Martin Short

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Martin Short
Martin Short at PaleyFest 2014 (cropped).jpg
Short in September 2014
Birth nameMartin Hayter Short
Born (1950-03-26) March 26, 1950 (age 70)
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, American 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), Father of the Bride (1991), Pure Luck (1991), Captain Ron (1992), Father of the Bride Part II (1995), 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.

Short also provided voice-work for films The Prince of Egypt (1998), Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) and the PBS series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (2010–2019) 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, 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, Québec 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:

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 finds himself in bizarre situations rather than a miscast bad actor in several film and TV show parodies. 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.

SNL Appearances

  • Thompson Twins (1984) ... Various
  • Bob Uecker/Peter Wolf (1984) ... Robin Williams / Snap / Laurence Grossman /
  • Jesse Jackson/Andrae Crouch, Wintley Phipps (1984) ... Various
  • Michael McKean/Chaka Khan/The Folksmen (1984) ... Larry / Harry Edelson / Jonathan Gillespie
  • George Carlin/Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984) ... Various
  • Ed Asner/The Kinks (1984) ... Various
  • Ed Begley Jr/Billy Squier (1984) ... Various
  • Ringo Starr/Herbie Hancock (1984) ... Various
  • Eddie Murphy/Robert Plant & The Honeydrippers (1984) ... Various
  • Mr. T and Hulk Hogan/The Commodores (1984) ... Paul Simon / Percival Dickerson / Irving Cohen
  • Kathleen Turner/John Waite (1985) ... Various
  • Roy Scheider/Billy Ocean (1985) ... Various
  • Alex Karras/Tina Turner (1985) ... Ed Grimley / Nathan Thurm
  • Harry Anderson/Bryan Adams (1985) ... Various
  • Pamela Sue Martin/Power Station (1985) ... Various
  • SNL Film Festival (1985) ... Various
  • Christopher Reeve/Santana (1985) ... Various
  • Howard Cosell/Greg Kihn (1985) ... Ed Grimley / athlete / Nathan Thurm
  • Tom Brady/Beck (2005) ... Jiminy Glick (uncredited)
  • Alec Baldwin/Christina Aguilera (2006) ... Bartender (uncredited)
  • Justin Timberlake (2013) ... Ned Nederlander / Himself (uncredited)
  • Donald Trump/Sia (2015) ... Ed Grimley (uncredited)
  • Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Special (2015) ... Performer
  • Donald Glover/Childish Gambino (2018) ... Dr. Harold Bornstein (uncredited)


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.


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.[33]

Hosting Broadway on Broadway, 2006

In 1996, he appeared in Tim Burton's sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks![33] as lascivious Press Secretary Jerry Ross. In 1997, he appeared as Wall Street broker Richard Kempster in Jungle 2 Jungle, with Tim Allen.[34]

In 2004, he wrote and starred in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood with Jan Hooks as his wife, Dixie Glick.[35] In 2006, he starred in another movie with Tim Allen, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.[36]

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,[33][37] Kurokawa in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises,[38] and The Jester in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.[39]

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,[40] 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.[41][42][43]

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.[44][45][46]

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.[47][48] 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.[49] 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.[50][51][52][53]

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.[54]

Short has continued to tour in his one-man show, which features many of his best-loved characters and sketches.[55] 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.[56]

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.[57]

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[58] three children: Katherine (b. 1983), Oliver (b. 1986), and Henry (b. 1989).[citation needed] Dolman died of ovarian cancer on August 21, 2010.[59]

Short and his family make their home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. He also has a home on Lake Rosseau in Ontario.[60] He is a naturalized US citizen.[61]

Short has two stars on Canada's Walk of Fame.[62] His brother, Michael, is a comedy writer and twice winner of the Emmy Award for comedy sketch writing.[63]

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. Short is a first cousin of Clare Short, a former member of the British Parliament and former British cabinet minister.[64]


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,[65] 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.[66]

Short is also a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[67]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Lost and Found Engel [33]
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[68]
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 [69]
1998 The Prince of Egypt Huy Voice Only
Akbar's Adventure Tours Akbar [70]
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[71]
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[73]
2013 Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return Appraiser / Jester Voice Only[39]
The Wind Rises Kurokawa Voice Only
English Dub
2014 Inherent Vice Rudy Blatnoyd
2018 Bumblebee Deleted Scene[74]
Elliot the Littlest Reindeer Lemondrop / Ludzinka / Blitzen Voice Only
2019 The Addams Family Grandpa Frump Voice Only[75]
2020 The Willoughbys Father Willoughby Voice Only
2021 Untitled Brian Fee Film TBA Voice Only


