Martin Short – Actor

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Martin Short

Martin Hayter Short, CM (born March 26, 1950), is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, singer and producer.

Early Life

Short, youngest of five children, was born into an Irish Canadian family in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the son of Olive (née Hayter), a violinist, and Charles Patrick Short, a corporate executive with Stelco, a Canadian steel company. He had three older brothers, David, Michael, and Brian, and one older sister, Nora.[1][2] Short’s father was a Catholic refugee from Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Northern Ireland, who came to North America as a stowaway during the Irish War of Independence.[3][4] Short’s mother, who was the concertmaster of the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra, encouraged Martin’s early creative endeavours.[5] His eldest brother, David, was killed in a car accident in 1962, when Short was 12. His mother died of cancer when he was 17; and, two years later in 1969, his father died of complications from a stroke.[6]

Short attended Westdale Secondary School and graduated in 1972 from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work.[7]



Early career

When Short graduated from McMaster University, he intended to pursue a career in social work; however, he became interested in acting once he was cast in a Toronto production of Godspell that same year. Among other members of that production’s cast were Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and Andrea Martin; Paul Shaffer was the Musical Director. He was subsequently cast in several television shows and plays, including the intense topical drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes. He worked solely in Canada through 1979.

In 1979, Short starred in the U.S. sitcom The Associates about a group of young novice lawyers working at a Wall Street law firm. In 1980, he joined the cast of I’m a Big Girl Now, a sitcom starring Diana Canova. Canova was offered the sitcom because of her success playing Corinne Tate Flotsky on ABC’s Soap and left Soap shortly before Short’s newlywed wife Nancy Dolman joined it.



Short was encouraged to pursue comedy by McMaster classmates Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas, whom he joined at improv troupe The Second City in 1977. Short came to public notice when the troupe produced a show for television, Second City Television or SCTV, which ran for several years in Canada and the United States. At SCTV, Short developed several characters before moving on to Saturday Night Live for the 1984–1985 season:[8]

  • Talk show host Brock Linehan, based on the Canadian interviewer Brian Linehan.
  • Aged songwriter Irving Cohen, loosely based on American composer Irving Caesar.
  • Spurious albino entertainer Jackie Rogers, Jr.
  • Current-events commentator Troy Soren
  • Industrialist and art patron Bradley P. Allen
  • Defense attorney Nathan Thurm
  • Oddball man-child Ed Grimley, later featured in his own animated television series, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley.


Saturday Night Live

At SNL, Short helped revive the show with his many characters after Eddie Murphy left. Short’s SNL characters included Wheel of Fortune fan Ed Grimley, which he borrowed from his SCTV days. The Grimley character became Short’s best-known original character. He also was recognized for his impersonations of celebrities, notably Jerry Lewis and Katharine Hepburn, and for the character of Nathan Thurm. SNL proved to be the springboard to a long career in film and TV.



In addition to his revered work on SCTV and SNL, Short has starred in several television specials and series of his own. In 1985, Short starred in the one-hour Showtime special, Martin Short: Concert for the North Americas. This is Short’s first live concert, interspersed with studio sketches and a wraparound featuring Jackie Rogers Jr. Co-produced by the CBC, this aired as The Martin Short Comedy Special in Canada in March 1986. In 1989, Short headlined another one-hour comedy special, this time for HBO, I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood, Short’s classic send-up of all things Hollywood. It featured many of his characters including: Lawrence Orbach, Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr, Bradley P Allen, Troy Soren, and Dale O’Day (the dancing fence); released on VHS, it is now out of print. Martin Short has had no less than three shows called The Martin Short Show, including a sitcom (The Martin Short Show, 1994), a sketch comedy show (The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show, 1995), and a syndicated talk show (The Martin Short Show, 1999). Short starred as Jiminy Glick on Comedy Central’s Primetime Glick (2001–03). In addition to his own series, Short has guest starred on several shows including Arrested Development, Muppets Tonight, Law & Order: SVU and most recently in a critically acclaimed turn as Leonard Winstone on FX’s Damages. As of August 2010, Short is the voice of the Cat in the Hat in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on the Public Broadcasting Service. Short recently revealed that he would be shooting a new comedy special for HBO in Toronto in summer 2011. [9] On June 28, 2011 it was reported that Short is going to join the cast of How I Met Your Mother for its upcoming seventh season, playing Marshall Eriksen’s new boss.[10]


