Martin Short And The Life Of One Of The Humblest Comedians Ever

Actor and comedian Martin Short was with Toronto’s Second City comedy group before arriving in New York where his career took off. Born on March 26, 1950, the Canadian found himself on Saturday Night Live before movie roles followed suit.

Short opened up about his modest beginnings with his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As Humble Comedy Legend. From his unfortunate tenure on Saturday Night Live to his extended family, and rattling his boyhood idol, Short’s life is as funny, tragic, and tragic as the characters he plays.

Short’s Brother Was Killed In A Car Crash

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Short’s older brother, Michael was killed in a car crash when Short was 12. His mother passed away from cancer was he was 18. Two years later, his father died of a stroke.

Luckily, growing up the youngest of five ensured Short had a support system to get him through. His biggest supporter wasn’t a brother or sister, though, it was his grandmother.

Godspell Started It All For Martin

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This is the moment where the door opened for Short’s career. The Hamilton native auditioned for a role in the Toronto production Godspell. Short was shocked when earned a part in the play.

During the shows run, he met his future wife, Nancy Dolman.

Short Is Good Friends With Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, And Andrea Martin

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Among the people cast in Godspell, Short met his good pals Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and Andrea Martin.

Soon enough, Short and his friends gained experience with small theater roles before joining forces with The Second City improv group in Toronto.

Short’s big break came from the encouragement of both Levy and Thomas.

Short’s Cousin Was A British Politician

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Short’s first cousin, Clare Short, was a former member of the British Parliament. Her career as a politician came to an end when she retired in 2010.

Clare worked in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997-2003. She was also the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood from 1983-2010.

Before Acting Short Got A Bachelor’s Degree In Social Work

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Before he got into acting, Short earned a Bachelor’s degree in social work at McMaster University.

As soon as Short graduated in 1971, he insisted on pursuing a career in social work. Short’s mother, however, was always encouraging of his early creative ambitions. With her support, he auditioned for and was cast in a play that same year, sparking his acting bug.

SCTV Was Short’s Big Break In Acting


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Levy and Thomas encouraged Short to continue acting. That motivation helped him land his first big break on SCTV. The beloved late-night comedy show starred Joe Flaherty, Catherine O’Hara, Rick Moranis, along with Levy, Martin, and Thomas and the late John Candy.

Short delighted fans with his characters like entertainer Jack Rogers Jr, songwriter Irving Cohen, and the bizarre Ed Grimley.

After SCTV, Short had a brief tenure on Saturday Night Live. It wasn’t the best time of his life.

Short And Bob Dolman Were Brother-In-Laws

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Short first met his wife, Nancy Dolman during the Toronto production of Godspell.

Their extended family includes her Emmy award-winning screenwriter/director/brother Bob Dolman, who married their close friend Andrea Martin. Nancy retired from show business in 1985 to be a stay-at-home mom.

Short Once Ordered A Jack Daniels “Relaxed” At A Bar Next To Frank Sinatra.

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One of Short’s most embarrassing moments was when he met one of his idols, Frank Sinatra.

After attending a performance, a friend of Short’s introduced him to Sinatra. At the bar with Sinatra, Short ordered a Jack Daniels relaxed. The incorrect ordered pissed Frank off, and Short thought he was going to shoot him in the leg.

Short’s Tenure On Saturday Night Live Was A Drag

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Coming from SCTV, Short soon realized Saturday Night Live wasn’t the right fit for him. Being “funny on demand” felt like added pressure during that era of the show. It didn’t help to have a not-so-welcoming environment.

Joining Saturday Night Live is supposed a comedian’s dream. Nevertheless, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows at Studio 8H.

The star of Mork & Mindy was almost cast in Three Amigos.

Broadway Earned Short A Tony Award

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In 1993, Short took his talents onto the Broadway stage. The Goodbye Girl was his stage debut and his performance was strong enough to earn him a Tony Award nomination.

Six-years later, Short had the lead role in the musical revival of Little Me and won his first Tony Award.

Al Pacino Mistakenly Thought Short Was A Waiter At The Golden Globes

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Sometimes, not all of Hollywood will recognize you. One year at the Golden Globes, Al Pacino mistook Short as a waiter at the ceremony.

In Short’s memoir, the comedian mentioned that he took a deep breath before introducing himself. Then, Pacino looked at him weird asking where his vodka drink was. Never change, Al.

Three Amigos Would Have Been Much Different With Robin Williams

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Short met with Lorne Michaels to discuss returning to Saturday Night Live. Michaels asked the fellow Canadian if he would be interested in starring in a movie written by Steve Martin and Randy Newman.

Three Amigos was made with Short starring alongside Martin and Chevy Chase.

How exactly did Short get his eccentric voice for his character in Father of The Bride II?

Martin And Nancy Adopted Their Children

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Dolman and Short tied the knot in 1980. The Canadian pair didn’t have kids of their own, so they ended up adopting three children. Their oldest Katherine was born in 1983, their middle son Oliver was born in 1986, and their youngest son, Henry was born in 1989.

Martin Short Betrayed SNL By Appearing on MadTV

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Despite being on Saturday Night Live for one season, Short did something most of his ex-members wouldn’t have done.

Short is one of the few ex-SNL members to make a guest appearance on MadTV. He opened the show for an episode which featured his Jiminy Glick character.

Franck’s Eccentric Voice Came From Short’s Improv Experience

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Short’s slightly eccentric character, Franck Egggelhoffer, of Father of the Bride II, had an accent that was so wide, movie-goers wouldn’t recognize where he’s initially from.

Thanks to his improv experience, Short portrayed the character in a variety of ways with director Charles Shyer going with the one that was seen in the movie.

Martin Scorsese next’s project for Netflix features Short and all of his improv pals from back in the day.

Nancy Passed Away From Cancer


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In 2007, Dolman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The wife of Martin Short lost her battle on August 27, 2010.

With the loss of his mother, brother, and wife, it’s fair to say he’s gone through enough grief to last a few lifetimes.

The Martin Short Show

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Theater, comedy, acting, tying the knot, there’s one more thing Short can add to his impressive resume.

The Martin Short show was based on the Late Night Show model, which aired from 1999-2000. Once again, Short’s celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick was back on the small screen.

An SCTV Documentary Is In The Works

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Martin Scorsese’s next project on Netflix, a documentary, will be filled with Canadians. The project is about the history of SCTV.

Scorsese is interviewing comedic legends from the likes of Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara and the rest of the cast. It will debut on May 13, 2018.

Lake Rosseau Is Short’s Get Away

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To get away from it all, Short owns a cottage up in Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario.

His love for the cottage area is so intriguing that he partnered with the Royal Canadian Mint to create a commemorative coin showcasing Lake Rosseau that only costs $3.

Short Is A Philanthropist


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Ever since his wife’s passing, Short has been an active participant in the Women’s Research Cancer Fund. He accepted a Courage Award in 2011 on behalf of his late wife.

In 2001, Short appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Celebrity Edition and won $32,00. He donated the money to Loyola High School.