Martin Short

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Martin Short
Martin Short at PaleyFest 2014 (cropped).jpg
Short at the 2014 PaleyFest
Birth nameMartin Hayter Short
Born (1950-03-26) March 26, 1950 (age 71)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
MediumStand-up, film, television, theatre
  • Canadian, American
Alma materMcMaster University
Years active1972–present
GenresImprovisational comedy, surreal humour, musical comedy, physical comedy, sketch comedy, character comedy, satire
Subject(s)Canadian culture, current events, pop culture, human sexuality
(m. 1980; died 2010)

Martin Hayter Short OC (born March 26, 1950[1]) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, singer, and writer.[2] 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), Captain Ron (1992), Mars Attacks! (1996), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). Short created the characters Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley. He also acted in the sitcom Mulaney (2014-2015), the variety series Maya and Marty (2016), and The Morning Show (2019). He currently stars in the Hulu comedy series Only Murders in the Building (2021).

Short also provided voice-work for films like The Prince of Egypt (1998), Treasure Planet (2002), 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), The Wind Rises (2013), and the PBS series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (2010–2018) as the title character. He has also had an active career on stage, starring in the Broadway plays The Goodbye Girl (1993) and Little Me (1998–1999). The latter earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and the former a nomination in the same category.

Early life[edit]

Short was born in Hamilton, Ontario, the youngest of five children of Olive Grace (née Hayter; 1913–1968), a concertmistress of the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra,[3] and Charles Patrick Short (1909–1970), a corporate executive with Stelco, a Canadian steel company. He and his siblings were raised as Catholics.[4] He had three older brothers, David (now deceased), Michael, and Brian, and one older sister, Nora.[5][6] Short's father was an Irish Catholic emigrant from Crossmaglen, South Armagh in Northern Ireland, who came to North America as a stowaway during the Irish War of Independence.[7][8] Short's mother was of English and Irish descent. She encouraged his early creative endeavours.[4] His eldest brother, David, was killed in a car accident in Montréal in 1962 when Short was 12. His mother died of cancer in 1968, his father two years later of complications from a stroke.[9]

Short attended Westdale Secondary School and graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work in 1971.[10]


Early career[edit]

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.[2] 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.[11] Short stated in the documentary Love, Gilda that he and Gilda Radner dated each other on and off during that time.

He was subsequently cast in several television shows and plays, including the drama Fortune and Men's Eyes (1972).[11] He worked solely in Canada through 1979. In 1979, Short starred in the US sitcom The Associates about a group of young novice lawyers working at a Wall Street law firm.[12] In 1980, he joined the cast of I'm a Big Girl Now, a sitcom starring Diana Canova and Danny Thomas.[13] 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.[14]


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 Toronto, Ontario,[15] in 1977.[2] 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.[2] At SCTV, Short developed several characters before moving on to Saturday Night Live for the 1984–85 season:

  • Aged songwriter Irving Cohen, commonly thought to be loosely based on American composers Irving Caesar and/or Irving Berlin, but actually (according to Short in his autobiography) inspired by Sophie Tucker
  • Defense attorney Nathan Thurm
  • Albino Vegas singer, Jackie Rogers, Jr., and his father, Jackie Rogers, Sr., the latter of which was mauled to death by a mountain lion during a comeback special that took place in the woods.
  • Oddball man-child Ed Grimley, later featured on SNL and in his own short-lived animated television series entitled The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley. The show, which was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and aired for a single season in fall 1988, is the only animated series adapted from an SCTV character (while John Candy and Rick Moranis did have Saturday morning cartoons in the late 1980s into the 1990s, Camp Candy and Gravedale High weren't based on any SCTV sketches or characters they portrayed) and a Saturday Night Live character to date.[2]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Short joined Saturday Night Live for the 1984–85 season.[16][17] 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."[13] His SNL characters included numerous holdovers from his SCTV days, most notably, his Ed Grimley character, depicted on Saturday Night Live as a geeky everyman who is obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, plays the triangle, and often finds himself in bizarre situations rather than a miscast bad actor in several film and TV show parodies (The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley used the SNL characterization of him rather than the SCTV take on him). He also did impressions of such celebrities as Jerry Lewis and Katharine Hepburn.[16]

Since then he has made multiple appearances on the show including on the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special in 2015.