After doing sketch comedy for several years, Short focused on film—appearing in ¡Three Amigos!, Innerspace, The Big Picture, Captain Ron, Clifford, and the 1991 remake of Father of the Bride and its sequel. In 1996, he appeared in Tim Burton’s sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks! as image-obsessed, hormonally driven Press Secretary Jerry Ross. In 2004, he wrote and starred in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood with Jan Hooks as his wife, Dixie Glick. Also in 1997, he appeared as Wall Street broker Richard Kempster in Jungle 2 Jungle starring Tim Allen. In 2006, he starred in another movie with Tim Allen, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Short was in Pure Luck, directed by Nadia Tass, with Danny Glover and Sheila Kelley[11] and in Three Fugitives, directed by Francis Veber, with Nick Nolte and James Earl Jones. He has also provided the voices of several animated film characters, such as Huy in The Prince of Egypt (alongside Steve Martin as Hotep), Stubbs in We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, Hubie in The Pebble and the Penguin, B.E.N. in Treasure Planet, Ooblar in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Thimbletack the Brownie in The Spiderwick Chronicles.

On August 31, 2007, he appeared as the new host of O Canada!, a 360° Circlevision film premiering at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park.

He was cast as Jai the messenger bird in the 2008 direct to DVD movie The Blue Elephant, presented by the Jim Henson Company Discoveries. It was an award winner for the Film Advisory Board Inc. award of excellence.




Short also resumed work in the theater, taking a role in the 1993 musical version of the Neil Simon work The Goodbye Girl, receiving a Tony Award nomination and an Outer Critic Circle Award.[12][13]

He had the lead role in the 1999 Broadway revival of the musical Little Me, which earned him a Tony Award and another Outer Celtic Circle Award.[14][15][16]

In 2003, Short took to the stage once again in the critically acclaimed Los Angeles run of The Producers. Short played the role of the accountant, Leo Bloom, opposite Jason Alexander’s Max Bialystock.[17][18] Although the role of Leo Bloom was originated on Broadway by Matthew Broderick, Mel Brooks first approached Short about doing the part opposite Nathan Lane.[19] On the subject, Short has stated in numerous interviews that, while he was thrilled by the opportunity, the idea of having to move his family from their Los Angeles home to New York for a year was less than ideal and ultimately proved a deal-breaker.

Short performed in his satirical one-man show, with a full cast of six, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. The show toured several cities in the spring of 2006: began previews July 29; opened August 17; and closed January 7, 2007. In it, he performed his classic characters Grimley, Cohen, and Glick.[20][21]

As Glick, Short brought a member of the audience (usually a celebrity) on stage and interviews him or her. Jerry Seinfeld was the guest on opening night and the subjects have included Al Roker, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Stiller, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, Bill Maher, Bob Costas, Brian Williams, Chris Matthews, Chris Noth, Conan O’Brien, David Hasselhoff, David Schwimmer, Dennis Miller, Diane Keaton, Doris Roberts, Dylan Baker, Gene Simmons, Goldie Hawn, Isaac Mizrahi, James Belushi, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jerry Springer, Jimmy Fallon, Joe Scarborough, Jon Stewart, Kathleen Turner, Kathryn Erbe, Kevin Nealon, Kevin Pollak, Kristin Chenoweth, Larry King, Mariska Hargitay, Martha Stewart, Michael Kors, Michael Riedel, Molly Shannon, Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris, Neil Simon, Nia Vardalos, Regis Philbin, Richard Kind, Rita Wilson, Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Hayes, Spencer Breslin, Stanley Tucci, Stephen Colbert, Steve Martin, Susan Lucci, Tom Burg, Toni Senecal, Tracey Ullman, Tucker Carlson, Victor Garber and many more.

