Martin Short

Martin Short Biography

Martin Hayter Short, CM (born March 26, 1950) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, singer and producer. He is known for his work on the television programs SCTV and Saturday Night Live. He has starred in comedy films, such as Three Amigos (1986), Innerspace (1987), Three Fugitives (1989), Father of the Bride (1991), Pure Luck (1991), Father of the Bride Part II (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996) and Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), and created the characters Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley. He has won a Tony Award for Leading Actor in a Musical for the 1999 Broadway revival of Little Me.

Early life

Short was born in Hamilton, Ontario, the youngest of five children of Olive Grace (ne Hayter; 1913-68), a concertmistress of the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra, and Charles Patrick Short (1909-70), a corporate executive with Stelco, a Canadian steel company. He and his siblings were raised as Catholics. He had three older brothers, David (now deceased), Michael, and Brian, and one older sister, Nora. Short's father was a Catholic immigrant from Crossmaglen, South Armagh (present-day Northern Ireland), who came to North America as a stowaway during the Irish War of Independence. Short's mother was of English and Irish descent. She encouraged his early creative endeavours. His eldest brother, David, was killed in a car accident in 1962 when Short was 12. His mother died of cancer in 1968, his father two years later of complications from a stroke.

Short attended Westdale Secondary School and graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work in 1971.


Early career

When Short graduated from McMaster University, he intended to pursue a career in social work; however, he became interested in acting once he was cast in a Toronto production of Godspell that same year. Among other members of that production's cast were Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and Andrea Martin; Paul Shaffer was the musical director. He was subsequently cast in several television shows and plays, including the drama Fortune and Men's Eyes (1972). He worked solely in Canada through 1979. In 1979, Short starred in the U.S. sitcom The Associates about a group of young novice lawyers working at a Wall Street law firm. In 1980, he joined the cast of I'm a Big Girl Now, a sitcom starring Diana Canova and Danny Thomas. Canova was offered the sitcom because of her success playing Corinne Tate Flotsky on ABC's Soap and left Soap shortly before Short's newlywed wife Nancy Dolman joined it.


Short was encouraged to pursue comedy by McMaster classmates Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas, whom he joined in the improvisation group The Second City in Edmonton, Alberta in 1977. He came to public notice when the group produced a show for television, Second City Television or SCTV, which ran for several years in Canada, then the United States. Short appeared on SCTV in 1982-83. At SCTV, Short developed several characters before moving on to Saturday Night Live for the 1984-85 season:

  • Talk show host Brock Linehan, based on the Canadian interviewer Brian Linehan
  • Aged songwriter Irving Cohen, loosely based on American composer Irving Caesar
  • Entertainer Jackie Rogers, Jr.
  • Current-events commentator Troy Soren
  • Industrialist and art patron Bradley P. Allen
  • Defense attorney Nathan Thurm
  • Oddball man-child Ed Grimley, later featured on SNL and in his own television cartoon series in 1989 titled The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, which, despite its short run, is considered the only Saturday morning cartoon adapted from an SCTV character and a Saturday Night Live character.

Saturday Night Live

Short joined Saturday Night Live for the 1984-85 season. He helped revive the show with his many characters for season ten (the last one produced by Dick Ebersol). "Short's appearance on SNL helped to revive the show's fanbase, which had flagged after the departure of Eddie Murphy, and in turn, would launch his successful career in films and television." His SNL characters included manic man-child and Wheel of Fortune fan Ed Grimley, a holdover from his SCTV days. He also did impressions of such celebrities as Jerry Lewis and Katharine Hepburn.


In addition to his work on SCTV and SNL, Short has starred in several television specials and series of his own. In 1985, Short starred in the one-hour Showtime special, Martin Short: Concert for the North Americas. This was Short's first live concert, interspersed with studio sketches and a wraparound featuring Jackie Rogers Jr. Co-produced by the CBC, this aired as The Martin Short Comedy Special in Canada in March 1986. In 1989, Short headlined another one-hour comedy special, this time for HBO, I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood, Short's classic send-up of all things Hollywood. It featured many of his characters including: Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr.

