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Martin Balsam

Martin Balsam

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Also Known As: Martin Henry Balsam Died: February 13, 1996
Born: November 4, 1919 Cause of Death: stroke
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The heavyset, balding Balsam was a familiar face as a character actor since his career began on Broadway in the early 1940s. After a hiatus to serve in the US Army during WWII, he found work on stage in a number of Broadway productions including "Lamp at Midnight", "Macbeth" and "The Closing Door" and on TV in such varied shows as "Philco Television Playhouse" (NBC), "The Goldbergs" (CBS) and "Captain Video" (ABC). In the 50s and 60s, Balsam continued to appear on stage including appearances on Broadway in two of Tennessee Williams' plays: with Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach in "The Rose Tattoo" (1951) and "Camino Real" (1952) as well as a Tony Award-winning turn as three characters in Robert Anderson's comic one-acts "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running" (1967). Other credits include Bernie Dodd in Clifford Odets' "The Country Girl" (in Easthampton, New York, 1954), Hickey in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" (in Los Angeles, 1961) and Willie Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" (in Philadelphia, 1974).On TV, Balsam was a constant presence, making numerous guest appearances on series from "Father Knows Best" to "The Untouchables" to "The Six Million Dollar Man". His...

The heavyset, balding Balsam was a familiar face as a character actor since his career began on Broadway in the early 1940s. After a hiatus to serve in the US Army during WWII, he found work on stage in a number of Broadway productions including "Lamp at Midnight", "Macbeth" and "The Closing Door" and on TV in such varied shows as "Philco Television Playhouse" (NBC), "The Goldbergs" (CBS) and "Captain Video" (ABC). In the 50s and 60s, Balsam continued to appear on stage including appearances on Broadway in two of Tennessee Williams' plays: with Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach in "The Rose Tattoo" (1951) and "Camino Real" (1952) as well as a Tony Award-winning turn as three characters in Robert Anderson's comic one-acts "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running" (1967). Other credits include Bernie Dodd in Clifford Odets' "The Country Girl" (in Easthampton, New York, 1954), Hickey in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" (in Los Angeles, 1961) and Willie Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" (in Philadelphia, 1974).

On TV, Balsam was a constant presence, making numerous guest appearances on series from "Father Knows Best" to "The Untouchables" to "The Six Million Dollar Man". His TV-movies include supporting Frank Sinatra in "Contract on Cherry Street" (NBC, 1977), appearing opposite powerhouse actresses ranging from Jean Stapleton ("Aunt Mary" CBS, 1979) to Ellen Burstyn ("The People vs. Jean Harris" NBC, 1981) to Vanessa Redgrave ("Second Serve" CBS, 1986). On "Archie Bunker's Place" (CBS, 1979-81), he portrayed Bunker's liberal Jewish business partner Murray Klein.

Balsam entered films with Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" (1954) and was particularly memorable as the jury foreman in Sidney Lumet's "Twelve Angry Men" (1957), as the doomed private dick Arbogast in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960), as the police chief in "Cape Fear" (1962) and as the studio chief in Edward Dmytryk's "The Carpetbaggers" (1964). He received the 1965 Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Jason Robards Jr.'s agent brother in "A Thousand Clowns". Additional credits include Mike Nichols' "Catch 22" (1970), Lumet's "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) and Alan J Pakula's "All the President's Men" (1976). Balsam appeared as a judge in Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear" (1991) and made his final screen appearance as a detective in "The Silence of the Hams" (1994). Balsam died from a stroke in Rome, Italy in February 1996.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Legend of the Spirit Dog (1997) Gramps
2.
 Silence Of The Hams, The (1994) Inspector Balsam
3.
 Two For the Job (1992)
4.
 Two Evil Eyes (1991) Mr Pym ("The Black Cat")
5.
 Cape Fear (1991) Judge
6.
 Child Saver, The (1988) Sidney Rosenberg
7.
 Private Investigations (1987) Cliff Dowling
8.
 Kids Like These (1987) Grandpa
9.
 Whatever It Takes (1986) Hap Perchicksky
10.
 Second Serve (1986) Dr Stone
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Played piano with Murray Levine and His Syncopated Five while in high school
1935:
Stage debut, "Pot Boiler"
1941:
Broadway debut in "Ghost for Sale"
1941:
Served in US Army
:
After WWII, made numerous stage and TV appearances
1954:
First regular role on TV series, "The Greatest Gift"
:
Co-starred with Carroll O'Connor on "Archie Bunker's Place"
:
Co-starred with Carroll O'Connor on "Archie Bunker's Place" (CBS)
1994:
Final film performance, "The Silence of the Hams"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

DeWitt Clinton High School: New York , New York -
Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research: New York , New York -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -

Notes

Charter member of the Actors Studio.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Pearl L Somner. Actor. Married in 1952; divorced in 1954.
wife:
Joyce Van Patten. Actor. Married in 1959; divorced in 1962; mother of actor Talia Balsam.
wife:
Irene Miller. Production assistant. Married 1963; divorced; mother of Balsam's two younger children.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Albert Balsam. Sportswear manufacturer.
mother:
Lillian Balsam.
brother:
Warren Balsam. Survived him.
daughter:
Talia Balsam. Actor. Appeared opposite father in "Private Investigations" (1987); born c. 1960; mother, Joyce Van Patten; survived him.
son:
Adam Balsam. Survived him.
daughter:
Zoe Balsam. Survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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