Edit
Martin Balsam Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 4 November 1919The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 13 February 1996Rome, Lazio, Italy  (heart attack)
Birth NameMartin Henry Balsam
Nickname The Bronx Barrymore
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Martin Henry Balsam was born on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, New York City. His father was a manufacturer of women's sportswear and he was his first-born child. Martin caught the acting bug in high school where he participated in the drama club. After high school, he continued his interest in acting by attending Manhattan's progressive New School. When World War II broke out, Martin was called to service in his early twenties. After the war, he was lucky to secure a position as an usher at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. By 1947, he was honing his craft at the Actors Studio, run at that time by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg. His time at the Actors Studio in New York City allowed him training in the famous Stanislavsky method. Despite his excellent training, he had to prove himself, just like any up and coming young actor. He began on Broadway in the late 1940s. But, it was not until 1951 that he experienced real success. That play was Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo". After his Broadway success, he had a few minor television roles before his big break arrived when he joined the cast of On the Waterfront (1954).

In the 1950s, Martin had many television roles. He had recurring roles on some of the most popular television series of that time, including The United States Steel Hour (1953), The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948), Goodyear Playhouse (1951) and Studio One in Hollywood (1948). In 1957, he was able to prove himself on the big-screen once again, with a prominent role in 12 Angry Men (1957), directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda. All of Martin's television work in the 1950s did not go to waste. While starring on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), Hitchcock was so impressed by his work, that he offered him a key supporting role of Detective Milton Arbogast in Psycho (1960). His work with Hitchcock opened him up to a world of other acting opportunities. Many strong movie roles came his way in the 1960s, including parts in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Cape Fear (1962) and The Carpetbaggers (1964). One of the proudest moments in his life was when he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Thousand Clowns (1965).

It was soon after that he began accepting roles in European movies. He soon developed a love for Italy, and lived there most of his remaining years. He acted in over a dozen Italian movies and spent his later life traveling between Hollywood and Europe for his many roles. After a career that spanned more than fifty years, Martin Balsam died of natural causes in his beloved Italy at age 76. He passed away of a heart attack at a hotel in Rome called Residenza di Repetta. He was survived by his third wife Irene Miller and three children, Adam, Zoe and Talia.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Irishlass240 (smmorr240@aol.com)

Spouse (3)

Irene Miller (1963 - 13 February 1996) (his death) (2 children)
Joyce Van Patten (18 August 1957 - 14 August 1962) (divorced) (1 child)
Pearl Somner (1952 - 1954) (divorced)

Trivia (21)

Father of actress Talia Balsam, from his marriage to Joyce Van Patten.
Graduated DeWitt Clinton High School in New York.
He was the first to record the voice of HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but was passed over in favor of Douglas Rain.
Studied Monkey Kung Fu as a hobby.
Won Broadway's 1968 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running."
A veteran of the famous Actors Studio in New York.
He would express frustration when fans asking for autographs would only seem to remember him falling backwards down the stairway in Psycho (1960). He felt there were so many other challenging roles he would rather be remembered for. Always charming, he simply smiled and provided the signature, just the same.
Former father-in-law of George Clooney.
Played Carroll O'Connor's Jewish business partner for a couple of seasons on Archie Bunker's Place (1979). Previously they had performed together in the The Sacco-Vanzetti Story on Sunday Showcase (1959).
Continued to return to the Actors Studio periodically in later years.
Appears to have died of natural causes. A maid found him lying on the floor near his bed in the upscale Residenza Di Ripetta while he was vacationing in Italy.
Broadway columnist Earl Wilson dubbed him "The Bronx Barrymore".
Made his film debut in the Actors Studio-dominated film On the Waterfront (1954).
Worked as a waiter and as an usher at Radio City Music Hall in New York during his early years of struggle.
Part of the drama club at DeWitt Clinton High School, he studied dramatics at The New School in New York City and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Born in The Bronx in New York City to Jewish parents Albert Balsam, a manufacturer of ladies sportswear, and Lillian (née Weinstein). He was the eldest of three children.
Played a psychiatrist in Rod Sterling's Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: The Time Element (1958), which dealt with a patient who kept dreaming that he was back in the time just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), he played Admiral Kimmel the naval commander of Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack.
Father of a son, Adam Balsam and a daughter, Zoe Balsam, from his marriage to Irene Miller.
He made guest appearances on both Twilight Zone (1959) and The Twilight Zone (1985).

Personal Quotes (3)

I'll tell you, I still don't feel whatever change you're supposed to feel when your name goes up above the title. I think that's because this star thing has never been the first consideration with me. Never. The work has always come first.
I think the average guy has always identified with me.
The supporting role is always potentially the most interesting in a film.

Salary (1)

Psycho (1960) $6,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page