Short has had three television shows called The Martin Short Show, including a sitcom, The Martin Short Show, 1994; a sketch comedy show, The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show, 1995; and a syndicated talk show The Martin Short Show, which ran from 1999 to 2000.

Short starred as Jiminy Glick on Comedy Central's Primetime Glick (2001-03). He interviewed performers and celebrities as the character Jiminy Glick. The New York Times in 2002 referred to the character as "the most unpredictable and hilariously uninhibited comic creation to hit TV since Bart Simpson was in diapers."

In addition to his own series, Short has guest starred on several shows including Arrested Development (episode titled "Ready, Aim, Marry Me", 2005), Muppets Tonight (1996), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Weeds. He joined the FX drama Damages as lawyer Leonard Winstone in 2010.

Short voices the Cat in the Hat in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on the Public Broadcasting Service from 2010 to 2013.

He shot a new comedy special for television in Toronto in September 2011. The special, I, Martin Short, Goes Home follows Martin's return to his native Hamilton, Ontario and has a cast that includes Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty and Fred Willard. The special aired on CBC Television on April 3, 2012, and garnered Short a nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Program or Series at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards. In 2011, Short joined the cast of How I Met Your Mother for its seventh season, playing Marshall Eriksen's manic boss and was a judge on the first and only season of Canada's Got Talent (2012).

He, along with Steve Martin and Chevy Chase appeared on an episode of Saturday Night Live as part of the "Five-Timers Club", on March 9, 2013, which included those actors who had hosted the show five or more times. However, Short appeared as a waiter, as he had only hosted twice.

From 2014 to 2015, he starred in the Fox sitcom, Mulaney, as Lou Cannon, the boss and the game show host of the title character John Mulaney.


After doing sketch comedy for several years, Short focused on film"?appearing in Three Amigos!, Innerspace, The Big Picture, Captain Ron, Clifford, Three Fugitives (1989), directed by Francis Veber, with Nick Nolte and James Earl Jones, the 1991 remake of Father of the Bride, and its sequel, and in Pure Luck (1991), directed by Nadia Tass, with Danny Glover and Sheila Kelley.

In 1996, he appeared in Tim Burton's sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks! as lascivious Press Secretary Jerry Ross. In 1997, he appeared as Wall Street broker Richard Kempster in Jungle 2 Jungle with Tim Allen.

In 2004, he wrote and starred in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood with Jan Hooks as his wife, Dixie Glick. In 2006, he starred in another movie with Tim Allen, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.

Short also provided the voices of several animated film characters, such as Stubbs in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993), Hubie in The Pebble and the Penguin (1995), Huy in The Prince of Egypt (1998) (alongside Steve Martin as Hotep), Ooblar in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001), B.E.N. in Treasure Planet (2002), Thimbletack the Brownie in The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Stefano the sea lion in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) and The Jester in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014).

Short is the host of a Disney World attraction, O Canada!, a Circle-Vision 360 film at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park. He also hosted the now-defunct show "The Making of Me" at Epcot's Wonders of Life pavilion, a 15-minute movie about how pregnancy occurs.


Short resumed work in the theater, playing a lead role in the 1993 musical version of the Neil Simon film The Goodbye Girl, on Broadway, receiving a Tony Award nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award.

He had the lead role in the 1999 Broadway revival of the musical Little Me, for which he received a Tony Award and another Outer Critics Circle Award.

In 2003, Short took to the stage once again in the critically acclaimed Los Angeles run of The Producers. Short played the role of the accountant, Leo Bloom, opposite Jason Alexander's Max Bialystock. Although the role of Leo Bloom was originated on Broadway by Matthew Broderick, Mel Brooks first approached Short about doing the part opposite Nathan Lane. On the subject, Short has stated in numerous interviews that, while he was thrilled by the opportunity, the idea of having to move his family from their Los Angeles home to New York for a year was less than ideal and ultimately proved a deal-breaker.

Short performed in his satirical one-man show, with a cast of six, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. The show toured several cities in the spring of 2006, prior to opening on Broadway in August 2006; the show closed in January 2007. In it, he performed his classic characters Grimley, Cohen, and Glick.