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.[18] 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 and Jackie Rogers Jr.[19]

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.[20]

Short starred as Jiminy Glick on Comedy Central's Primetime Glick (2001–2003). He interviewed performers and celebrities as the character Jiminy Glick.[21] 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."[22]

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),[23] Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Weeds. He joined the FX drama Damages as lawyer Leonard Winstone in 2010.[24]

Short voiced the Cat in the Hat in the animated TV series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which aired from 2010 to 2013.[25] He later voiced the character in a number of related TV specials in 2014 and 2016.

He shot a new comedy special for television in Toronto in September 2011. The special, I, Martin Short, Goes Home follows his return to his native Hamilton, Ontario[26] 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.[27] In 2011, Short joined the cast of How I Met Your Mother for its seventh season, playing Marshall's manic boss[28] and was a judge on the first and only season of Canada's Got Talent (2012).[29]

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.[30][31]

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.[32]

On May 31, 2016, Short debuted a new variety show on NBC, Maya & Marty, which also starred Maya Rudolph.

His most recent credit is Only Murders in the Building, a Hulu comedy series, in which he stars and executive produces alongside Steve Martin and Selena Gomez.[33][34]


After doing sketch comedy for several years, Short starred 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.[35]

Hosting Broadway on Broadway, 2006

In 1996, he appeared in Tim Burton's sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks![35] as lascivious Press Secretary Jerry Ross. In 1997, he appeared as Wall Street broker Richard Kempster in Jungle 2 Jungle, with Tim Allen.[36]

In 2004, he wrote and starred in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood with Jan Hooks as his wife, Dixie Glick.[37] In 2006, he starred in another movie with Tim Allen, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.[38]

Short also provided the voices of several animated film characters, such as Stubbs in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Hubie in The Pebble and the Penguin, Huy in The Prince of Egypt, Ooblar in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, B.E.N. in Treasure Planet, Preminger in Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, Thimbletack the Brownie in The Spiderwick Chronicles, Stefano the sea lion in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted,[35][39] Kurokawa in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises,[40] and The Jester in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.[41]

Short was the host of the now defunct Walt Disney World attractions O Canada!, a Circle-Vision 360° film in the Epcot theme park's Canada pavilion,[42] and "The Making of Me" at Epcot's Wonders of Life pavilion, a 15-minute movie about how pregnancy occurs.

Short starred in the Netflix original The Willoughbys (2020) as the impolite father.


Short resumed work in the theatre, 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.[43][44][45]

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.[46][47][48]

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.[49][50] 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.[51] 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.[52][53][54][55]

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, Renée 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.[56]

Short has continued to tour in his one-man show, which features many of his best-loved characters and sketches.[57] 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.[58]

Short's memoir, covering his 40-year career in show business, I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, was released on November 4, 2014.[59]

Personal life[edit]


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 mother and raise their family. Short and Dolman adopted three children: Katherine, Oliver, and Henry.[60] Dolman died of ovarian cancer on August 21, 2010.[61]

Short and his family make their home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. He also has a home on Lake Rosseau in Ontario.[62] He is a naturalized US citizen.[63]

Short has two stars on Canada's Walk of Fame.[64] His brother, Michael, is a comedy writer and twice winner of the Emmy Award for comedy sketch writing.[65]

Extended family[edit]

Nancy 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. Short is uncle to the couple's two sons, Jack and Joe. Bob Dolman and Andrea Martin have since divorced (2004). Short is a first cousin of Clare Short, a former member of the British Parliament and former British cabinet minister.[66]


Short appeared in a 2001 episode on the Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hosted by Regis Philbin, winning $32,000 for his charity,[67] 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 at a 2011 gala by the group.[68]

Short is also a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[69]

Sports fandom[edit]

