Martin Short

Active - 1979 - 2020  |   Born - Mar 26, 1950 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada  |   Genres - Comedy, Children's/Family

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of a steel-executive father and concert violinist mother, Ontario native Martin Short attended McMasters University, where he graduated in 1972 with a degree in social work. If you haven't spotted Short at your local youth center or settlement house, it's because he decided to pursue a performing career, encouraged by his fellow McMasters classmates Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas. Making his professional debut in a 1973 Toronto production of Godspell, Short joined Levy and Thomas at the Second City improv troupe in Edmonton, Alberta in 1977. Two years later, Short made his first film, Lost and Found, and also co-starred on the critically lauded but little-seen American sitcom The Associates. It was while appearing on SCTV Network 90 from 1982 through 1983 and Saturday Night Live from 1984 through 1985 that Short attained stardom with such distinctive comic characterizations as supercilious showbiz promoter Jackie Rogers Jr. and pointy-headed nerd Ed Grimley (this last-named character was spun off into an amusing Saturday morning cartoon series in 1989). He also scored big yocks with his devastating, dead-on impressions of such icons as Jerry Lewis and Katharine Hepburn (a lifelong Jerry Lewis fan, Short was invited to join Lewis as co-host of a cable-TV Martin and Lewis retrospective in 1993; he has yet to share the spotlight with the real Ms. Hepburn). Though an extremely likeable screen presence, the puckish Short has, like many of his Second City brethren, frequently been cast in films far beneath his talents, hitting bottom with 1994's Clifford. Happily, he has been extremely well-served in such films as Three Amigos (1986), Innerspace (1989), and the 1992 remake of Father of the Bride, in which he had an unbearably funny cameo as epicene wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer. In 1993, Short made his Broadway debut, assuming the old Richard Dreyfuss role in a musical adaptation of the 1977 film The Goodbye Girl. The following year, Martin Short had another go at television, headlining the weekly (but not for long) Seinfeld rip-off The Martin Short Show.

Subsequently donning a fat suit as Jiminy Glick in the Comedy Central talk-show parody Primetime Glick, Short skewerd Hollywood ni a way that only an insider could and in 2004 the character took the lead in his own feature -- Jiminy Glick in Lalawood. Meanwhile, guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Damages, Weeds, and How I Met Your Mother kept him busy as ever. Beginnig in 2010, Short voiced The Cat in the Hat in the popular PBS Kids series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, and in 2012 he essayed a variety of wacky characters in the musical comedy I, Martin Short, Goes Home, which found him reunited with a number of his former SCTV co-stars including Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy.

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  • Best known for his TV comedy work, which includes SCTV, Saturday Night Live and Primetime Glick.
  • Attended college with fellow SCTV cast members Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas.
  • Performed in a 1972 Toronto production of Godspell with Levy, Gilda Radner, Victor Garber and Andrea Martin.
  • Made his Broadway debut (opposite Bernadette Peters) in 1993 in a musical version of The Goodbye Girl.
  • Was a recipient of the Order of Canada in 1994.
  • Turned down the opportunity to play accountant Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks' 2001 smash Broadway musical The Producers, and the part went to Matthew Broderick instead. Short later played the role in a 2003 Los Angeles production opposite Jason Alexander.
  • Revived his most famous characters, including Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley, in his 2006 Broadway show: Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me.
  • As of 2007, hosts the "O Canada!" educational film at Epcot in Walt Disney World.