As Glick, Short brought a member of the audience (usually a celebrity) on stage and interviewed him or her. Jerry Seinfeld was the guest on opening night. The show also featured parodies of many celebrities including Celine Dion, Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Tommy Tune, Joan Rivers, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Rene Zellweger, Jodie Foster, Rachael Ray, and Short's wife, actress Nancy Dolman. The cast album was released on April 10, 2007, and is available from Ghostlight Records, an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records.

Short has continued to tour in his one-man show, which features many of his best-loved characters and sketches. In addition to Fame Becomes Me, some titles that Short has used for his one-man show include Stroke Me Lady Fame, If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here, and Sunday in the Park with George Michael.

Short's memoir, covering his forty-year career in show business, "I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend", was released on November 4, 2014.

Personal life

Short dated Gilda Radner in the 1970s.


Short met Canadian comic actress Nancy Dolman in 1972 during the run of Godspell. The couple married in 1980. Dolman retired from show business in 1985 to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her family. Nancy Short died on August 21, 2010, from ovarian cancer. Short and Dolman adopted three children: Katherine (b. 1983), Oliver (b. 1986), and Henry (b. 1989).

Short and his family make their home in Pacific Palisades, California. He also has a home on Lake Rosseau in Ontario. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Short has two stars on Canada's Walk of Fame. His brother, Michael is a comedy writer and twice winner of the Emmy Award for comedy sketch writing.

Extended family

Dolman's brother, screenwriter/director Bob Dolman, (who served as a part of SCTV's Emmy-winning writing team alongside Short), married their close friend and colleague Andrea Martin, also in 1980. Dolman and Short are aunt and uncle to the couple's two sons, Jack and Joe. Bob Dolman and Martin have since divorced. Short is a first cousin of Clare Short, a former member of the British Parliament and former British cabinet minister.


Short appeared in a 2001 episode on the Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hosted by Regis Philbin, winning $US32,000 for his charity, Loyola High School.

Short has actively campaigned for the Women's Research Cancer Fund, and he accepted a "Courage Award" on behalf of his late wife, who died from the disease in 2010, at a 2011 gala by the group.



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Lost and Found Engel
1986 Three Amigos! Ned Nederlander
1987 Innerspace Jack Putter
1987 Cross My Heart David Morgan
1989 Three Fugitives Ned Perry
1989 The Big Picture Neil Sussman - Nick's Agent Uncredited
1991 Pure Luck Eugene Proctor
1991 Father of the Bride Franck Eggelhoffer
1992 Captain Ron Martin Harvey
1993 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Stubbs the Clown Voice role
1994 Clifford Clifford Daniels
1995 The Pebble and the Penguin Hubie Voice role
1995 Father of the Bride Part II Franck Eggelhoffer
1996 Mars Attacks! Press Secretary Jerry Ross
1997 Jungle 2 Jungle Richard Kempster
1997 A Simple Wish Murray
1998 The Prince of Egypt Huy Voice role
1998 Akbar's Adventure Tours Akbar
1999 Mumford Lionel Dillard
2001 Get Over It Dr. Desmond Forrest Oates
2001 Prince Charming Rodney
2001 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Ooblar Voice role
2002 Treasure Planet B.E.N. Voice role
2002 CinMagique George Short
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Lars (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper Preminger (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Jiminy Glick / David Lynch
2006 Khan Kluay Khan Kluay (English) Voice role
2006 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Jack Frost
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Thimbletack Voice role
2011 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Kirk the Woodsman Voice role
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Stefano Voice role
2012 Frankenweenie Edward Frankenstein / Mr. Bergermesiter / Nassor Voice role
2013 Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return Appraiser / Jester Voice role
2013 The Wind Rises Kurokawa (English) Voice role
2014 Inherent Vice Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd, D.D.S.


