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Martin Balsam 1914-1996

Country : Bronx, NY
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1914-11-04
Date of death : 1996-02-13
Cause of Death : Heart Failure

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In 1947, Martin Balsam was selected by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg to be a player in the Actors Studio television program. He went on to appear in a number of television plays in the 1950s and returned frequently to television as a guest star on numerous dramas (e.g., The Twilight Zone, Target: The Corruptors!, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Mr. Broadway). Balsam appeared in such films as On the Waterfront, 12 Angry Men (as Juror #1), Time Limit, Psycho, Cape Fear (1962) as the police chief, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Seven Days in May, Hombre, Catch-22, Tora! Tora! Tora!, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Two-Minute Warning, The Delta Force, Death Wish 3, The Goodbye People, and the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake of Cape Fear. (Balsam, Gregory Peck, and Robert Mitchum all appeared in both the 1962 and 1991 versions of the film.)

Balsam played Washington Post editor Howard Simons in the 1976 blockbuster All the President's Men. He also appeared in a film that eventually became a highly popular Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, the 1975 Joe Don Baker police drama Mitchell. In 1973, he played Dr. Rudy Wells when the Martin Caidin novel, Cyborg was adapted as the TV-movie, The Six Million Dollar Man, though he did not reprise the role for the subsequent weekly series. In 1965, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Arnold Burns in A Thousand Clowns. He appeared as a spokesman/hostage in the 1976 TV movie Raid on Entebbe and as a detective in the 1977 TV movie Contract on Cherry Street.

Balsam starred as Murray Klein on the All in the Family spin-off Archie Bunker's Place for two seasons (1979–1981). In 1967, he won a Tony Award for his appearance in the 1967 Broadway production of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.

Personal life

Balsam was born in The Bronx in New York City to Jewish parents Lillian (née Weinstein) and Albert Balsam, who was a manufacturer of ladies sportswear. He studied dramatics at The New School in New York City and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

During 1952, he married his first wife, actress Pearl Somner. They divorced two years later. His second wife was actress Joyce Van Patten. This marriage lasted for three years, from 1959 until 1962, and their only child is a daughter, Talia Balsam. He married his third wife, Irene Miller, in 1963.

Balsam died in Rome, Italy, of a heart attack at the age of 76. He is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey. He was survived by Irene Miller and their two children.


National Board of Review -

  • (1964) Best Supporting Actor - The Carpetbaggers

Academy Awards -

  • (1966) Best Actor in a Supporting Role - A Thousand Clowns

Golden Globe Awards -

  • (1974) Best Supporting Actor - Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (Nominated)

BAFTA Awards -

  • (1976) Best Supporting Actor - The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Nominated)
  • (1977) Best Supporting Actor - All the President's Men (Nominated)

Primetime Emmy Awards -

  • (1977) Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie - Raid on Entebbe (Nominated)

The Silence of the Hams (13-Jul-1994)
Cape Fear (13-Nov-1991)
Two Evil Eyes (25-Jan-1990)
Queenie (10-May-1987)
The Delta Force (14-Feb-1986)
Death Wish 3 (1-Nov-1985)
St. Elmo's Fire (28-Jun-1985)
Little Gloria: Happy at Last (24-Oct-1982)
Cuba (21-Dec-1979)
The House on Garibaldi Street (28-May-1979)
Silver Bears (21-Apr-1978)
Raid on Entebbe (9-Jan-1977)
The Sentinel (7-Jan-1977)
Two Minute Warning (12-Nov-1976)
All the President's Men (7-Apr-1976)
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (26-Feb-1976)
Mitchell (10-Sep-1975)
Murder on the Orient Express (24-Nov-1974)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (2-Oct-1974)
Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (21-Oct-1973)
The Stone Killer (8-Aug-1973)
The Anderson Tapes (17-Jun-1971)
Little Big Man (14-Dec-1970)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (23-Sep-1970)
Catch 22 (24-Jun-1970)
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (3-Nov-1969)
Me, Natalie (13-Jul-1969)
Hombre (21-Mar-1967)
After the Fox (8-Sep-1966)
A Thousand Clowns (13-Dec-1965)
Harlow (23-Jun-1965)
The Bedford Incident (Jan-1965)
The Carpetbaggers (9-Apr-1964)
Seven Days in May (12-Feb-1964)
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (25-Dec-1963)
Cape Fear (12-Apr-1962)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (5-Oct-1961)
Ada (25-Aug-1961)
Psycho (16-Jun-1960)
Middle of the Night (17-Jun-1959)
Al Capone (25-Mar-1959)
Marjorie Morningstar (24-Apr-1958)
12 Angry Men (13-Apr-1957)
On the Waterfront (28-Jul-1954)

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