The show also featured parodies of many celebrities including Celine Dion, Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Tommy Tune, Joan Rivers, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Renée Zellweger, Jodie Foster, Rachel Ray, and Short’s wife, actress Nancy Dolman. The cast album was released on April 10, 2007, and is available from Ghostlight Records, an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records.[22]

Since the closure of Fame Becomes Me, Short has continued to tour in his one-man show, which features many of his best-loved characters and sketches. In addition to Fame Becomes Me, some of the titles Short has used for his one-man show include “Stroke Me Lady Fame”, “If I’d Saved, I Wouldn’t Be Here”, and, in more conservative markets, “Sunday in the Park with George Michael”. Short revealed in March 2011 that he plans to pen a memoir, covering his 40 year career in showbiz. [9]


Productions Date of Productions
It’s Only a Play
[Play, Comedy, Original]

  • Performer: Martin Short 
    James Wicker – Replacement (Jan 07, 2015 – Mar 29, 2015)
Oct 09, 2014 – Jun 07, 2015
Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
[Musical, Comedy, Sketches, Original]

  • Starring: Martin Short
  • Book by Martin Short
  • Conceived by Martin Short
Aug 17, 2006 – Jan 07, 2007
Little Me
[Musical, Comedy, Revival]

  • Starring: Martin Short [Noble Eggleston, Amos Pinchley, Benny Buchsbaum, Val du Val, Fred Poitrine, Otto Schnitzler, Prince Cherney, The Drunk]
Nov 12, 1998 – Feb 07, 1999
The Goodbye Girl
[Musical, Comedy, Original]

  • Starring: Martin Short [Elliot]
Mar 04, 1993 – Aug 15, 1993



Personal Life


Short met Canadian comic actress Nancy Dolman in 1972 during the run of Godspell. The couple married in 1980.

Dolman retired from show business in 1985 to be a homemaker[23] and raise her family. Short and Dolman had three children: Katherine, Oliver, and Henry. Short and his family make their home in Pacific Palisades, California; Short is a naturalized U.S. citizen, as well as a citizen of the United Kingdom. The Shorts also have a home on Lake Rosseau in Ontario, Canada.[24] Nancy Dolman Short died August 21, 2010, reportedly from cancer.[25]

Short has two stars on Canada’s Walk of Fame.[26] He is a Roman Catholic.[5] His brother Michael Short is a comedy writer and twice winner of the Emmy Award for comedy sketch writing.

Extended family

Dolman’s brother, screenwriter/director Bob Dolman (who served as a part of SCTV’s Emmy-winning writing team alongside Short), married their close friend and colleague Andrea Martin, also in 1980. Dolman and Short are aunt and uncle to the couple’s two sons, Jack and Joe. Dolman and Martin have since divorced.[27] Short is the first cousin of Clare Short, a former member of the British Parliament and a former British cabinet minister.[28]


Awards and Honors



  • 1972: Bachelor of Arts in social work: McMaster University
  • 1982: Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, SCTV Comedy Network; award shared
  • 1982: Nelly Award: Outstanding Writing, SCTV Comedy Network
  • 1993: Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Actor in a Musical, The Goodbye Girl
  • 1993: Theater World Award
  • 1994: Member of the Order of Canada
  • 1995: Earl Grey Life Time Achievement Award
  • 1999: Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Little Me
  • 1999: Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, Little Me
  • 2000: Canada Walk of Fame
  • 2001: Doctor of Letters honoris causa: McMaster University
  • 2002: Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2010: Emmy Awards Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Damages (TV Series)
  • 2010: Satellite Awards Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Damages (TV Series)