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Right On Regular
1972 Cucumber Smokey the Hare Episode: "Ecology ... Smokey the Hare"
1975 Peep Show Episode: "Goldberg Is Waiting"
1972 The David Steinberg Show Johnny Del Bravo 10 episodes
1978 For the Record Weepy Episode: "Cementhead"
1979 The Family Man Louie Movie
1979-1980 The Associates Tucker Kerwin 13 episodes
1980 The Love Boat Melvin Episode: "No Girls for Doc/Marriage of Convenience/The Caller/The Witness"
1980-1981 I'm a Big Girl Now Neal Stryker 14 episodes
1981 Taxi Mitch Harris Episode: "Jim Joins the Network"
1981-1984 Second City Television Various Cast member
2005, 2006,
2013, 2015
Saturday Night Live Various Cast member (18 episodes)
Guest appearances (4 episodes)
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Johnny Appleseed Episode: "Johnny Appleseed"
1988 The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley Ed Grimley/Emil Gustav/Moby/Sheldon/Irving Cohen/Additional Voices 13 Episodes
1989 Dink, The Little Dinosaur Narrator
The Tracey Ullman Show Doc, The Elvis Freak
Lou, Football Fan
"Needle in a Haystack"
"Dawg Day Afternoon"
1990 The Dave Thomas Comedy Show Himself Episode 4
1990 The Earth Day Special Nathan Thurm Special
1991 Maniac Mansion Eddie O'Donnell Episode: "Down & Out in Cedar Springs"
1992 Favorite Songs Mozart Episode: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"; voice
1994 The Martin Short Show Marty Short 8 Episodes
1996 Muppets Tonight Himself Episode: "Martin Short"
1998 Merlin Frik Miniseries
1999 Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter / Chinless Idiot Movie
1999-2000 The Martin Short Show Himself / Host 63 episodes
2001-2003 Primetime Glick Jiminy Glick / Miss Gathercole / Various 30 episodes
2002 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself Episode: "The Terrorist Attack"
2005 Arrested Development Uncle Jack Episode: "Ready, Aim, Marry Me"
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sebastian Ballentine / Henry Palaver Episode: "Pure"
2007 Bob & Doug McKenzie's Two-Four Anniversary Himself Special
2010 Damages Leonard Winstone / Lester Wiggin 13 episodes (Season 3)
2010-2013 The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Cat in the Hat (voice) 61 episodes
2011 Weeds Steward Havens 3 episodes
2011-2012 How I Met Your Mother Garrison Cootes 3 episodes
2012 Canada's Got Talent Himself/judge Season 1; 22 episodes
2013, 2014 Hollywood Game Night Himself 2 episodes
2014 Working the Engels Chuck Pastry Episode: "Jenna vs. Big Pastry"
2014-2015 Mulaney Lou Cannon 15 episodes
2015 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Triceradon #2 (voice) Episode: "Countdown to Extinction"
2015 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Dr. Grant (pronounced "Franff") Episode: "Kimmy Goes to the Doctor"
2015 Difficult People Himself Episode: "Pledge Week"


Year Title Role
1993 The Goodbye Girl Elliot
1998-1999 Little Me Various
2006-2007 Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me Himself
2015 It's Only a Play James Wicker


  • I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend (2014, autobiography)

Awards and honours

  • 1982: Nelly Award: Outstanding Writing, SCTV Comedy Network
  • 1983: Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, SCTV Comedy Network
  • 1993: Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Actor in a Musical, The Goodbye Girl
  • 1993: Theater World Award
  • 1993: Nominated for Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical
  • 1994: Member of the Order of Canada
  • 1995: Earl Grey Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1999: Sir Peter Ustinov Award awarded at the Banff Television Festival
  • 1999: Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Little Me
  • 1999: Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, Little Me
  • 2000: Canada's Walk of Fame
  • 2001: Awarded honorary Doctor of Literature from McMaster University
  • 2002: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2010: Nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Damages
  • 2010: Nominated for Satellite Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Damages
  • 2011: Nominated for Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
  • 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2015: A stamp issued by Canada Post


Further reading

  • David Camp, "The Cat's Meow: Martin Short has never carried a hit movie or a long-running sitcom. Early on, he despaired at being left behind by friends such as Paul Shaffer, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray. But at 62 he stands alone in the comedy firmament, adored by Hollywood"?s elite as the funniest, nicest, best of them all," Vanity Fair, January 2013.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Martin_Short" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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