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Quinn Martin
Born Irwin Martin Cohn
May 22, 1922 (1922-05-22)
New York City
Died September 5, 1987(1987-09-05) (aged 65)
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Occupation Television producer
Spouse(s) Madelyn Pugh (a.k.a. Madelyn Davis); Marianne Muffet Webb
Children Michael (with Pugh); Jill, Cliff (with Webb)

Quinn Martin (May 22, 1922 – September 5, 1987) was an American television producer. He had at least one television series running in prime time every year for 21 straight years (from 1959 to 1980).[1] Martin is a member of the Television Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1997.[2]

Early life[]

He was born on May 22, 1922[3] in New York City as Irwin Martin Cohn, the second of two children. His father Martin Goodman Cohn was a film editor and producer at MGM; his mother was Anna Messing Cohn. He was of Jewish descent. From age four he was raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Fairfax High School. He served five years in the United States Army during World War II, enlisting in the Signal Corps at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California on September 10, 1940. He achieved the rank of sergeant. He changed his name to Quinn Martin (the Quinn came from the pronunciation his friends gave of Cohn, as "Co-Inn").[citation needed]

While attending the University of California, Berkeley,[1] Martin majored in English, but did not graduate. Martin started his career in television as a film editor at MGM and also worked as manager of post production for various organizations, including Universal Studios (1950–1954), but by the mid-1950s had become an executive producer for Desilu Studios.[1] His first wife, Madelyn Pugh Davis, was one half of the writing team behind Desilu's classic I Love Lucy.[4] In 1959 he produced for Desilu Productions a two part special that appeared in season 1 of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse that became a weekly television show: The Untouchables, which would go on to win Emmy Awards.

In 1960, Martin established his own production company, QM Productions. He sold it in 1978 and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego's Warren College,[1] where he also endowed a chair in drama.[5] He also established a scholarship for theater arts and communications students at Santa Clara University [6]

QM Productions[]

QM Productions produced a string of successful television series during the 1960s and 1970s, including The Fugitive, Twelve O'Clock High, The F.B.I., The Invaders, The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, and Barnaby Jones. Besides producing sixteen one-hour television network series, he also produced twenty TV movies, including Attack on Terror, Brinks: The Great Robbery, Face of Fear, House on Greenapple Road, and Murder or Mercy. His only feature for the big screen was The Mephisto Waltz, released by Twentieth Century-Fox.[7]

In 1979, a group of investors purchased his wholly self-owned QM Productions and subsequently sold it to Taft Broadcasting.[8] Later in that year, the company was reincorporated into Taft Entertainment Television, though the QM name and logo continued to be used on-screen and for copyright purposes until the last official production was broadcast in 1983. After selling QM Productions he moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California where he became president of the La Jolla Playhouse and the Del Mar Fair Board. He was also involved with business activities developing motion pictures for Warner Bros. with a new company, QM Communications.

Typical format of a QM program[]

Shows produced by the company were usually introduced with announcer Dick Wesson or Hank Simms announcing the title of the series and then saying, "A Quinn Martin Production". Images of the stars of the show, followed by the guest stars for that week, were shown and their names announced, followed by the name of the episode, and various to-black effects. In some series such as The Fugitive and The Invaders, its backstory that led to the plot of the series, narrated by the announcer or the star, was told before the show's guest stars are announced. Most episodes are structured into four "acts" and an "epilogue", each labelled at the start of each segment with the show title and the act number (or "epilogue", near the end of the program).


Quinn Martin died of heart failure on September 5, 1987 in his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Quinn Martin at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
  2. "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List". 
  3. Etter, Jonathan (2003). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. Walter Grauman, contributor. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7864-1501-4. 
  4. Madelyn Pugh Davis at Museum of Television & Radio.
  5. UCSD Academic Affairs: Endowed Chairs.
  6. Santa Clara University Archived October 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Jonathan Etter, p. 101-105, Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-3867-9.
  8. "Martin B. Boorstein profile". Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2007.  at Walden Capital Partners.
  9. Saxon, Wolfgang (September 7, 1987). "Quinn Martin Is Dead at 65; Produced Popular TV Series". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-01. "Quinn Martin, one of Hollywood's most successful producers of action-adventure series for television, died of a heart attack Saturday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 65 years old ... Martin is survived by his wife, Muffet; three children, Jill, Cliff and Michael, and his mother." 
  • 1930 Federal Census
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. San Francisco Chronicle. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 8 September 1987.
  • Obituary: Quinn Martin. Washington Post. 8 September 1987.
  • Social Security Death Index
  • U.S. Army Enlistment Records (5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 151 lb (68 kg) at enlistment)

Further reading[]

  • Etter, Jonathan. (2003). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc.

External links[]

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