Martin Short is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, singer and producer. He has had a long and storied career, which began with his tenures on the sketch comedy shows SCTV and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. From 2001 to 2003, he starred in the Comedy Central series Primetime Glick. On the big screen, the actor has starred in such films as Three Amigos, Father of the Bride, Mars Attacks! and Jungle 2 Jungle.
Short's father was a Catholic immigrant from Crossmaglen, South Armagh (present-day Northern Ireland). Short's mother was of English and Irish descent.
Martin Short was born on March 26, 1950 in the so-called "lunch bucket" town of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His father was an executive at one of the local steel mills while his mother was a concert violinist. He has three older brothers, David (now deceased), Michael, and Brian, and one older sister, Nora.
Short attended Westdale Secondary School.
Martin Short graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work in 1971.At McMaster University he started as a pre-med student, before switching to social work, but at the same time he was bitten by the acting bug and appeared in many college productions.
Martin made his professional debut in 1972 alongside Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas in a Toronto run of Godspell. It was during that production that he met his future wife, comic actress Nancy Dolman.
Until 1979 Martin worked solely in Canada, mainly in theatre, but after that he headed to New York and was cast in short-lived TV show The Associates, before being hired on sitcom I'm A Big Girl Now.
A few years earlier he had been persuaded by his Godspell co-stars Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas to pursue comedy, joining them at the famous improv troupe The Second City in 1977.
His comedic talent first found a wider audience in the early Eighties when the troupe produced a show for TV called SCTV (Second City Television), which ran for several years. During that time Martin developed many of his now-famous characters, including talk-show host Brock Linehan, based on Canadian interviewer Brian Linehan; albino entertainer Jackie Rogers Jr; current events commentator Troy Soren; shady attorney Nathan Thurm; Wheel of Fortune fan Ed Grimley, perhaps his best known creation; and Jiminy Glick.
These characters would prove even more popular when he introduced them to the 1984-1985 season of Saturday Night Live, his addition to the show's line-up helping revive it after the departure of Eddie Murphy. An incredible mimic, Martin also drew attention for his uncanny impersonations on the programme, notably of Jerry Lewis and Katharine Hepburn.
His SNL stint led to a 1986 film role in Three Amigos!, which he followed with more silver screen work on 1987's Innerspace, 1989's Three Fugitives, 1991's Father Of The Bride and 1996's Mars Attacks!. In 2004 he brought his Hollywood agent and man-about-town character Jiminy Glick to the big screen with Jiminy Glick In Lalawood.
Martin continued to work in theatre during the Nineties, starring in the 1993 musical The Goodbye Girl and in 1999 put in a Tony Award-winning performance as the lead in the musical revival of Little Me. In 2006 he launched his satirical one-man show (with a full cast of six) called Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, which closed in January 2007.
In recent years, Short has shown more of his dramatic side. His guest appearance on the crime drama Law & Order: SVU in 2005 was widely praised. Then in 2010, Short joined the cast of the legal drama Damages, starring Glenn Close.
Martin Short and his siblings were raised as Catholics.
[Asked what role does religion play in his life]
"No role. I'm not a big fan of organized religion. It's caused a lot of despair and prejudice throughout the world. Some people in aspects of organized religion do wonderful work, but overall I'm not a fan. Even at 13 I used to think, "Wait a second, I'm Catholic, so I talk to the priest, the priest talks to God, God tells him to forgive me, then the priest tells me. How do you avoid the middleman in this?"
Appearing as a guest on Monday's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC, Martin Short lambasted several of the GOP presidential candidates, as he called Rick Santorum a "crazy Catholic," compared Michele Bachmann to the Taliban while questioning her intelligence, and suggested that Mitt Romney has sent jobs to other countries.
He also referred back to the 2008 presidential election and labeled Sarah Palin as a running mate "who had never met a black man."
"I mean, 2008 was the most exciting. I mean, the Democrats had a, first time, a black man at the top of the ticket, and the Republicans had a vice presidential choice, a woman who had never met a black man."
"Canadians don't really like him (Romney) so much because he hasn't shipped that many jobs to our country like he has to others."
Martin Short's philosophy of life:
"Have as many laughs as you can. Surround yourself with people who are going to inspire you with their positive outlooks, and try to cut out the deadbeats. Just cut them away."
The actor and comedian talks about his family values.
"I am the youngest of five and it's the greatest position in the world; your feet never touch the ground. You're told by everyone you're the most brilliant, fascinating, adorable person, so even if you wanted to have self-esteem issues it's just not possible.
There was tragedy during my teenage years. When I was 12, my brother David died in a car accident; when I was 17 my mother died from cancer and two years later my father died from a stroke but I think the reason all that didn't throw me sideways was because I had such a solid foundation. Those kinds of situations are horrible but I think that you are either empowered by them or you become a victim of them.
If I'd become a drug addict or alcoholic, people might have said, "Well, look what he went through," but in a strange way it made me more resilient. It made me stronger. It's not like I forgot these people in my life. They're still with me every second, but maybe I was locked into the concept that there's always a yin for a yang. You go through this tragedy but you're also given a little window into what life is ahead and sometimes that's empowering."
"Being the youngest of five, you're adored, you're fueled with confidence."
"Two words, sweetie: balloon mortgage. And the need to be loved." [asked why he remains in show business]
"I'm totally aware of how lucky I am. I have health, family, children. I do work that gives me total joy and allows me to make a living, and maybe, if I'm lucky enough, I'll feel I've fulfilled a little bit of service to society because I brought other people some laughter."
"I truly believe that when you're funny, you're blessed. Your whole life is kind of golden. I was happy, although it was not perfect happiness. There was illness and sadness and death."
"I don't work in anxiety. I don't work in stress. If someone's a prick, I have the person removed or I leave. The end result is a little less important than the joy of doing it. The one thing you can control is the hang - who are you going to work with, and is it going to be fun."
There’s something very strange about him, friends say: he’s a professional funnyman who is actually well adjusted.
Nowadays, however, there’s really no one else out there like Marty. And while his shtick undoubtedly comes with an overlay of winking commentary on the tired conventions of show business—witness his evocation of the old-time vocal group the Mills Brothers in the Short Brothers bit, or his customary shouted greeting to Letterman’s studio audience every time he visits, “Thanks for remembering!”—Short is genuine in his desire to entertain: an authentic trouper beneath the pretend inauthenticity.
Above all, Short is very funny. Short’s funniness has earned him an exalted place in show business.
“Tom Hanks’s first-ever glimpse of the comic in person came “at somebody’s big wingding birthday party more than 20 years ago,” he recalled, discussing the origin of one of his closest friendships, “where I was standing in an anteroom, on the way in, and I caught sight of Marty standing on top of a chair, telling a story, shouting over laughter. I was like, Who’s the loud guy?”
“I’m a Marty addict,” said Hanks. “When I see on my calendar ‘Dinner with Marty Thursday,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, hurry up, Thursday. Please hurry!’ ”
“Hands down the funniest guy I’ve ever met,” said Larry David when I asked him to offer his assessment of Short. David then hedged a little—“Well, I know a lot of funny people, so say ‘one of the funniest people’ ”—before self-correcting: “No! No! I don’t take it back! He is the funniest guy I know.” David added, “And I’ve never heard a bad word said about him. That’s a hard thing for a comedian to pull off.””
Short met Canadian comic actress Nancy Dolman in 1972 during the run of Godspell. The couple married in 1980. Nancy Short died on August 21, 2010, from ovarian cancer. Short and Dolman adopted three children: Katherine Elizabeth (born December 3rd, 1983), Oliver Patrick (born 1986), and Henry Hayter (born 1989).