Year Film Role Other notes
1972 Cucumber Smokey the Hare TV series
Right On Regular TV series
1975 Peep Show ? TV series
1976 The David Steinberg Show Johnny Del Bravo TV series
1978 For The Record Weepy TV series
1979 Lost & Found Engel
The Associates Tucker Kerwin TV series (Unknown episodes)
The Family Man Louie (TV)
1980 The Love Boat Melvin TV series
I’m A Big Girl Now Neal Stryker TV series
1981 Second City TV Pancho TV series
Taxi Mitch Harris TV series
1982 Miss Peach of the Kelly School (Voice) TV series
1982–1983 SCTV Network 90 Various TV series
1983 Sunset Limousine Bradley Z. Coleman (TV)
1983–1984 SCTV Channel Various TV series
1986 Tall Tales and Legends Johnny Appleseed TV series
¡Three Amigos! Ned Nederlander
1987 Really Weird Tales Shucky (TV)
Innerspace Jack Putter
Cross My Heart David Morgan
1988 The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley Ed Grimley / Emil Gustav / Various (voice) TV series
1989 The Making of Me
Dink, the Little Dinosaur Narrator (TV)
Andrea Martin… Together Again Dr. August Allwoman / Kennedy (TV)
I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood Lawrence Orbach / Bradley P. Allen / Ed Grimley / Jackie Rogers, Jr. / Dale O’Day / ‘Baby’ Estelle O’Day / Troy (TV)
Three Fugitives Ned Perry
The Big Picture Neil Sussman, Nick’s Agent (Uncredited)
1989–1990 The Tracey Ullman Show Lou, Football fan / Doc The Elvis Presley Freak TV series
1990 The Dave Thomas Comedy Show TV series
1991 Pure Luck Eugene Proctor
Maniac Mansion Eddie O’Donnell TV series
Father of the Bride Franck Eggelhoffer Film
1992 Captain Ron Martin Harvey
1992 The Real Story of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Mozart (voice)
1993 Money For Nothing Harrison Kilray TV Film (BBC Screen One series)
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story Stubbs the Clown (voice)
1994 Clifford Clifford Daniels Film
The Martin Short Show Marty Short TV series (Unknown episodes)
1995 The Pebble and the Penguin Hubie (voice) Animated Film
Father of the Bride Part II Franck Eggelhoffer Film
1996 Creature Crunch (Voice) (VG)
Mars Attacks! Press Secretary Jerry Ross
Muppets Tonight Himself TV series (guest appearance)
1997 Jungle 2 Jungle Richard Kempster
The Three Stooges Greatest Hits Emcee
A Simple Wish Murray
1998 Akbar’s Adventure Tours Akbar
Merlin Frik (TV)
The Prince of Egypt Huy (voice)
1999 Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter / Chinless Idiot (TV)
Mumford Lionel Dillard
2001 Get Over It Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates
Prince Charming Rodney (TV)
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Ooblar (voice)
2002 CinéMagique George
Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself
Treasure Planet B.E.N. (voice)
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure Lars (voice) (V)
2001–2003 Primetime Glick Jiminy Glick / Miss Gathercole / Various TV series
2004 Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Jiminy Glick / David Lynch
Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper Preminger (voice) (V)
2005 Arrested Development Uncle Jack TV series
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sebastian Ballentine / Henry Palaver TV series
1984–2005 Saturday Night Live Jiminy Glick / Host / Various TV series
2006 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Jack Frost
2007 O Canada! Himself
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Thimbletack (voice)
2010 Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil The Woodsman (voice) Completed
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Cat in the Hat (voice) TV series
Damages Leonard Winstone TV series
Nominated for Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, 2010
Nominated for Satellite Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, 2010
2011 Weeds (TV Series)
2012 Frankenweenie Mr. Walsh Voice Role



Year Film Other notes
1981 Second City TV TV series
1982–1983 SCTV Network 90 TV series
1983–1984 SCTV Channel TV series
1985 Martin Short: Concert for the North Americas (TV)
1984–1985 Saturday Night Live TV-series
1988 The Best of SCTV (TV)
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley TV series
1989 The 1989 Gemini Awards (TV)
I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood (TV)
1994 The Martin Short Show TV series (Unknown episodes)
1995 The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show (TV)
1999 The Martin Short Show TV series (Unknown episodes)
2001 Primetime Glick TV series (Unknown episodes)
2003 Martin Short Shorts (TV)
2004 Jiminy Glick in Lalawood
2011 Catdog Movie Rancid Rabbit


Year Film Other notes
1994 The Martin Short Show TV series (Unknown episodes), (executive producer)
1999 The Martin Short Show TV series (Unknown episodes), (executive producer)
2001 Primetime Glick TV series (Unknown episodes), (executive producer), (producer)
2003 Martin Short Shorts (TV) (producer)
2004 Jimmy Glick in Lalawood (Producer)
Year Film Other notes
1993 Friends of Gilda (TV)



