Martin Balsam


Actor
Martin Balsam

About

Also Known As
Martin Henry Balsam
Birth Place
Bronx, New York, USA
Born
November 04, 1919
Died
February 13, 1996
Cause of Death
Stroke

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...

Family & Companions

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

Notes

Charter member of the Actors Studio.

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 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.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Legend of the Spirit Dog (1997)
The Silence Of The Hams (1994)
Two For the Job (1992)
Cape Fear (1991)
Two Evil Eyes (1991)
The Child Saver (1988)
Private Investigations (1987)
Kids Like These (1987)
Whatever It Takes (1986)
Hap Perchicksky
Second Serve (1986)
The Delta Force (1986)
Ben Kaplan
Murder in Space (1985)
St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
Death Wish 3 (1985)
The Goodbye People (1984)
I Want to Live (1983)
Jack Brady
The Salamander (1983)
Stefanelli
Innocent Prey (1983)
The Love Tapes (1980)
David Franklin
Cuba (1979)
The Seeding Of Sara Burns (1979)
There Goes the Bride (1979)
Elmer Babcock
House On Garibaldi Street (1979)
Aunt Mary (1979)
Siege (1978)
Henry Fancher
Rainbow (1978)
Louis B Mayer
The Millionaire (1978)
Silver Bears (1978)
Joe Fiore
The Sentinel (1977)
Raid On Entebbe (1977)
Contract on Cherry Street (1977)
The Storyteller (1977)
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976)
All The President's Men (1976)
Two-Minute Warning (1976)
Death Among Friends (1975)
Mitchell (1975)
Miles to Go Before I Sleep (1975)
Ben Montgomery
Corruzione al Palazzo di Giustizia (1974)
Carlo Goja
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Trapped Beneath the Sea (1974)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Il Consigliori (1973)
Don Antonio Magadino
Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)
The Six-Million-Dollar Man (1973)
A Brand New Life (1973)
Jim Douglas
The Man (1972)
Jim Talley
Night of Terror (1972)
The Anderson Tapes (1971)
[Tommy] Haskins
Confessions of a Police Captain (1971)
Confessione di un Commissario di Polizia al Procuratore Della Repubblica (1971)
Commissioner Bonavia
Catch-22 (1970)
Colonel Cathcart
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Adm. Husband E. Kimmel
Little Big Man (1970)
Allardyce T. Merriweather
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)
Mayor Wilker
Trilogy (1969)
Ivor Belli
Me, Natalie (1969)
Uncle Harold
Hombre (1967)
Henry Mendez
After the Fox (1966)
Harry Granoff
Harlow (1965)
Everett Redman
A Thousand Clowns (1965)
Arnold Burns
Conquered City (1965)
Feinberg
The Bedford Incident (1965)
Lieut. Comdr. Chester Potter
The Carpetbaggers (1964)
Bernard B. Norman
Seven Days in May (1964)
Paul Girard
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963)
Sanford Kaufman
Everybody Go Home! (1962)
Corporal Fornaciari
Cape Fear (1962)
Mark Dutton
Ada (1961)
Steve Jackson
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
O. J. Berman
Psycho (1960)
Milton Arbogast
Al Capone (1959)
Mac Keely
Middle of the Night (1959)
Jack
Marjorie Morningstar (1958)
Dr. David Harris
12 Angry Men (1957)
Juror 1, the foreman
Time Limit (1957)
Sgt. Baker
On the Waterfront (1954)
Gillette

Cast (Special)

The National AIDS Awareness Test: What Do You Know About Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome? (1987)
Grown Ups (1985)
Jack
Winterset (1959)
Garth
The Time Element (1958)
Dr Gillespie
The Defender (1957)
Francis Toohey

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Sidney Sheldon's "The Sands of Time" (1992)
Queenie (1987)
James A. Michener's "Space" (1985)
Little Gloria, Happy At Last (1982)
The People vs. Jean Harris (1981)

Life Events

1935

Stage debut, "Pot Boiler"

1941

Broadway debut in "Ghost for Sale"

1941

Served in US Army

1954

First regular role on TV series, "The Greatest Gift"

1994

Final film performance, "The Silence of the Hams"

Photo Collections

12 Angry Men - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from 12 Angry Men (1957), starring Henry Fonda. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

