Meisner Acting Studio and shorted his last name to Maharis. He became a sensational star as streetwise drifter Buz Murdock, driving across the United States in a Corvette on TV’s “Route 66” from 1960 to 1963. He also crossed over to motion pictures.
After Maharis retired, he became an impressionist painter in his later years.
Longevity is on his side as his dad passed away at age 99 and his mom two months shy of her 97th birthday. He is alive and well in Manhattan and his Flushing home is appraised today at $1,162,000, according to city records.