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March 3, 1923|
Queens, New York
|Died||March 21, 2005
Studio City, California
Barney Martin (March 3, 1923 – March 21, 2005) was an American actor, comedy writer and New York City Police Department detective. He is best known for playing Morty Seinfeld, father of Jerry, on the sitcom Seinfeld.
Born in Queens, New York, Martin served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator during World War II and then was an NYPD officer for twenty years, working his way up to detective. He got his start as a comedian while still a police officer, giving humorous presentations to the deputy commissioners.
Entering show business as a stand-in for Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners in 1955-56 and as a part-time writer for Steve Allen in the 1950s, he was discovered by Mel Brooks in 1968, who cast him in The Producers. That year, he also played the role of Hank in Charly. He went on to act in dozens of films, including the role of Liza Minnelli's unemployed father in the hit 1981 film Arthur and its 1988 sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks.
On television, he appeared in two episodes of The Odd Couple. Once in a very early episode as an irrate fellow juror infuriated with Felix Ungar's pestiness, and four years later as a fellow subway train passenger. Shortly after Martin co starred with Tony Randall in 44 episodes of The Tony Randall Show, (far more appearances than he later made on Seinfeld). Throughout the run of this show he was second billing only to Randall himself. He also appeared in an episode of Full House as Ranger Roy. In 1979 he was cast as the title character in Norman Lear's final TV series concept, McGurk: A Dog's Life. Martin was cast to play a character similar to Lear's earlier creation, Archie Bunker, but played as a dog. Only the pilot was completed. In 1990, he co-starred with Valerie Bertinelli and Matthew Perry in the CBS sitcom Sydney. In 1987, he appeared in the pilot episode of 21 Jump Street as Johnny Depp's partner. In 1993, Barney played the recurring role of "Pete Peters" on the Don Rickles sit-com Daddy Dearest.
In 1975, Martin originated the role of Amos Hart in Chicago. He appeared in many more musicals during his career, most notably South Pacific, The Fantasticks and How Now, Dow Jones. Much of Martin's work has been in television, where he has had a long career as a character actor. He played the "Cheese Man" in a "Golden Girls" episode. He played a love interest for Thelma Harper in the Hawaii episode of Mama's Family. He is best known for playing Morty Seinfeld, father of Jerry, on Seinfeld.
- Obituary for Barney Martin in The New York Times
- Barney Martin at the Internet Movie Database
- Barney Martin at Find a Grave