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1972 Right On Regular [76]
1972 Cucumber Smokey the Hare Episode: "Ecology ... Smokey the Hare" [77]
1975 Peep Show Episode: "Goldberg Is Waiting" [78]
1976–77 The David Steinberg Show Johnny Del Bravo 10 episodes [79]
1978 For the Record Weepy Episode: "Cementhead" [80]
1979 The Family Man Louie Television film [80]
1979–80 The Associates Tucker Kerwin 13 episodes [81]
1980 The Love Boat Melvin Season 3 - Episode: 28 [80]
1980–81 I'm a Big Girl Now Neal Stryker 14 episodes
1981 Taxi Mitch Harris Episode: "Jim Joins the Network" [80]
1981–84 Second City Television Various Cast member; also writer
1984–18 Saturday Night Live Various Cast member (18 episodes)
Host or Guest appearances (5 episodes)
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Johnny Appleseed Episode: "Johnny Appleseed" [80]
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 [84]
1989-90 The Tracey Ullman Show Various roles 2 episodes [85]
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" [86]
1992 Favorite Songs Mozart (voice) Episode: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
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 / Chinless Idiot Television film
1999–00 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 [87]
2002 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself Episode: "The Terrorist Attack" [88]
2005 Arrested Development Uncle Jack Episode: "Ready, Aim, Marry Me" [89]
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sebastian Ballentine
Henry Palaver
Episode: "Pure" [90]
2007 Bob & Doug McKenzie's
Two-Four Anniversary
Himself Television special [91]
2010 Damages Leonard Winstone 13 episodes
2010–19 The Cat in the Hat
Knows a Lot About That!
The Cat in the Hat (voice) 80 episodes, PBS
2011 Weeds Steward Havens 3 episodes [92]
2011–12 How I Met Your Mother Garrison Cootes 3 episodes
2012 Canada's Got Talent Himself (Judge) Season 1; 22 episodes [29]
2013, 14 Hollywood Game Night Himself 2 episodes [93]
2014 Working the Engels Charles "Chuck" Pastry Episode: "Jenna vs. Big Pastry" [94]
2014–15 Mulaney Louis "Lou" Cannon 13 episodes [81]
2015 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Dr. Grant Episode: "Kimmy Goes to the Doctor" [95]
2015 Difficult People Himself Episode: "Pledge Week" [96]
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" [97]
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"
2018 Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening
You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Himself Netflix special [98]
2019 Big Mouth Gordie Episode: "Cellsea"
2019 Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Himself (guest) Episode: A Dream World Of Residuals
2019 The Morning Show Dick Lundry 2 episodes [99]


Year Title Role Venue
1993 The Goodbye Girl Elliot Marquis Theatre, Broadway
1998–1999 Little Me Various Criterion Center Stage Right, Broadway
2006–2007 Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me Himself Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Broadway
2015 It's Only a Play James Wicker

Comedy specials[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1985 Martin Short: Concert for the North Americas Various Showtime [100]
1989 I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood Various HBO [101]
2012 I, Martin Short, Goes Home Various CBC [102]
2018 Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening
You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Performer Netflix [98]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Creature Crunch Wesley [103]
2002 Treasure Planet B.E.N.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Television awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1983 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program "Sweeps Week", SCTV Network 90 Won [104]
"The Christmas Show", SCTV Network 90 Nominated
"Joe Walsh", SCTV Network 90 Nominated
"Robin Williams, America", SCTV Network 90 Nominated
"Towering Inferno", SCTV Network 90 Nominated
1998 Outstanding Supporting Actor - Limited Series/Movie Merlin Nominated
1999 Satellite Award Supporting Actor - Miniseries Nominated
2000 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Talk Show The Martin Short Show Nominated
Outstanding Talk Show Host Martin Short, The Martin Short Show Nominated
2003 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Performance - Variety Program Primetime Glick Nominated
2010 Outstanding Supporting Actor - Drama Series Damages Nominated [105]
2010 Satellite Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series Nominated [106]
2011 Daytime Emmy Award Performer in an Animated Program The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Nominated [107]
2014 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Special AFI Life Achievement Award: Mel Brooks Won
2017 Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy/Variety Sketch Series Maya & Marty Nominated
2018 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Special Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening
You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special Nominated
2020 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The Morning Show Nominated

Theatre awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1993 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical The Goodbye Girl Won [104]
1993 Theater World Award N/A Won [104]
1993 Drama Desk Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
1993 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
1999 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Little Me Won [104]
1999 Drama Desk Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
1999 Tony Awards Best Actor in a Musical Won [104]
2007 Drama Desk Award Best Actor in a Musical Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me Nominated


Short's star on Canada's Walk of Fame


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


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