Martin Short: Renowned Canadian-American Actor and Comedy Legend
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Martin Short is a celebrated Canadian-American actor, comedian, and writer renowned for his energetic performances and iconic characters across film, television, and theater.

 

Martin Short's Early Life and Background

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Martin Short was born on March 26, 1950, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the youngest of five children. His family faced significant tragedies early on - his eldest brother died in a car accident when Short was 12, his mother passed away from cancer when he was 17, and his father died of a stroke just two years later when Short was 20. Short attended McMaster University in Hamilton, initially pursuing pre-med before switching his course of study to social work, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. Despite these early hardships, Short was drawn to comedy and acting, appearing in many college productions encouraged by his classmates and future comedy stars Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas.
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Short's Early Acting Breakthroughs

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Martin Short's career beginnings were marked by early theatrical work and breakthrough roles in Canadian television that paved the way for his future success. Shortly after graduating from McMaster University in 1971, Short landed his first paid acting job in a Chargex television commercial. His big break came in 1972 when he was cast in the Toronto production of the hit Broadway musical Godspell. This production featured an ensemble of future comedy stars including Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and Dave Thomas. Following the success of Godspell, Short found work on various Canadian television shows in the early 1970s. He made guest appearances on programs like Right On, a CBC youth variety show, and played Smokey the Hare on the children's series Cucumber. In 1973, he joined the cast of the CBC sketch comedy series Peep Show. Short's career took a major turn in 1977 when he became a member of Toronto's renowned Second City improv troupe. His work there led to him joining the cast of the hit sketch comedy show SCTV in 1982 for its fourth season. On SCTV, Short created some of his most iconic and beloved characters like the eccentric man-child Ed Grimley. His scene-stealing performances caught the attention of Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, who brought Short onto SNL as a cast member for the 1984-85 season. It was on SCTV and SNL that Short truly made his mark, showcasing his comedic versatility and giving birth to other unforgettable characters like the obsequious entertainment reporter Jiminy Glick. These early theatrical productions and television roles were the launching pad for Short's meteoric rise as one of the most celebrated comic actors of his generation.
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Comedy Icon Martin Short

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Martin Short's Filmography

Martin Short has an extensive and acclaimed filmography spanning over four decades in comedy films, animated features, and dramatic roles. Some of his most memorable and iconic movie roles include:
MovieYearRole
Three Amigos!1986Neddy Nederlander, one of the three amigos
Innerspace1987Jack Putter, a pilot who is shrunken to microscopic size
Father of the Bride1991Frank Eggelhoffer, an outrageous wedding coordinator
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause2006Jack Frost, a rival to Santa Claus
Frankenweenie2012Ben Frankenstein and others (voice roles)
The Prince of Egypt1998Huy (voice role)
Mars Attacks!1996Press Secretary Jerry Ross
Short has lent his voice to numerous animated films like The Pebble and the Penguin, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and The Addams Family. He has also taken on more dramatic roles, such as in the FX series Damages. His versatility as an actor has allowed him to showcase his talents across genres and mediums throughout his prolific career in film.
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Martin Short: Acclaimed Awards and Accolades

Martin Short has received numerous prestigious awards and honors throughout his illustrious career, cementing his status as one of the most celebrated comedic talents of his generation. Here is a concise overview of his major accolades:
AwardWinsNominations
Primetime Emmy Awards215
Tony Awards12
Golden Globe Awards03
Screen Actors Guild Awards05
Short won his first Primetime Emmy in 2014 for Outstanding Variety Special as a performer on the AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Mel Brooks. He earned his second Emmy in 2023 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Oliver Putnam on the hit Hulu show Only Murders in the Building. On Broadway, Short took home the 1999 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his acclaimed performance in the revival of Little Me, following an earlier nomination in 1993 for The Goodbye Girl. He has also received three Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical for Only Murders in the Building. The Canadian-born actor has been recognized by his home country as well, being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019 and receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. Short's prolific body of work across television, film, and theater has solidified his place among the most honored comedians of his era.
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Legendary Comedian Martin Short

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Martin Short: Broadway Star and Tony Award Winner for 'Little Me'

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Martin Short has had an acclaimed stage career on Broadway, earning a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the 1999 revival of Little Me. He previously received a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his lead role in the 1993 production of The Goodbye Girl. In addition to his Broadway roles, Short has starred in several autobiographical one-man shows that allowed him to showcase his beloved comedic characters. His 2006 Broadway production Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me featured appearances by his iconic creations like Ed Grimley and Jiminy Glick. The show was both a critical and commercial success, with Short earning a Drama Desk Award nomination. Short's ability to deliver show-stopping performances both in musicals and in his own original comedy shows has cemented his status as a true triple threat on the Broadway stage.
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Short's Family Life and Friendships

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Martin Short's personal life has been marked by both profound joy and deep tragedy. In 1980, he married Canadian actress Nancy Dolman, whom he met during the run of Godspell in 1972. The couple adopted three children together - Katherine, Oliver, and Henry. Dolman tragically passed away from ovarian cancer in 2010 after 30 years of marriage, leaving Short a widower. Despite this immense loss, Short has maintained an incredibly close bond with his children and found solace in his enduring friendships, especially his decades-long camaraderie with fellow comic legend Steve Martin. The two have toured together, collaborated on projects like the Netflix special An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, and currently co-star on the hit Hulu series Only Murders in the Building. Their effortless chemistry and deep personal connection have delighted audiences for years.
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Martin Short Named Mayor of Funner, California

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In a lighthearted promotional role, Martin Short was recently inaugurated as the mayor of Funner, California for a two-year term. The small town, home to the Harrah's Resort SoCal, has previously had other celebrities like Rob Riggle and David Hasselhoff serve in this ceremonial position. As mayor, Short has pledged to elevate the fun and positive vibes in the city, working alongside the resort's leadership. Short's co-star on Only Murders in the Building, Jane Lynch, was present at his inauguration ceremony on May 13th, where he took an oath to "protect fun, good times, laughing out loud and positive vibes." The two shared playful banter, giving attendees a taste of what's to come when the hit Hulu series returns for its fourth season in August 2024.
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Closing Thoughts

Martin Short is a true comedy icon whose impact spans decades across film, television, and theater. His boundless energy, fearless commitment to his outrageous characters, and ability to elicit raucous laughter have cemented his status as one of the most revered comedic talents of his generation. From his early days on SCTV creating indelible characters like Ed Grimley, to his scene-stealing performances on the big screen in classics like Three Amigos! and Father of the Bride, to his Tony-winning turn on Broadway in Little Me, Short has displayed an unparalleled versatility and mastery of his craft. His willingness to go to any length for a laugh, coupled with his keen comedic instincts, have made him a beloved figure to audiences worldwide. Even as he enters his 70s, Short shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to take on new challenges like his acclaimed role on Only Murders in the Building while still finding ways to incorporate his iconic characters. His enduring partnership with Steve Martin exemplifies not just his talent but the deep wellspring of joy he derives from making people laugh. Martin Short's status as a comedy legend is cemented by his numerous accolades, including 2 Primetime Emmys, a Tony Award, and being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. But more than the trophies, it is the decades of laughter and smiles he has brought to millions that truly capture his lasting impact as one of the all-time great comedic masters.
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