In-Character Quotes


  • As Irving Cohen: “What hell kind of name is Roy!?
  • As Irving Cohen: “Give me a C, a bouncy C.
  • As Irving Cohen (as his standard conclusion to an improvised song, of which he’s sung a few bars, accompanied by replacing his cigar in his mouth): “…a dot dot dot, dee dee dee, and whatever the hell else you want to put in there.
  • As Ed Grimley (indrawn breath): “I must say…“.
  • As Ed Grimley (clutching his burning fingers after removing a batch of cookies from the oven without using an oven mitt): “That’s a pain that will tend to linger.
  • As Bradley Allen: “You can’t tell me that a woman who plays the tuba doesn’t have a boyfriend somewhere… I mean who’s going to carry the damn thing?”
  • As Bradley Allen (drinking Scotch and declining tissues after a productive cough): “No, I got it.
  • As Franc Eggelhoffer…”Every party has a pooper, that’s why we invited you, party pooper, GEORGE BANKS! That’s who!”
  • As Jimminy Glick (talking about his past, moreso his weight problem) : “I was a loner as a child, a loner as a child because people would point, and children can be cruel.
  • As Jack Frost (talking to a little girl who told him to chill) : “I invented chill!
  • As Jack Frost (talking to the other members of the Legendary Council) “Excuse me! Did you accuse me of being skillful and delicious? Guilty as charged!
  • As Huy…. “You’re playing with the big boys now!
  • As Nathan Thurm (after being disproved): “I know that! You don’t think I know that?
  • As Nathan Thurm (talking to the audience about his interviewer): “Is it me, or is it him? It’s him, right?



  1. “Martin Short Biography”. filmreference. 2008.Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  2. Olivia Stren (June 2006). “Laugh Track”. torontolife.. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  3. [1]
  4. [2] thestar
  5. Amy Lennard Goehner (6 August 2006). “10 Questions For Martin Short”. Time. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  6. “Fame Becomes Martin Short”. CBS News The Showbuzz. 17 September 2006. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  7. Carmela Fragomeni (24 February 2006). “Westdale grads found stardom”. The Hamilton Spectator. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  8. Allmovie. “Martin Short Biography”. The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  9. Shields, Mel (March 27, 2011). “Martin Short promises a Reno appearance by Mr. Glick – Sacramento Entertainment – Sacramento Movie Theaters, Music | Sacramento Bee”. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  10. “Martin Short Joins How I Met Your Mother”. June 28, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  12. “Internet Broadway Database listing, ‘The Goodbye Girl'” Internet Broadway Database, retrieved May 21, 2010
  13. Rich, Frank.“Review/Theater; How Far Two Good Sports Will Go”The New York Times, March 5, 1993
  14. Haun, Harry.“Little Me Gives Martin Short His 3rd Neil Simon Role”, September 14, 1998
  15. McGrath, Sean.“1999 Tony Winner: Martin Short (Leading Actor, Musical, Little Me)”, June 6, 1999
  16. “Internet Broadway database listing, ‘Little Me'” Internet Broadway Database, retrieved May 21, 2010
  17. Jones, Kenneth.“Alexander and Short Join Producers Tour in San Fran, April 21–26 Before L.A. Sitdown” March 25, 2003
  18. Perlmutter, Sharon.“Review:’The Producers” in Los Angeles, retrieved May 21, 2010
  19. “Break a Leg: The Producers Opens at Bway’s St. James, April 19”, April 19, 2001
  20. Simonson, Robert.“Ensemble for Martin Short’s New Broadway Show Announced”, March 24, 2006
  21. Brantley, Ben.“Review:’Fame Becomes Me’The New York Times, August 18, 2006
  22. Gans, Andrew.“Fame Undone: Martin Short Show Closes on Broadway Jan. 7”, January 7, 2007
  23. “Martin Short’s wife dies suddenly”. 23 August 2010.
  24. Denny Lee (16 September 2005). “Muskoka: The Malibu of the North”. The New York Times.Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  25. Natalie Finn (23 August 2010). “Martin Short Loses Wife to Cancer”. E! Online. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  26. “Martin Short: 2000 Inductee”. Canada’s Walk of Fame. 2000. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008.Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  27. “Andrea Martin Biography”. The Internet Movie Database. 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  28. Street, Andrew P.. “Martin Short”. Time Out Sydney.Retrieved September 21, 2010.


External Links


Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me