All The President's Men (1976) - Possible Burglary The security guard is Frank Wills, the actual guy, who called in the Watergate burglary, staged by director Alan J. Pakula, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Dustin Hoffman also introduced, in the 1976 version of the Woodward & Bernstein book, All The President's Men.
Anderson Tapes, The (1971) - Did I Scare You? Still unaware of the manifold surveillance operations arrayed against him, Duke (Sean Connery, title character) visits his ex-con pal “The Kid” (Christopher Walken, in his first studio feature film) in a Manhattan electronics shop, enlisting help in a high-end burglary, in director Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes, 1971.
Anderson Tapes, The (1971) - You've Had The Operation? Newly paroled thief "Duke" Anderson (Sean Connery) visits Tommy (Martin Balsam), an antique dealer sporting Nehru jacket and ascot, to discuss business in Sidney Lumet's The Anderson Tapes, 1971, from Lawrence Sanders' novel.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - Running For Governor? Corny ending after the crooks are caught in the train crash staged outside Chama, New Mexico, then-governor David Cargo uses his own name interviewing the fictional mayor (Martin Balsam), then ex-lawman Robert Mitchum, reformed crook George Kennedy, and new marshal Dick Peabody wrap things up, in The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - Opening, Marshal Flagg Opening with the custom-written title song (by William Lava and Ned Washington, sung by Glenn Yarbrough), exploiting the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, which was what drew writer-producers Ronald Cohen and Dennis Shryack to Chama, New Mexico, and introducing Robert Mitchum, in The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Stone Killer, The (1973) - You Couldn't Catch Your Breath Cops Mathews (Ralph Waite) and Hart (John Ritter) arrest a suspect, stirring trouble in an LA neighborhood, and angering semi-rogue detective Torrey (Charles Bronson), who gets held off by their commander (Norman Fell), before going after the guy they should have busted, in The Stone Killer, 1973.
Stone Killer, The (1973) - The Incident Was In Spanish Harlem A pastoral moment from director-producer Michael Winner, in his second of three features with star Charles Bronson, who appears as New York cop Torrey, chasing a holed-up suspect, opening The Stone Killer. 1973, from a John Gardner novel, co-starring Martin Balsam.
12 Angry Men (1957) - Lucky To Get A Murder The end of director Sidney Lumet's opening scene in the jury room, one take running over six minutes, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Robert Webber, Henry Fonda, Jack Warden, E.G. Marshall, George Voscovec among the speakers, from 12 Angry Men, 1957.
12 Angry Men - It's The Same Knife! Juror 4 (E.G. Marshall) is making up a point leading up to the dramatic moment when Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) pulls out his identical switchblade, in a famous scene from Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men, 1957.
12 Angry Men - You Got Any Kids? Juror 3 (Lee J. Cobb) is letting out some of his feelings about kids, in the face of Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) voting not guilty, others (E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, Martin Balsam) contributing, in Sidney Lumet's Angry Men, 1957.
Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) - I Thought It Was Fred Baby Martin Balsam is O.J., stand-in host and, we soon learn, the show-business agent for paid Manhattan party-girl Holly (Audrey Hepburn), who has yet to appear for her own event, as her new neighbor, writer Paul (George Peppard), whom she calls Fred, arrives, in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, 1961.
Cape Fear (1962) - Constant Attention Police chief Dutton (Martin Balsam) informs lawyer Bowden (Gregory Peck) that his stalker Cady (Robert Mitchum) has arrived with an attorney (Jack Kruschen), leading to a tense meeting, in J. Lee Thompson's original Cape Fear, 1962.

Trailer

Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for director Burt Kennedy’s comic-Western The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969, with Robert Mitchum, George Kennedy, David Carradine and Tina Louise.
Seven Days in May - (Original Trailer) The U.S. President is threatened by a military coup in Seven Days in May (1964) written by Rod Serling and starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.
On The Waterfront - (Original Trailer) Eight Academy Awards went to On The Waterfront (1954) about a stevedore (Marlon Brando) thinking of informing on the mob.
Carpetbaggers, The - (Original Trailer) George Peppard stars in the movie version of Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers (1964), loosely based on Howard Hughes' early Hollywood career.
Anderson Tapes, The - (Original Trailer) A thief (Sean Connery) plans a heist in a building full of surveillance cameras in Sidney Lumet's The Anderson Tapes (1971).
12 Angry Men - (Original Trailer) Henry Fonda is the lone holdout against convicting a Puerto Rican youth in the jury duty drama 12 Angry Men (1957).
Ada - (Original Trailer) Call girl Susan Hayward weds easygoing politician Dean Martin and helps him against corrupt state officials in Ada (1961).
Stone Killer, The - (Original Trailer) A top detective (Charles Bronson) is transferred to Los Angeles and uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso in The Stone Killer (1973).
Breakfast at Tiffany's - (Original Trailer) Audrey Hepburn is Truman Capote's Holly Golightly, the New York sophisticate who spends Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
Bedford Incident, The - (Original Trailer) A U.S. destroyer has a nuclear showdown with a Russian submarine in The Bedford Incident (1965) starring Sidney Poitier.
Murder on the Orient Express - (Original Trailer) Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a mysterious businessman on a train ride in Murder on the Orient Express (1974)starring Albert Finney.
Time Limit - (Original Trailer) An officer is court-marshaled under suspicion of collaborating with the North Koreans in Time Limit (1957) directed by Karl Malden.

Family

Albert Balsam
Father
Sportswear manufacturer.
Lillian Balsam
Mother
Warren Balsam
Brother
Survived him.
Talia Balsam
Daughter
Actor. Appeared opposite father in "Private Investigations" (1987); born c. 1960; mother, Joyce Van Patten; survived him.
Adam Balsam
Son
Survived him.
Zoe Balsam
Daughter
Survived him.

Companions

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

Bibliography

Notes

Charter member of the Actors Studio.