Quinn Martin was one of the most successful American television producers. He had at least one series running in prime time for 21 straight years, an industry record.
He was born in New York City as Irwin Martin Cohn, the second of two children. His father Martin G. Cohn was a film editor and producer at MGM; his mother was Anna Cohn. From age four he was raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Fairfax High School. He served five years in the U.S. 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 would change his name to Quinn Martin ? the Quinn came from the pronunciation his friends gave of Cohn ? as Co-Inn.
He majored in English but did not graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, 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, but by the mid-1950s had become an executive producer for Desilu Studios. His first wife, Madelyn Pugh Davis, was one half of the writing team behind Desilu's classic, I Love Lucy. During 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 that 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, where he also endowed a chair in drama. He also established a scholarship for theater arts and communications students at Santa Clara University