Mostly Credited As: Marty Feldman
Birth Name: Martin Alan Feldman
Date Of Birth: July 08, 1933 (Age 49)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: London, England
Date Of Death: December 02, 1982
Cause Of Death: Heart attack following food poisoning in Mexico Ci
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Marty Feldman, the son of a Jewish dressmaker, was born in London, England's East End on July 8, 1933. He left school at the age of 15 for a career as a jazz trumpeter but ended up in comedy instead. His first venture into show business was a screwball stage act with two friends called "Morris, Marty and Mitch" that was influenced by the Marx Brothers.
In 1954, he met Barry Took and realized they shared a zany sense of humor. They began writing for several early radio programs. By the end of the 1950s, Marty was part of a writing team for the radio show "Educating Archie." Marty and Barry were again asked to collaborate their efforts on the radio programs "We're in Business" and the top-rated "The Army Game." Two of that show's popular characters starred in a spin-off show, "Bootsie and Snudge," for which Marty became the chief writer. The show became the most watched on British television.
In mid-1961, Marty discovered that he had severe hyperthyroidism. The disease affects the tissue around the eyes and in the orbit, called thyroid related orbitopathy. This led to the appearance that Marty is remembered for today.
During the 1960s, Marty worked on several British Broadcasting Corporation TV projects, but his most successful venture in the mid-60s was "Round the Horne," a program that was an immense hit. In 1966, Marty was promoted to the chief writer for the BBC TV series "The Frost Report." This show influenced the future of British comedy by producing many writers, such as Barry Cryer and "Monty Python" writers Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The show also produced several popular British comedic stars, including John Cleese. "The Frost Report" also spawned "At Last! The 1948 Show," which is one of the more well know television shows that Marty worked on.
He began acting in "At Last!," and his character, "strange little man," was a huge success. This was a big career boost for Marty, and he was offered his own sketch comedy series on the second BBC network the following year.
Marty made his American television debut in the late 1960s when he appeared in sketches on the popular "Dean Martin Show." In 1970 he was signed as a regular to the show's summer replacement, "The Gold Diggers of London." That same year he began a show called "The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine."
Perhaps the most memorable moment in Marty's career came when Mel Brooks cast him to play the hunchback, Igor, to Gene Wilder's Dr. Frankenstein in the classic film "Young Frankenstein." The movie was very successful and cast a lasting comedic impression of Marty. He then starred in "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother," and another Mel Brooks film, "Silent Movie."
These three movies were triumphant for Marty, so he ventured out on his own and began directing. His directorial debut was in the slapstick comedy "The Last Remake of Beau Geste," in which he also starred. He went on to direct "In God We Trust," but eventually turned back to acting.
While filming the pirate movie "Yellowbeard" in Mexico, 49-year-old Marty suffered a massive heart attack. He died on December 2, 1982 in a Mexico City hotel room. He was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California near his idol, Buster Keaton, in the Garden of Heritage, lot 5420.
Marty was a brilliant comedian, actor and writer. His unique comedy style looked back to the wacky era of the Keystone Kops and the beginnings of slapstick comedy. With everything from his appearance to his stellar writing, he put a smile on peoples' faces. He personified a true comedian and will be remembered as such.