Short is an avid fan of his hometown team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.[70]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Lost and Found Engel [35]
1986 Three Amigos Ned Nederlander
1987 Innerspace Jack Putter
Cross My Heart David Morgan
1989 Three Fugitives Ned Perry
The Big Picture Neil Sussman – Nick's Agent Uncredited[71]
1991 Pure Luck Eugene Proctor
Father of the Bride Franck Eggelhoffer
1992 Captain Ron Martin Harvey
1993 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Stubbs the Clown Voice only
1994 Clifford Clifford Daniels
1995 The Pebble and the Penguin Hubie Voice only
Father of the Bride Part II Franck Eggelhoffer
1996 Mars Attacks! Press Secretary Jerry Ross
1997 Jungle 2 Jungle Richard Kempster
A Simple Wish Murray [72]
1998 The Prince of Egypt Huy Voice only
Akbar's Adventure Tours Akbar [73]
1999 Mumford Lionel Dillard
2001 Get Over It Dr. Desmond Forrest Oates
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Ooblar Voice only
2002 Treasure Planet B.E.N. Voice only
CinéMagique George Short film[74]
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Lars Voice only
2004 Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper Preminger Voice only
Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Jiminy Glick / David Lynch Also producer/writer
2006 Khan Kluay Jai Voice only: English dub
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Jack Frost
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Thimbletack Voice only
2011 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Kirk Voice only
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Stefano Voice only
Frankenweenie Mr. Frankenstein / Mr. Bergermesiter / Nassor Voice only[76]
2013 Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return Appraiser / Jester Voice only[41]
The Wind Rises Kurokawa Voice only
English dub
2014 Inherent Vice Rudy Blatnoyd
2018 Bumblebee Scenes deleted[77]
Elliot the Littlest Reindeer Lemondrop / Ludzinka / Blitzen Voice only
2019 The Addams Family Grandpa Frump Voice only[78]
2020 The Willoughbys Father Willoughby Voice only
Father of the Bride, Part 3(ish) Franck Eggelhoffer Short film
TBA Back Home Again Justin Beaver Voice only


