Actor Strother Martin

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on March 11, 2007

Q What can you tell me about actor Strother Martin? I found out after he died that we were cousins.
—Eleanor Martin Smith, Great Bend, Kan.

Born in Kokomo, Ind., Martin served in the Navy during World War II. Afterward, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began his acting career with bit parts and worked his way up. He appeared in three classic Westerns all released in 1969—The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and True Grit. He probably is best known, though, for his classic line from Cool Hand Luke: "What we got here is failure to communicate." He appeared on Saturday Night Live in April 1980 and died of a heart attack four months later at the age of 61.