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1972 Right On Regular [79]
1972 Cucumber Smokey the Hare Episode: "Ecology ... Smokey the Hare" [80]
1975 Peep Show Episode: "Goldberg Is Waiting" [81]
1976–77 The David Steinberg Show Johnny Del Bravo 10 episodes [82]
1978 For the Record Weepy Episode: "Cementhead" [83]
1979 The Family Man Louie Television film [83]
1979–80 The Associates Tucker Kerwin 13 episodes [84]
1980 The Love Boat Melvin Season 3 - Episode: 28 [83]
1980–81 I'm a Big Girl Now Neal Stryker 14 episodes
1981 Taxi Mitch Harris Episode: "Jim Joins the Network" [83]
1981–84 Second City Television Various Cast member; also writer
1984–2018 Saturday Night Live Various Cast member (18 episodes)
Host or guest appearances (5 episodes)
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Johnny Appleseed Episode: "Johnny Appleseed" [83]
1988 The Completely Mental
Misadventures of Ed Grimley
Various roles 13 episodes;
also co-creator, writer and executive producer
1989 Dink, The Little Dinosaur Narrator [87]
1989–90 The Tracey Ullman Show Various roles 2 episodes [88]
1990 The Dave Thomas Comedy Show Himself Episode 4
1990 The Earth Day Special Nathan Thurm Television special
1991 Maniac Mansion Eddie O'Donnell Episode: "Down & Out in Cedar Springs" [89]
1992 Favorite Songs Mozart (voice) Episode: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
1992 Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories Narrator Episode: "Patrick's Dinosaurs/What Happened to Patrick's Dinosaurs?"
1994 The Martin Short Show Marty Short 8 episodes;
also creator, writer and executive producer
1996 Muppets Tonight Himself Episode: "Martin Short"
1998 Merlin Frik 2 episodes
1999 Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Television film
1999–2000 The Martin Short Show Himself (host) 63 episodes;
also creator, writer and executive producer
2001–03 Primetime Glick Jiminy Glick / Various roles 30 episodes;
also creator, writer and executive producer
2001 Prince Charming Rodney Television film [90]
2002 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself Episode: "The Terrorist Attack" [91]
2005 Arrested Development Uncle Jack Episode: "Ready, Aim, Marry Me" [92]
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sebastian Ballentine
Henry Palaver
Episode: "Pure" [93]
2006 Jeopardy Himself (contestant) 1 episode
2007 Bob & Doug McKenzie's
Two-Four Anniversary
Himself Television special [94]
2010 Damages Leonard Winstone 13 episodes
2010–18 The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Cat in the Hat (voice) 80 episodes
2011 Weeds Steward Havens 3 episodes [95]
2011–12 How I Met Your Mother Garrison Cootes 3 episodes
2012 Canada's Got Talent Himself (judge) Season 1; 22 episodes [29]
2013, 2014 Hollywood Game Night Himself 2 episodes [96]
2014 Working the Engels Charles "Chuck" Pastry Episode: "Jenna vs. Big Pastry" [97]
2014–15 Mulaney Louis "Lou" Cannon 13 episodes [84]
2015 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Dr. Grant Episode: "Kimmy Goes to the Doctor" [98]
2015 Difficult People Himself Episode: "Pledge Week" [99]
2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special Himself Television special, NBC
2016 Maya & Marty Himself / Various roles 6 episodes; also co-creator, writer and producer
2016 Hairspray Live! Wilbur Turnblad Live musical telecast
2016 Modern Family Mervin "Merv" Schechter Episode: "Blindsided" [100]
2017 BoJack Horseman Poppy Stilton (voice) Episode: "The Judge"
2017 The Simpsons Guthrie Frenel (voice) Episode: "Springfield Splendor"
2018 The Last Man On Earth Man in SUV Episode: "Karl"
2018 The Magic School Bus Rides Again Tony Tennelli (voice) Episode: "Ralphie and the Flying Tennellis"
2019 Big Mouth Gordie (voice) Episode: "Cellsea"
2019 Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Himself (guest) Episode: "A Dream World Of Residuals"
2019 The Morning Show Dick Lundry 2 episodes [101]
2021 Schmigadoon! Leprechaun Episode: "Schmigadoon!" [102]
2021–present Only Murders in the Building Oliver Main role; also executive producer

Comedy specials[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1985 Martin Short: Concert for the North Americas Various Showtime [103]
1989 I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood Various HBO [104]
2012 I, Martin Short, Goes Home Various CBC [105]
2018 Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening
You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Performer Netflix [106]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Creature Crunch Wesley [107]
2002 Treasure Planet B.E.N.


Year Title Role Venue Notes
1972 Godspell Jeffrey Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto
1993 The Goodbye Girl Elliot Marquis Theatre, Broadway
1997 Promises, Promises Chuck Baxter New York City Center, Encores!
1998–1999 Little Me Various Criterion Center Stage Right, Broadway
2003–2004 The Producers Leo Bloom Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco
Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles
2006–2007 Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me Himself Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Broadway
2015 It's Only a Play James Wicker Replacement

Awards and honors[edit]

Short's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

Over the course of Short's prolific career in film, television and theatre, Short has received various nominations. He received two Tony Award nominations, winning for Little Me in 1999. Short also has received twelve Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning twice for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for SCTV (1983), and AFI Life Achievement award: Mel Brooks (2014). In 2014 Short received the Robert Altman Award from Independent Spirit Awards alongside the cast of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.

Short has received various honors from his birthplace of Canada, including in 1994, being appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.[108] In 1995, Short received the Earl Grey Lifetime Achievement Award.[109] In 1999, he earned the Sir Peter Ustinov Award at the Banff Television Festival.[109] Short was honored with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2000.[109] In 2015, a stamp of Short was issued by Canada Post.[110] In 2016, he received the Canadian Screen Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 Short became an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2001 Short was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature from McMaster University.[109] Short has also received Medals from Queen Elizabeth II, including in 2002 the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal[109] and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[111]


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


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